During World War II, the United States launched the Vought XF5U “Flying Flapjack” US Navy experimental fighter aircraft program in which the Vought V-173 was built from. The Navy was using the program to test all-wing aircraft designs to generate lift.
The Vought V-173 first took flight on November 23rd, 1942 and piloted by Vought’s Chief Test Pilot Boone Guyton. The aircraft had a total of 190 test flights over a period of 1 year (1942-1943), which also generated numerous UFO reports from Connecticut locals. The aircraft proved to handle very well and be capable of especially low speed capabilities.
On one occasion, an emergency landing had to be made on a beach. As the pilot came in to land, he noticed two bathers in the way of the aircraft and was forced to instantly slam on the brakes, causing the aircraft to flip over on contact with the ground. The aircraft’s airframe proved to be so strong that the aircraft remained undamaged and the pilot unharmed.
The aircraft received a long restoration from the Vought Aircraft Heritage Foundation in 2012 and as of right now, the Vought V-173 Flying Pancake is on display at the Frontiers of Flight Museum on loan from the Smithsonian Institution.