Perhaps the most amazing thing about Alexander Weygers is that he actually existed.
The San Francisco Chronicle began an article on him by stating they were “never given to idle flattery,” then went on to say, “Alexander Weygers is a modern Leonardo da Vinci. He commands attention because he is a success by any standard of excellence in half a dozen professions… a sculptor of heroic dimensions, an inventor, a scholar, an author, an engineer, and a world-class photographer. He is also a blacksmith, machinist, carpenter, electrician, plumber, (and) toolmaker. He is further a teacher and a reluctant prophet upon whom the admiring descend.”
In the latter part of his life, Weygers lived unobtrusively on a remote, oak-studded ranch, sheltered by a rustic home built from recycled materials, and fueled by a conviction to make as little money as possible. Whatever he needed, he built. He was at that juncture a man who had seemingly sprung straight from the earth. One would never have guessed that for much of his life, what Weygers truly wanted was to soar above it.
Of all his accomplishments, Weygers’ greatest may have been the one that no one saw or touched, and that few believed even existed. You see, in the early 1940s, Alexander Weygers invented and patented the first flying saucer.
How did a man living on a property with no electricity win an international space race? How did a person whose art was renowned for its microscopic attention to detail create a vision as grandiose as anything generated by the Wright Brothers?
Weygers was fascinated with flight from an early age. In the early days of helicopters, Weygers looked critically at the designs and found them to be flawed. In his opinion, the large exposed propellers were a weakness, easily caught on trees or buildings, causing the craft to be unnecessarily vulnerable.
In 1927, while working as a nautical engineer, Weygers received a flash of inspiration from an unexpected source. Watching dolphins swimming off the bow of ships, he wondered how they were able to swim fast enough to keep up with the ship, especially for such long periods of time. Weygers realized that they were actually surfing the wave of water pushed in front of the ship, and wondered if there was a way to apply that principle to aviation.
Weygers began to design a craft that hovered on a cushion of air pushed down by internally-housed rotors, with a round, saucer-shaped body for maximum structural strength. The rotors and all other critical machinery were internally housed, which Weygers hoped would improve the strength and durability issues he saw with helicopters. And so, the Discopter was born.
The Discopter was a VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) craft, and was designed to be capable of landing on both ground and water. Steering was controlled by a series of rings which would control the direction of the stream of air under the Discopter. Weygers envisioned the pilot sitting atop the rotors, inside a dome-shaped window with visibility in all directions.
Weygers dreamed of the ways in which his invention could revolutionize flight, and could change the landscape of cities in the future. He imagined smaller private Discopters, as well as larger passenger models, with spacious, windowed viewing promenades around the rim of the craft. Weygers believed that Discopters could radically change public transportation, envisioning a city more in harmony with the natural world, with machine traffic soaring overhead.
In 1945, Weygers received US Patent #2377835 for his Discopter, and began sending portfolios of his work to the leading aircraft manufacturers in the country. Many rejected his design outright, and one corporation claimed in a letter that it was “too advanced” for the time.
Though his Discopter was never built, Weygers has come to be known as the father of the classic flying saucer design, and his work continues to inspire people around the world to this day.
To learn more about Alexander Weygers visit: weygers.com