Seven decades after it first flew, the V-173 got its old look back.
- By Paul Hoversten
- AirSpaceMag.com, September 17, 2013
Vought Aircraft Heritage Foundation Archives
In 1939, aerodynamicist Charles Zimmerman, who had joined Chance Vought two years earlier, built a two-foot-long, electric-powered model, the V-172 (above), to test his theory of a flying disk. His later creation, the V-173, had its roots in a 1933 competition at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (where Zimmerman then worked) for a civilian lightplane that would hover like a helicopter. Zimmerman's design—nicknamed the Flying Pancake, Flying Flapjack, and Zimmer's Skimmer—won the competition with its aerodynamic excellence and sound engineering. But NACA rejected the idea for further development because it was "too advanced."
Seventy years later, a group of Flying Pancake aficionados in Texas set out to restore the V-173 to its original lustre.
See the gallery above for more pictures of the original Flying Pancake and its restoration.