In 1974, while living in a farmhouse next to the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD, I became obsessed [to the total consternation and perturbation of my wife, of that time, and my parents and sisters] with the idea of creating a "flying saucer" using counter-rotating flywheels that could store a practical amount of energy for short pleasure flights -- for one or two flyers.

I think I was led into this fantasy by Richard Bach's "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" -- "You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn't flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn't have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there."

...And further mesmerized by Ram Dass's "Be Here Now" -- “It is important to expect nothing, to take every experience, including the negative ones, as merely steps on the path, and to proceed.”

With DragonPlate.com carbon fiber components, Li-ion batteries and 1366Tech.com concept solar cells, and GPS regulation, is this a feasible prospect, or still a silly fantasy?

Has this concept already been tried and proven, or dis-proven?

Precession Possibilities have produced my "Presession Phantasy"... Can there be popular procession with this dream?

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    $\begingroup$ Sorry - can you give more details of how this flying source is meant to fly. Does it have rotors like a helicopter? $\endgroup$
    – tom
    Nov 16, 2014 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, like tom said: do you know the difference between energy and lift? BTW, there was a funky craft with counter-rotating props: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convair_XFY_Pogo $\endgroup$ Nov 16, 2014 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ Would aviation.stackexchange.com be a better home for this question? $\endgroup$
    – Qmechanic
    Nov 16, 2014 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ There was an serious attempt in the 1950's to build something similar, the Avro Canada VZ-9 Avrocar. It was not very successful. I agree the question fits better on Aviation.SE $\endgroup$
    – paisanco
    Nov 16, 2014 at 16:09

3 Answers 3


A quadcopter (sort of) that can carry a Human already exists. As always, energy density of the power source is the key. Carbon fibre flywheels can store roughly 1MJ/kg. Li-ion is around the same order.


If you are asking, "Can I make a flying saucer by using counter-rotating flywheels to provide lift (without airfoils) I'm very sorry to tell you no.

And when you ask, "Can I build something that works?" you have stepped squarely into the world of engineering, of one sort or anther. And in engineering, "Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn't have limits." is not admissible: the very first thing you must give up is perfection and the most important thing you must embrace is number. A physical mechanism may be elegant, it may be precise, it may be beautiful - but it won't be perfect.


Having been a pilot for many years the speedcop of the sky in Capetown,SouthAfrica dropped this on me.

Lift is produced based on the airflow of the Atomic Bomb the air flows up through the centre rotating the saucers with fins.The airframe diverts the air over the edges lifting the tips.Hey the Airmass is going up just creative design which i have demonstrated in this url. https://www.contrarotatingflyingsaucer.co.uk/

  • $\begingroup$ Hello Gary Dent and welcome to Physics SE. Your answer doesn't seem to make any contribution towards a possible solution to the answer. I suggest you edit your answer to provide some more info and/or insight. $\endgroup$
    – ZaellixA
    Jan 17 at 0:44

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