While disc-shaped flying objects have been interpreted as being
sporadically recorded since the Middle Ages, the first recorded use of the term "flying saucer" for an
unidentified flying object was to describe a probable meteor that fell over Texas and Oklahoma on June 17, 1930. "Some who saw the weird light described it as a huge comet, a flaming flying saucer, a
great red glow, a ball of fire." The highly publicized sighting by Kenneth
Arnold on June 24, 1947, resulted in the popularity of the term "flying saucer" by U.S. newspapers. Although Arnold never specifically used the term "flying saucer", he was quoted at the time
saying the shape of the objects he saw was like a "saucer", "disc", or "pie-plate", and several years later
added he had also said "the objects moved like saucers skipping across the water." Both the terms flying
saucer and flying disc were used commonly and interchangeably in the media until the early 1950s.
Arnold's sighting was followed by thousands of similar sightings across the
world. Such sightings were once very common, to such an extent that "flying saucer" was a synonym for UFO through the 1960s before it began to fall out of favor. A lot of sightings of
the cigar-shaped UFO were reported following it. More recently, the flying saucer has been largely supplanted by other alleged UFO-related vehicles, such as the black triangle. The term UFO was, in fact, invented in 1952, to try to reflect the wider diversity of shapes being seen. However, unknown saucer-like objects are still reported, such as in the widely publicized 2006 sighting over Chicago-O'Hare airport.
Someone met that challenge too!
The HortenH.IX, RLMdesignation Ho229 (or GothaGo 229 forextensive re-design work done by Gotha to prepare the aircraft for mass production) was a German prototype fighter/bomber initially designed by Reimar and Walter Horten to be built by Gothaer Waggonfabrik late in World War II. It was the first flying wing to be powered by jet engines.
During the final stages of the war, the U.S. military initiated Operation Paperclip, an effort to capture advanced German weapons research, and keep it out of the hands of advancing Soviet troops. A Horten glider and the
Ho 229 V3, which was undergoing final assembly, were secured for sending to the United States for evaluation. On the way, the Ho 229 spent a brief time at RAE
Farnborough inthe UK, during which it was considered whether British jet engines could be fitted,
but the mountings were found to be incompatible with the early British turbojets, which used larger-diameter centrifugal compressors as opposed to the slimmer axial-flow
turbojets the Germans had developed. The Americans were just starting to create
their own axial-compressor turbojets before the war's end, such as the Westinghouse J30,
with a thrust level only approaching the BMW 003's full output.
After the war, the designer Reimar Horten said he mixed charcoal dust in with the wood glue to absorb electromagnetic waves (radar), which he believed could shield the aircraft from detection by British early-warning ground-based radar that operated at 20 to 30 MHz (top end of the HF band), known as Chain Home. A jet-powered flying wing design such as the Horten Ho 229 has a smaller radar cross-section than
conventional contemporary twin-engine aircraft because the wings blended into the fuselage and there are no large propeller disks or vertical and horizontal tail surfaces to provide a typical identifiable radar signature.
Engineers of the Northrop-Grumman Corporation had long been interested in the Ho 229, and several of them visited the Smithsonian Museum's facility in Silver Hill, Maryland in the early 1980s to study the V3 airframe, in the context of developing the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit.team of engineers from Northrop-Grumman ran electromagnetic tests on the V3's multilayer wooden center-section nose cones. The cones are 19 mm (0.75 in) thick and made from thin sheets of veneer. The team concluded that there was some form of conducting element in the glue, as the radar signal attenuated considerably as it passed through the cone. However,
a later inspection by the museum found no trace of such material.