Florida Researcher Proposes Wingless Flight

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An engineer at the University of Florida has unveiled a design for a "flying saucer" that can take off vertically, hover, and fly, and it has no wings or propeller -- it doesn't have any moving parts at all. "This is a very novel concept, and if it's successful, it will be revolutionary," said Subrata Roy, the ship's inventor, who applied for a patent on it last week. "If successful, we will have an aircraft, a saucer and a helicopter all in one embodiment." The saucer is propelled by a force called magnetohydrodynamics, which is created when a current or a magnetic field is passed through a fluid. By interacting with the atmosphere, the force is able to create lift and momentum and provides stability against wind gusts. The ship's surface is partially hollow and continuously curved, like an electromagnetic flying bundt pan. Unfortunately, it seems the technique is likely to work better in space, where pesky things like gravity and drag are minimized.

Roy, however, is hopeful that his creation can prove useful here on Earth. He calls it a "wingless electromagnetic air vehicle," or WEAV, and plans to build a six-inch-wide prototype powered by on-board batteries.