Friday, July 6, 2012

Squadron Leader Gordon Waller and his "flying saucer"

Hi all,


RAAF Squadron Leader Gordon Waller's name first came to my attention some years ago, when I was researching the 1960 Cressy, Tasmania case (click here.) I noted that he was the investigating officer for the RAAF.


In 2010, courtesy of an introduction by Sydney based researcher Bill Chalker, I interviewed Gordon. I opened up the conversation by asking him how he had come to investigate the Browning's (Cressy witnesses) report? Gordon told me that he was, at that time, the senior RAAF officer in Tasmania. As such he was in charge of the RAAF's University Training Squadron (Air Training Corp.) He said that he received a request from the Minister of Air to investigate a UFO sighting at Cressy. He was stationed in Hobart, so he went to the local Aero club and hired an aircraft, flew it to Launcston , where he landed the aircraft in a paddock near to the Browning's residence.

Gordon said that he "Was struck by the ordinariness of these  two people" referring to the Brownings. He was impressed by the fact that the observation "Was not a fleeting observation." I asked Gordon whether or not at that time in 1960, he had any interest in the topic of "flying saucers?" He said he did not. Gordon completed his official report on the case and sent it off to higher authority.

Other cases he investigated:

Later, while examining the RAAF's UFO files series A703, control symbol 580/1/1, I came across another case (580/1/1 part 3 p43.) which Gordon had investigated. Electricity Commission workers at Yass, sighted a silver coloured object in the sky on 22 Aug 1962. The object was said to have been in the same position all day. Fairbairn RAAF base was asked to send up an aircraft to take a look. On 23 Aug 1962 Fairbairn advised " solid object seen." On the 23 Aug 1962 a witness contacted the RAAF to say that the object was again visible, at 1345hrs at bearing 060 degrees and 15 degrees to the vertical, in cloudless skies.

Squadron Leaders Waller and McAltec were sent to investigate. Gordon said the object was "...silver on side facing Sun, dark on other."  A theodolite showed it was "...moving from NE to SW at 20 deg in 2 or 3 hrs." The Mt Stromlo observatory, when consulted, suggested Venus. "Case closed" notes the RAAF file.

At another time, I found a third case which Gordon had looked into. On NAA file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 party 2, pages12-13 are a memo from Gordon to the Department of Air dated 3 Dec 1960. The case is dated 18 Oct 1960 from a Mrs D A Webster and her daughter Miss S Webster of Delmont, Tasmania. They reported seeing a moving object which then hovered, at 1630hrs. It was cigar shaped with a round nose and a sloping tail. Gordon's report draws attention to a number of similarities between this sighting and the Cressy event. A hand written note on the file states that a TAA VIscount VH-TVG was in approximately the position of the sighting at the time.

New aircraft design:

During the course of my interview with him, Gordon fetched an ancient manila folder from another room. From it he produced newspaper clippings concerning the USAF?Canadian  circular aircraft from the 1950"s - the AVRO car (click here.)

(As an aside at this point I'd like to mention that I once came across a file in the National Archives of Australia, file series A6059 control symbol 3/441/7 titled "Flying saucer- Avrocar, with a date range of 1959-1959. The originating agency was the Department of Defence -Central Office.)

Also, from the same folder, he produced some of his own old papers relating to an aircraft propulsion system which he had designed. I noted this at the time, but thought little of it at that point.

Gordon's NAA file:

Last year while browsing the NAA RecordSearch, I came across a file which mentioned Gordon's name, which intrigued me. File series MP1469/1 control symbol R13/2/29 was titled "Request by Department of Air for Aeronautical Research Laboratories to undertake a feasibility study on a new aircraft design invented by Squadron Leader G L Waller." I decided to ask for the file to be examined and released to me. Several months later, I was able to read a digitised copy. It turned out to contain papers relating to the material which Gordon showed me in 2010.

The file is 29 pages in length and highlights include:

Page 27 is a memo from the Department of Air , Canberra dated 22 Mar 1966 to the Department of Supply. It refers an aircraft design by Gordon and seeks the advice of the Aeronautical Research Laboratories (ARL)  (click here) on Gordon's design. "In very broad terms the aircraft as described as consisting essentially of a body, which could be circular in shape..."

Pge 24 of the file shows that the Acting Deputy Chief Scientist referred the matter to the ARL, Fisherman's Bend, Melbourne, Victoria, on 1 Apr 1966. To set this date in a UFO context, the Westall High School, Melbourne event (click here) happened five days later.

Page 21 is a letter from Gordon, dated 5 Apr 1966 to a Dr W A S Butement, Chief Scientist, Department of Supply, and included the line "Your and Mr Wills interest in my VTOL aircraft concept..." Included at page 19 is a cross sectional drawing of the proposed design, clearly showing it was indeed a circular air body.

Gordon submitted a patent application on the design and pages 7 to 19 of the file are a copy of this application, for an "Aircraft with Annular Aerofoil" dated 4 Feb 1966.

At page 3 is the ARL report which included the comment "The data provided by S L Waller is too inadequate to attempt a precise feasibility study...At this stage it is only possible to say, in view of the foregoing remarks, that there does not seem to be any obvious aerodynamic advantage in the proposal over systems obtaining lift by directional axial acceleration of a vertical jet..."  Finally, page 1 is a memo from the ARL dated 23 May 1966 to the Department of Air - effectively no further action to be taken.

Back to my interview:

At the conclusion of my interview with Gordon, and while still talking about his aircraft deign proposal, Gordon mentioned that he had sent off a copy of his material to a Professor "Muller" (my spelling) in the USA.

Enter Jacques Vallee:

At around this time I was reading Jacques Vallee's book "Forbidden Science - Volume 2:, published by Documentica Research, LLC. 2008. ISBN 978-0-615-24974-2. Surprisingly, I came across the name of one Paul Moller. Vallee's entry on page 294 of his book was dated 26 Apr 1975. The entry reads:

"I spent the afternoon with Paul Moller, a professor of aeronautical engineering at U.C. Davis who's built a saucer-shaped vehicle that flies a few feet off the ground, using a series of propellers powered by snowmobile engines. He is a  young fellow in blue jeans interested in UFOs. Moller's research contradicts Claude Poher's statements about the aerodynamic properties of a disk. Poher concluded that discs were aerodynamically poor. "That's only true as a gross generalization" Moller told me. "The situation changes if you take  into account the properties of the interface between the object and the air.""

It certainly appeared to me that this Moller was Gordon's "Muller." A recent check on the Internet revealed that Paul Moller is an engineer who has spent the last forty years developing the personal VTOL vehicle (click here.)

In conclusion:

After reading the NAA file on Gordon's new aircraft design, the first thought that came to my mind was, that Gordon's proposal was suggesting a circular or disc shaped aircraft. I then wondered if he got the idea from his examination of UFO reports?


  1. G' Day Folks.

    Keith for the readers who are not aware the concept "Coanda Effect" is not new many an inventor has dabbled in the concept some inspired by the Flying saucer phenomena no doubt.

    Here is just a few:
    Duan Phillips Flying saucer concept you will find his files in the NAA.
    He designed Helicopters but dabbled in the Coanda Effect with models.

    Jean Louis Naudin
    His webpage here explains the concept

    The concept in my opinion will always remain a novelty and these are some of the reasons why.

    Today the concept is only used to assist conventional aircraft in landing taking off.

    It just comes down to economics when comparing power to weight/payload between a Helicopter and a flying disk the helicopter wins hands down, it would have been great if the flying disk had found a niche like the helicopter. (which is not as efficient as an conventional aircraft of course)

    The Harrier Jet doesn't use the Coanda effect as in the disk design instead it uses vectors straight off the engine, (there's more to it than that) you have to ask why if the coanda effect (flying saucer) was showing so much promise why didn't the Harrier designer go down that road.

    Of course even the Harrier didn't replace conventional Jet fighters either but rather found a niche, after the American's got hold of it and replaced much of it as possible with lighter composite materials it was then able to carry a decent payload etc.

    Don't get me wrong I would love to see the Avrocar revamped with more powerful engines lighter composite materials and computer assisted control just for the hell of it the same with the Moller concept.

    But there they sit.

    Down further on the page that you linked to the Avrocar there is a "lift body" concept where they have taken the disk shape and tried to make it more efficient Aerodynamically (as did Moller).

    However if they were such a good concept the skies would be full of them.

    >To set this date in a UFO context, the Westall High School, Melbourne event (click here) happened five days later.<

    While we are on the subject of The Westall Incident it has been suggested now and in the past that perhaps it was an experimental flying disk using the Coanda princible that could have been involved in the Westall case, including a Harrier jet (rolling eyes.)

    We need to keep in mind that all these concepts sit on a cushion of air which radiates out from the centre, this cushion is supporting 2 to 3 plus tonne of aircraft.

    The high air pressure escaping from underneath will be quite destructive to a soft surface that is under the craft whilst landing and or taking off, in this case dry grass (and if the very hot jet engines exhaust was also vectored down in this experimental craft hate to think what would happened to the tinder dry grass.)

    Secondly the jet engines in a taking off,landing,hovering mode will be screaming their little lungs out (just listen to the Harrier Jet) no witness has mention a deafening noise coming from the object in a hovering mode related to the Westall case.

    Cheers Les

  2. Another fantastic post Keith...thank you very much.

    In my interview with Gordon Waller in 2009 he made it quite clear that his design efforts had indeed been inspired by witness reports of UFOs, and particularly by the Cressy sightings.

    Indeed, he was very taken with the witnesses' accounts at Cressy, and couldn't reconcile what they said they saw to him with the RAAF's official explanation - "something astronomical".

    Unfortunately, despite the timing of his submission, as you point out, Gordon knew nothing about the Westall Incident, and had not even heard of it.

    Frustrating, of course.



  3. Hi Les. A very informed comment from you - as always.

    Gordon Waller's design incorporated ramjets and would have been, as he admitted, very noisy.

    Most of the Westall witnesses, of course, remember that the Westall UFO made no sound at all, while a few thought that it made a very slight sound, perhaps like a humming. The silence, or the near-silence, of the flying saucer contrasted sharply with the sounds made by the five planes that flew nearby.



  4. G'Day Folks and G'Day to you Shane.

    Yikes ramjets even worse not just the noise they are quite thirsty, weight saving though.

    Just a little on the ramjet it requires forward movement for it to work (air pressure at the inlet)

    So I'd love to see Gordon's schematics in full.

    Anybody got a copy?

    Anyway back to it whether it is piston/jet/ramjet powered any saucer shaped aircraft using this princible "Coanda Effect" never really got off the ground (excuse the pun couldn't help it.)

    It's just that for years a circular shape craft like the avrocar pops up like a jack in a box to explain away a UFO events ignoring things like sound.

    Regarding the Cressy case a pilot/nav flying a RB57 saw a UFO around the the same time, from what I remember of the case they had heard about the Cressy case and thought they had better report their own sighting it's in NAA files.

    >"something astronomical".< yes pretty vague

    Cheers Les


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