Researchers in the UK hope to achieve "powered, Frisbee-like flight" with a spinning disc concept for miniature unmanned air vehicles.

The University of Manchester electrical and electronic engineering department project team is undertaking experimental studies using instrumented test rigs to examine the flight-control challenges posed by powered spinning discs. The university hopes to make a test flight later this year to demonstrate control methods.

The researchers envisage the discs being used for "miniature unmanned air vehicles" for surveillance and reconnaissance missions including border security.

Experimental work began in January 2009 and will run to January 2012. The "advances in robust control methods and application to flying discs" project has been funded with £364,939 ($564,000) from the UK government's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

NASA studied flying disc concepts in the 1960s, including one non-spinning design called the Langley lenticular body.

Source: Flight International