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VZ-9-AV Avrocar: the true story of an American UFO

Avro VZ-9 Avrocar - 1950s UFO
Avro VZ-9 Avrocar - 1950s UFO

The best photos of real or alleged UFOs, such as the VZ-9-AV Avrocar, almost all date back to the “Cold War” and it is no coincidence.

Competition between the United States and the Soviet Union led to the development of secret military prototypes that it is easy to exchange photos of such prototypes for testimonies of extraterrestrial UFOs, particularly easy thing just in the case of Avro Canada VZ-9-AV Avrocar.

Avro Canada, from CF-100 to CF-105

Let's try to clarify a little. First of all, Avro Canada was not, as is often said, an American company but a Canadian company, initially known as Victory Aircraft. During the Second World War, the company had licensed British Avro aircrafts like the multirole twin engine Anson and the four-engine bomber Lancaster.

Acquired in 1945 by Hawker Siddeley, the company was renamed AV Roe Canada or Avro Canada. Airplanes designed by Avro Canada included revolutionary aircraft such as the jet twin-engine jet fighter CF-100 Canuk, and the CF-105 Arrow.

The latter was a delta wing jet interceptor fighter whose prototypes reached the speed of Mach 2 at 50 thousand feet above sea level. While the CF-100 became the only entirely Canadian design fighter to be mass produced, the CF-105 program was canceled in 1959 after only a year after the start of test flights.

1950s UFOs - CF 105 Arrow rollout

Jack Frost, a brilliant aeronautical designer

The 5 prototypes built were dismantled, without retaining even one for the museums, the production plants were dismantled and the 15,000 employees dismissed instantly. It was discovered only in 1976, after the desertion of a Soviet pilot, that the KGB had managed to infiltrate agents into the project by stealing some technical information that was then used for the development of the MIG-25.

For our story, however, the CF-100 was a more important program: in fact, John Carver Meadows Frost, better known as “Jack Frost”, had worked on it. Later Frost devoted himself to studying the Coandă effect, that is, the tendency of a jet of fluid to follow the outline of a nearby surface.

Thanks to his studies, already in 1952, the wooden mock-up of a first aircraft with VTOL characteristics (vertical take-off and landing), such as those of the Harrier that years later Hawker Siddeley would have made, called “Project Y”, but also in this case after a year of work and 4 million Canadian dollars of expenses the project was shelved.

1950s UFOs - Project Y mockup

The US Air Force and the Y-2 Project

Frost did not give up and in 1953 taking advantage of a visit by American military experts to Avro Canada to evaluate the CF-100, he showed them plans and scale mock-ups of a new aircraft, the “Project Y-2”, discoid in shape.

Obtained funding from the US Air Force, Frost (who in the meantime had renamed the aircraft “Project 1794”) began to build the prototype of a discoidal aircraft equipped with 6 engines that should have been able to exceed the speed of Mach 2 (as the CF-105 then did).

After some disastrous tests in 1956, the aircraft was redesigned and named VZ-9-AV Avrocar as a prototype for a future discoidal vehicle for the USAF, the Weapon System 606A. Two copies were made, one (serial number 58-7055) used in the wind tunnel of the NASA at the Ames Research Center in California, the other (serial number 59-4975) for flight tests at the Canadian Milton plant.

1950s UFOs - VZ 9 AV Avrocar 58 7075

VZ-9-AV Avrocar with a thousand problems

Just as the first tests were beginning, the Canadian government cut the CF-105 program for the reasons mentioned above. Concerned about any news leaks, the USAF also requested the cancellation of the VZ-9-AV Avrocar/Weapon System 606A. Frost did not give up, made a flight demonstration and, in May 1959, obtained the authorization of the USAF to continue the project.

The definitive model of the VZ-9-AV Avrocar had the shape of a flying saucer with a diameter of 5.5 meters and 2.3 meters high and carried a pilot and an observer, in two separate and opposite cockpits equipped with transparent roofs in the shape of dome, and should have given birth to a future “flying Jeep” for the US Army.

Flight tests were carried out between 1959 and 1961 (75 flight hours in all) but did not give the expected results. The Avrocar revealed significant instability problems, never being able to exceed 56 km/h top speed, moreover at a maximum height of less than one meter from the ground. Too little, even for a flying Jeep, so this time was the end.

1950s UFOs - VZ 9 AV Avrocar test

The charm of the VZ-9-AV Avrocar survives on the web

The USAF canceled the project despite the proposed changes made by Frost and of flying saucers no longer heard of by the USAF, at least officially.

The charm of the aircraft, whose two prototypes are still on display (copy 58-7055 is kept in Building 22 of the National Air and Space Museum, chebeing part of the Smithsonian Museum, the 59-4975 is kept at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Virginia) however, it still makes it appear in hundreds of articles on the web, often mistaken for a “real” extraterrestrial UFO.

Others believe it to be evidence of an alien conspiracy covered by the American government in exchange for access to alien technology for military use. If this were the case, it would be the best conspiracy in history since apparently there is nothing secret in this story.

Ufo anni 50 VZ 9 AV Avrocar 59 4975

Tags: UFOs, Conspiracy theory, Mystery solved, history