Thursday, November 01, 2012

Flying Saucer Patent Application

On this date in 1965, Ed Headrick - the guy who was/is into flying discs - filed his patent for a "Flying Saucer". Fred Morrison filed his patent for "Flying Toy" seven years earlier (1958). This historic patent [Patent #3,359,678] led to WHAM-O Flyin(g) Saucers and eventually to the flying disc used in Ultimate.

ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE: A saucer shaped throwing implement. A series of concentric discontinuities are provided adjacent the rim on the convex side of the implement. The discontinuities provided on the convex side of the implement exert an interfering effect on the air flow over the implement and create a turbulent unseparated boundary layer over the top of the implement reducing aerodynamic drag.

This invention relates to aerodynamic toys to be thrown through the air and in particular to flying saucers for use in throwing games.

Drawings from Flying Saucer Patent [Headrick]

More from Patent #33589678...
The height of the rim is selected such that the implement may be conveniently gripped by placing the thumb on the convex side of the saucer around the rim and being placed the concave side of the saucer. It has been found that when the implement is thrown in a manner such that the saucer is approximately horizontal with respect to the ground as it leaves the hand that it displays definite aerodynamic properties and tends to "fly" in the direction it is thrown. It is believed that the saucer flies because the saucer approximates an airfoil and hence its flight through the air is enhanced by aerodynamic lift. Depending on the skill of the throwers the angle of the saucer with respect to ground can be varied to obtain greater eccentricities in flight such as causing the saucer to curve in one direction or another. Similarly the angle of attach with respect to the air can be varied such that if the saucer is thrown at a high angle of attach relative to the wind or airflow, the saucer can be made to demonstrate an action similar to a boomerang.

The patent reads like an intimate poem to a Frisbee.

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