Chance Vought V-173 "Flying Pancake"

The Chance Vought V-173 “Flying Pancake” is a one-of-kind aircraft that dates back to WWII. Designer Charles H. Zimmerman theorized that aircraft could fly at very slow speeds with an extremely low-aspect ratio wing design. Zimmerman minimized drag by placing large-diameter propellers at the end of the circular airfoil wingtips, maintaining a uniform flow of air over the flat pancake's single wing. 


Even though the proof-of-concept Chance Vought V-173 "Flying Pancake" exhibited unusual flight characteristics, the V-173 could almost hover, survived forced landings including a nose-over, and could be piloted effectively.

Did you know?

Charles Lindbergh, the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean,  piloted the V-173 "Flying Pancake" on several occasions and found it very responsive.

The V-173 "Flying Pancake" is believed to be responsible for several UFO sightings by the general public in the early 1940s.

About our Aircraft

Proudly restored by the Vought Aircraft Heritage Foundation, the "Flying Pancake" arrived at the Museum in 2012. The extensive restoration took over eight years to complete with more than 25,000 volunteer labor hours. This unique aircraft is on long-term loan from the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.