Thursday, August 12, 2010

Manuel Carballal: Buy UFOs Made in America

By Manuel Carballal
(A chapter from the book "Saucers Unveiled!" translated by Scott Corrales, 1995)

The garden is filled with party guests. The swimming pool is surrounded by influential people from the big city, sampling canap├ęs accompanied by the finest white wine.

The host, renowned for his offbeat sense of humor, had made an astonishing confession during dinner. Interrupting the trivial conversations of his guests, he had risen to his feet and called for their attention. In a solemn tone, his brow knit, he assured them that only a few days ago, a UFO experience had changed his life.

According to the host, two nights previously, returning home from a stockholders' meeting, he had been abducted by a flying saucer and some extraterrestrials had chosen him as their representative on Earth.

Amid the laughter of some and the surprise of others, the eccentric millionaire continued his story. According to the assurances of his alien friends, they would land on his tennis court that very same night at midnight. This was the reason for the informal gathering: to have a large number of socially reputable people witness the historic event.

It was now 11:45 p.m. No one had spoken about the host's remarkable confession, since everyone was aware of his impish sense of humor. However, between hors d'oeuvres, each and every one of the guests cast furtive glances skyward and toward the partially-lit tennis court. From the balcony, the eccentric millionaire looked upon his guests' growing restlessness and their sidelong glances at the heavens, taking great delight in the seed of bemusement he had planted.

At midnight, a number of digital wristwatches, with their characteristic chirps, informed everyone that the hour was at hand. A brash executive, heartened by the ethylic effects of the fine wines, broke the ice by saying: "All right, bring on the Martians!"

At that very moment, while smiles began to play upon the lips of those present, someone shouted, pointing at the sky: "What the hell's that?!"

What at first appeared to be a dim light approaching from the horizon soon became an lighted physical object with a large lateral lamp. As the object approached the mansion, its buzzing sound became clearer, and hysteria gripped everyone. Some fell into the swimming pool, others hid under the tables, while others were completely paralyzed.

The object finally reached the tennis court, and became clearly visible. It was a metallic disk with eight circles like turbines surrounding it. As it descended, a transparent dome in its middle became evident. Within the dome there could be seen an occupant wearing a metallic grey jumpsuit and a helmet that concealed his face. This was just too much.

Everyone was shouting, running, or jumping. Someone said something about Jesus being one of the visitors, and one or two wet their pants. Meanwhile, on the balcony's floor, the eccentric host was doubled over with laughter.

When the saucer touched the ground and the dome opened, the extraterrestrial stepped firmly out of his vehicle and walked toward the pool area, causing even greater bedlam. Upon reaching the center of the garden, standing right under one of the light posts, the ufonaut removed his helmet, allowing everyone to see his face. The mystery crewman was none other than the eccentric millionaire's chauffeur.

This story, which could at first be taken as the absurd introduction to an Isaac Asimov story, could be taking place at this very moment in any corner of the world.
The development of private technology and the industrial commercialization of all manner of aeronautical designs has made the dream of the old visionaries come true. Today, any person with the financial means at his or her disposal can become an "extraterrestrial" at the controls of a genuine flying saucer.

Saucers in Every Garage

The September 1957 issue of Popular Mechanics carried an article by Thomas E. Stimson on the latest designs in "flying cars" that a company named Hiller Helicopters was planning to build in the near future.

The unusual designs which grace the pages of the magazine are based on the "open fan" principle, being aircraft of about the size of a car with whimsical shapes and a VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) system. According to Stimson, the curious "aircars" would be able to attain speeds of 167 KMH, and by 1967, they would cease to be drawings on paper and become reality.

The "covered fan" designs were ahead of helicopters and airplanes, being capable of maneuvering between buildings, reaching difficult access locations, etc.

Curiously, a year later, in May 1958, the prestigious French publication Science et Vie published a photograph of a military prototype already being used by the U.S. Army.

This umpteenth example goes to show that the private sector lags far behind military research, which shields itself behind official secrecy, keeping its discoveries from the public.

While the U.S. military discreetly (if not secretly) was building its own prototype aircars, a young man with a passion for flying and the dream of flight was designing his very first sketches of flying vehicles in a British Columbia farmhouse. Paul Moller could not have imagined that ten years later, he would be at the controls of a flying saucer, and that thirty years later, he would be selling them to the public.

Thus, one April afternoon in 1968, Paul Moller, a graduate of Montreal's McGill University with a Masters in Science, and now a professor at the University of California, held a press conference at Davis Airport. Under overcast skies, with fire engines, ambulances, and other safety measures at hand, Moller put his prototype flying saucer to the test. Built with four motorcycle engines, the mono and biplane prototypes were unable to "really fly" since Moller lacked a piloting license. In spite of this, and despite a certain degree of instability, the fact is that his saucers took off from the ground, demonstrating that they were capable of flight.

Twenty years later, Moller would summon the press yet again. This time, the exhibition took place outside Moller International, a small aircraft manufacturer, which had provided the engineer with enough funds to build his childhood dream. And it was also in Davis, California, where Moller had perfected his flying saucers. Reporters from the national media were in attendance. This time, the engineer, age 52, was more nervous than during his earlier test flight: investment capital for the serial production of these flying saucers and Moller's other flying cars depended on the success of this demonstration.

Moller chose for the test flight--he would be piloting the vehicle as he had done twenty years earlier--the 200-X, one of the prototypes he'd designed.

The "Aeromobiles"

The 200-X is a twin-engine flying saucer some two meters in diameter. Surrounded by 8 motors designed by Moller himself, each of them has 4 times the power of an ordinary airplane; the "saucer" could pass for an alien spacecraft to the eyes of any western observer. The motors, weighing 40 kgs. and delivering 200 HP, worked perfectly. The 200-X at the exhibit was not equipped with the transparent dome that covers the cockpit: this time, the dome had been replaced by a hook linking the vehicle to a large crane by means of a steel cable, as safety precautions demanded. However, upon taking off, Moller would have to allow the steel cable to remain slack, lest it be thought that the Moller-UFO was being suspended from the crane.

The 200-X, a kind of turbine-driven Hovercraft, was designed with a safe, easy-handling, low-cost flight in mind. And it worked out. The saucer took to the air majestically before the photo and television cameras present. For 3 minutes, the vehicle rose to a height of 40 meters, posing for photographers and convincing all present of its evident possibilities. I have the videos of this exhibition as well as those of the 1967 demonstration, and can attest to the unquestionable technical and aesthetic evolution of Moller's UFOs.

Aside from the 200-X "saucer," Moller designed other futuristic vehicles, such as the Moller-400 Volontor (for 4 passengers) and the Merlin 300.

The Merlin 300, for instance, is endowed with a climbing speed of 2000 meters a minute and can fly at 700 KMH. Equipped with 6 motors--five horizontal and one vertical--it includes a parachute to protect the vehicle if more than three engines should fail. The four onboard computers turn the futuristic aircraft into a vehicle that is relatively easy to handle. Right now, anyone can buy one of Moller's flying saucers for the sum of $100,000.

However, Paul Moller isn't the only designer of vehicles which can be easily taken for UFOs. Fred Baker, an engineer whose work parallels Moller's own, has created aircraft similar to the 200-X.

Less than 2 kilometers from the gigantic Boeing assembly plant in Seattle, one can find the Paine Field manufacturing plant, where Baker put the funds of 70 investors to good use, creating the Sky Commuter prototype.

The Sky Commuter is built largely out of Kevlar (a sturdy plastic substance with a base of graphite and other compound materials) and is more or less the size of a car, weighing 500 kgs. Equipped with three turbines that turn it into a vertical take-off and landing vehicle, it can fly at 130 kilometers per hour at an altitude of 150 meters. An onboard computer with a particular software program assists the pilot in all navigation tasks with three axial stabilizers and makes automatic landings possible, even in water.

Fred Baker, a graduate of the University of Washington's school of engineering, was fascinated with the flight of dragonflies as a child. Years later, his amazement over this manner of flight would inspire him to create aeromobiles.

After several years of experience working for Boeing, and while taking care of an engineering project in Saudi Arabia, Baker had time to design and build a radio-controlled scale model of the Sky Commuter. Upon returning to the U.S., he founded Flight Innovations, Inc., of which he is president, investing more than 7 million dollars in creating the first prototype. Now, with his aircraft being marketed, Baker and his stockholders expect to recover their invested monies with large returns.

More recently, in May 1990, Inventos e Ideas magazine carried the story of a patent which was presented at the International Hall at Geneva. It was a disk-shaped airplane created by Greek inventor Elias Papandreadis. The saucer moves by means of a horizontal propeller with the same circular shape as the rest of the aircraft, and which occupies its entirety, except for the front. This new VTOL saucer can attain supersonic speeds by means of a low-cost fuel.

These are only three examples. Moller, Baker and Papandreadis are civilians who have built and marketed aircraft and "flying saucers" which could easily be mistaken for alien vehicles by any observer. The marketing of these prototypes enables any individual with the requisite buying power to get behind the wheel of a genuine "flying saucer" capable of vertical take-off and landing.

We are no longer dealing with "hidden governments" or "secret powers," nor military prototypes and secret weapons. Any wealthy executive is now able to create "genuine" UFO sightings, convincing onlookers (who would swear by their experience) that they had seen an alien spacecraft. This is a sobering thought. The reader should keep this possibility in mind, a possibility which, while remote, still remains disquieting.