When the US Army came-up with the idea of a "Flying Jeep" (a small VTOL utility aircraft) in the 1950s, all sorts of wacky flying machines were offered. They varied widely in practicality (and silliness), but one clearly stood-out from all the rest; Avro Canada's "Avrocar".
The Avrocar was promised to be all things to all people. It was supposed to fly both horizontally and vertically with the greatest of ease, to cover a very long range, reach a high service ceiling, reach tremendous speeds, carry large loads for it's size and weight, and so on. It was also promised to herald a technological revolution in aviation unseen since the advent of the jet engine.
But more importantly, the Avrocar was a Flying Saucer. No, I didn't make that up. I reiterate; the Avrocar was --- a Flying. Saucer.
Well, that's one thing, but as wacky as the idea was, it was also a 360-degree dead end. This is because the Avrocar couldn't actually fly at all (does that mean it's just a "Saucer"?), despite many dogged attempts. I kind of spoiled the outcome of this episode by telling you that in the introduction, but this story is still an important cautionary tale in aeronautics, engineering, marketing, and project management.
Also, it was a big enough imbroglio that I had to make this episode a 2-parter, so be sure to watch both!
I'll post my sources in the description for Part 2.
Lastly, note that I once again had editing support from meaninter03 on the script for this episode!