Follow TV Tropes


Flying Saucer

Go To
Mah koreh, mah mah korehnote 

"And in news just in: Admiral Janeway has reported a Close Encounter of the Preferred Kind with a flying saucer holding a steaming cup of Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee."

The stereotypical alien spaceship of many a sci-fi epic is the ubiquitous flying saucer. For some reason spacefaring civilizations across the galaxy have determined that a flying disc is the most effective and efficient means of crossing the void.

In actuality, the most efficient design for a spacecraft would likely be a sphere as this shape encloses the greatest volume with the least amount of material. They just don't look very cool or quite as alien, though they have their own charms. But there can be some merits to this design, as some of them are seen rotating and might therefore use the Centripetal force to create an Artificial Gravity. They also have a smaller radar cross-section compared to some other shapes, like the previous mentioned sphere or That's No Moon.

The term comes from Kenneth Arnold's description of a UFO sighting near Mount Rainier. Arnold described their flight (but not their shape) as "like saucers skipping across water." Nevertheless, the term stuck. Flying Saucers are the most reported type of UFO (and the most commonly hoaxed type as well) though it is unknown if the term was being used by the witness as an interchangeable word for UFO or describing the nature of the UFO. (The term UFO describes any possible aircraft shape, as long as it is Unidentified.) Flying Saucers are still reported today, with a recent one reported over Chicago O'Hare airport in 2006.

It is worth noting that investigation of the phenomenon is now changing its terminology and encouraging use of the less loaded acronym UAP - Unidentified Aerial Phenomena - to supplant the socially and culturally loaded "UFO", which over the years has accumulated a lot of possibly unhelpful assumptions and biases concerning Aliens. "UAP" comes without any baggage, at least for now.

See also Little Green Men and The Greys, the most common aliens in UFO culture, and Tripod Terror for the next most iconic alien vehicle design.


    open/close all folders 

  • One commercial for Energizer batteries has a spinning, sodium lamp-bedecked flying disc abduct the Energizer Bunny to use as a power source.
  • A car insurance add had a driver fleeing as his car was teleported up into a UFO. Turns out the only claims the insurance company refused to pay out on "you wouldn't believe!"

  • In the Lamput episode "Alien", Lamput and the docs find themselves in a flying saucer. They accidentally get the vehicle moving, much to the annoyance of its owner who was trying to repair it.
  • The glass man in the Motu Patlu episode "Glass Man Alien" owns one. Motu accidentally causes the saucer to crash-land while the glass man is riding it, causing it to stop working and thus trapping the glass man in Furfuri Nagar. The glass man gets angry at Motu for wrecking the ship.
  • In episode 234 of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Wolffy uses a circular ship shaped like a flying saucer to fly to the desert.

    Anime & Manga 


    Comic Books 
  • Although he's human, Calvin and Hobbes' Spaceman Spiff pilots a one-seater saucer.
  • When the Fantastic Four first encountered the invading alien Skrulls (way back in Fantastic Four #2), the team hijacked their flying saucer and kept it in storage in the Baxter Building for years. In the early 1980s, Rom Spaceknight finally used it to return to his home planet Galador.
  • Fatman, the Human Flying Saucer (created by C.C. Beck, creator of Captain Marvel), was a short-lived superhero who was, sure enough, an overweight man (in a green-colored version of Captain Marvel's costume) who had the power to transform into a flying saucer.
  • Girrion: The Gunflin people make their home in an ancient spaceship floating over the land of Gania.
  • Issue #43 of The Powerpuff Girls, "Power Picnic," features a family of giant one-eyed alien chickens who arrive on Earth in their flying saucer which is (what else?) an egg.
  • Superman: Brainiac's original spaceship was a purple flying saucer, which he used until he acquired his now-iconic skull-shaped spaceship in the early 80's.
  • In scurrilous adult comic Viz, Johnny Fartpants note  is used by NASA as the propulsion system for an experimental spacecraft using the power of his flatulence to drive the vessel at incredible speeds.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The robotic aliens in #110 fly green saucer space craft.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: The aliens in "The Spaceship" employ a flying saucer, referred to as such in the story.
    Hovering about sixty feet above the ample side yard was a large flying saucer. It gleamed with an eerie silver glow, studded with twinkling azure lights and emitting a quiet thrumming noise.
  • In the Parody Fic Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space, the aerodynamic instability of a flying saucer is used to explain why they wobble when flying and are held up by visible bits of string.
  • Rocketship Voyager. The Caretaker uses a small discoid hover-craft to move about.
    It was a sight alien yet oddly familiar, and then Janeway remembered the ancient superstitions of Earth: the Grey Men who would come in the night on flying dinnerware to abduct naughty children, or the UFO cults that flourished before Humanity encountered extraterrans for real and found them a lot more mundane.
  • Subverted in Slipping Between Worlds, where the Discworld goes through its own War of the Worlds mass panic and everyone swears blind the aliens have landed from their incredibly advanced flying discs, you know, the ones with the deadly ray gonnes what are just about to blast the Patrician's palace into atoms, just keep watching, squire, sooner or later the mothership is going to pop out of invisibility just over Broad Way, let's see how that wily bugger Vetinari gets out of this one, and so on.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 1959 scifi movie The Atomic Submarine has a USO (Unidentified Submerged Object) because they wouldn't have much of a plot if it wasn't underwater. Nevertheless it's the classic saucer shape and it tries flying off into space before our heroes shoot it down with a missile.
  • Independence Day features something of a Reconstruction, the Alien Invaders arrive at Earth in a mothership 1/4th the size of the moon, and disengage a dozen separate saucers (the first image of them resembles a sand dollar), each one stated to be 15 miles wide and hover over several major cities before beginning their assault. Which they do by nuking the cities directing a Wave-Motion Gun down from the centre of their ships. The sheer scale of the ships and the Monumental Damage that they wreak prevents it from being seen as cliche or silly.
  • Plan 9 from Outer Space, although nonsensically, one of the saucers is described as "cigar-shaped", when it clearly isn't. They clearly have some kind of shape-shifting mode, since the scenes with people entering through its hatch show it with flat sides at 90-degree angles, much like a... shed of some sort!
  • The humans have one in Forbidden Planet. Specifically, United Planets Cruiser C-57D.
  • And who can forget Exeter's ship from This Island Earth, which could readily be described as a flying cowboy hat!
  • The Thing from Another World (1951). The search team position themselves around the edge of the crashed 'aircraft' under the ice and realise they're forming a perfect circle, whereupon they become quite excited at having "finally found one".
  • Also appears in John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), where the guys find it in the bottom of an enormous crater. There was also the Blair-Thing's homemade craft, though it is blown up before it can be used. Some have speculated that it would actually work more like a hovercraft as a means of getting to the coast so that it could find more life forms to assimilate.
  • When aliens appear in a Godzilla movie, more often than not, they're flying around in one of these.
    • In Godzilla 2000, the monster was the flying saucer, until it got out of it to provide a traditional giant monster battle.
    • Other sci-fi films by Toho usually go for the saucer shape as well, such as The Mysterians and its sequel Battle in Outer Space. Unusually, the saucers are not always perfectly circular and rarely spin around like they usually do in western depictions.
  • Wild Zero has dozens of flying saucers swarming over Earth to cause a Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Gamera, in his flying form, resembles a flying saucer made of turtle meat.
  • The moon-based Nazis of Iron Sky utilize flying saucers as their primary attack vehicles... and they launch from giant carrier zeppelins.
  • The "interdimensional beings" (read: aliens) in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull used a flying saucer, although you can't see it very well on account of it having been buried for a few thousand years. (It's briefly visible after taking off, right before it jumps into "the space between spaces".)
  • Earth vs. the Flying Saucers is THE flying saucer movie. The saucers, depicted by stop-motion animation, have rotating sections on the tops and bottoms that move in opposite directions, massive ray-guns, force-fields, translator devices inside, and nearly impenetrable armor.
  • They Live! shows a nightmarish version of Earth where aliens freely walk among us, holographically disguised as humans. In one brief scene it is shown that they also have flying saucer drones that patrol cities disguised as helicopters.
  • Teenagers from Outer Space has a unique twist on the classic flying saucer: the alien ship is essentially a gigantic screw with a UFO as its head. When it lands, the screw part drills into the ground so only the head is left exposed, looking like a normal flying saucer has landed.
  • The original Invaders From Mars shows Martians landing a large flying saucer and using it as their base on Earth.
  • Prometheus has a brief appearance by a flying saucer in the opening sequence. It is so large that when it manouvres, the clouds flow around it.
  • Mars Attacks! cribs its saucer design directly from Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, all it the name of Affectionate Parody, and utilizing CGI to emulate the stop-motion spinning effect.
  • Jordan Peele’s Nope features one as the main threat harassing the Haywood ranch, with the main characters spending the movie trying to capture evidence of it. Subverted - there's no actual aliens or spaceships; the “UFO” is actually a predatory flying animal that happened to find a surplus of food in their area. It mostly consists of a membranous sheet of flesh and folds up into a saucer-like shape while hunting, and uses a form of electromagnetic propulsion to achieve flight.
  • Played with in the opening of Captain America: The First Avenger. In a scene similar to The Thing from Another World something is found buried under the ice in the Arctic, and one character jokes it's probably a weather balloon. They come across what appears to be a UFO sticking out of the ice, but then the Reveal Shot shows it's just the wingtip, and the shape of a massive flying wing is outlined with light poles.
  • V/H/S/2's 'Slumber Party Alien Abduction' segment depicts Gary being lifted into one at the very last moment, though only the lights can be seen.
  • A frozen flying saucer appears in Ice Age when the herd passed an ice cave. Ice Age: Collision Course shows how this flying saucer gets accidentally activated by Scrat.
  • The Prawns' ship in District 9 is a massive flying saucer with a bunch of industrial-looking pipes and tanks attached to the bottom.
  • Star Trek: Generations stands out just because it's one of the very few times we actually get to see the Enterprise-D use its saucer separation feature (though the circumstances lead to it being a falling saucer, and then a crashing saucer).
  • In the 1956 film Supersonic Saucer, Meba (and Venusians in general) are taught to change into a flying saucer form while young, which allows them to fly and travel through space - with Meba using this ability to pay a visit to Earth and get into a bunch of shenanigans.
  • The 1993 Dan Curtis documentary In Advance Of The Landing, based on Douglas Curran's 1980 book of the same name, focuses on folk beliefs concerning flying saucers and other alien spacecraft, and benevolent (for the most part) alien contact with humans.
  • Bacurau: Subverted. The film is set "A few years from now" in a remote Brazilian town, where strange things are starting to happen. About half an hour into the film we see a flying saucer flying overhead, but shortly afterwards an old man says "I saw a drone. It looked like a flying saucer from an old movie, but it was a drone."
  • The ship the emponymous Paul crashes at the start of the movie is disc-shaped, but at the end, it's shown that the classic saucer UFO's are shuttlecraft for the much rarer cigar-shaped UFO's.
  • The Millennium Falcon from Star Wars is basically a saucer with forward mandibles and a starboard cockpit.

  • The starship Vittoria from Starship Through Space, a 1954 sci-fi juvenile by Lee Correy (G. Harry Stine). Though he describes it as an 'oblate spheroid' (e.g. a flattened sphere).
  • Robert A. Heinlein
    • Have Spacesuit Will Travel. While out walking at night, the protagonist notices a couple of lights of the kind that ignorant rubes called flying saucers whereupon a flying saucer almost lands on his head, though it's described as looking more like a loaf of pumpernickel, or an oblate spheroid.
    • At the beginning of The Puppet Masters the secret agent protagonist is informed his next assignment is to investigate a "flying saucer" that has landed in Iowa. His reaction is skeptical, but the ships of the alien invasion are the classic flying saucer shape (complete with a smaller hemispherical dome on top), and are un-ironically referred to as "saucers" throughout the book. The trope is implied to have originated with reconnaissance for the Alien Invasion carried out decades before.
  • In one of The History of the Galaxy novels, a human colony is attacked by a massive automated mothership built millions of years ago. In a serious case of artistic license, the main character notes its circular shape and comments that it is the most efficient form for a spacecraft.
  • Not too common but known in Perry Rhodan. The Yülziish civilization (perhaps better known by their English-language nickname "Blues") does traditionally use disk-shaped starships, Terran-built "Space-Jets" are small secondary and scout craft constructed along similar lines, and the aliens behind the original flying saucer sightings eventually put in an appearance as well (they turn out to work for the setting's notional forces of "order" and encounters typically involve only a single actual alien with the rest of the crew being subservient androids). In the latter case, the "saucers" are once again actually secondary craft; the bigger and more rarely seen motherships are instead cylindrical.
  • In the Animorphs series, the Skrit Na are described as using saucer-shaped spacecraft, implied to be because they need aereodynamic ships capable of traveling through atmospheres quickly as well as through space.
  • In the Star Wars EU the Hapan's capital ships look like a pair of flying saucer stacked on each other. In their case the saucer shape is done to allow for full body rotation of the weapons platforms allowing them to direct an enormous amount of firepower in one direction. The upside to such a system is a capital ship that can fire three times as fast as a Star Destroyer. The downside is a ship design that is much more fragile and expensive.
  • Mr Blank's Little Green Men get around in Flying Saucers, though they're referred to as UFOs.
  • Mindwarp: These appear at several points, but it's not the saucers that are dangerous, but the aliens they bring. eventually revealed to be time machines rather than spacecraft.
  • At the beginning of Fortunately, the Milk, the protagonist is abducted by hostile aliens flying in a huge, humming silver disc.
  • One of the vingettes in The Mad Scientists' Club involved the club pranking the town by building a disc-shaped zeppelin, propelled by an air tank. They also replicated foo fighters by gluing shopping bags to tins of camp stove fuel. It culminates in them dressing up as Little Green Men and running around the roof of the fire hall.
  • Area 51: The government has nine of these at Area 51 that they found in the 1940s-50s and have been testing their capabilities ever since, along with a mothership for them.
  • In The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, a medieval illustration of a flying machine from the Moon is shaped like a flying saucer.
  • Photojournalist Douglas Curran's 1980 book In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts of Outer Space is a beautifully illustrated folkloric look at Americans' ideas of flying saucers and alien contact, including in popular culture (motel and restaurant signs, the "landing" at the 1984 Olympic Games, etc). UFO contactees explain their experiences and communication, New Age concepts, and so on. George Adamski is discussed and there are detailed visits with Ruth Norman, the Aetherius Society, and many lesser-known examples. It was made into a film by Dan Curtis in 1993.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • "The Gentle Vultures": This story claims the sightings of UFOs after the end of World War II are the result of Hurrian spaceships not being careful enough to maintain their Alien Non-Interference Clause.
    • "The Watery Place": The aliens from Venus use a saucer-shaped craft with incredibly silent engines. They're probably capable of interstellar flight, but they were only observed in atmosphere.
  • The Last Day of Creation by Wolfgang Jeschke. A plan to send people five million years into the past to drill for oil has Gone Horribly Wrong, creating multiple alternate futures. One of these people witnesses "what I would once have called a flying saucer" which is apparently a time machine sent by "the Pope's Mediterranean Fleet, whoever that might be".
  • The Cthulhu Wars, by Kenneth Hite and Kennon Bauman states that the so-called "foo-fighters" of World War II were Mi-Go surveillance probes, which they upgraded after the war to "biometallic craft built on quasi-Euclidian discoid and conic lines".
  • In the Choose Your Own Adventure novel UFO 54-40, your character has been abducted by aliens who of course are flying the obligatory saucer. Later on in the book it's said that this is the most efficient form, presumably because there is no 'direction' in outer space.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Our Miss Brooks episode "Space, Who Needs It?", Walter Denton makes a model of a flying saucer. He holds it on a stick in front of Mr. Conklin's telescope lens, tricking the principal into thinking the Earth's being invaded.
  • Vree/Streib ships in Babylon 5. The Vree appear to have 2 different ship classes, but both feature a saucer-shaped design. The original Vree warships (some sources call them Xorrs and claim they're an older design being phased away) don't appear to be capable of atmospheric flight. The new Xills look like typical flying saucers with glowing blue lines and sleek curves. Fluff note  also suggests that the Vree have indeed visited Earth, but it was a routine survey of a primitive world. In fact, they find the fact that this even has affected human culture so much extremely hilarious (for reference, their deity is The Trickster).
  • Both Batman (1966) and The Wild Wild West did episodes in which the (human) villains of the week attempt to run an "invading aliens" con which involves using a flying saucer prop.
  • The Disneyland documentary episode "Mars and Beyond", while speculating on possible intelligent life on Mars, shows an animated flyer saucer, rapidly followed by a flying (lit) cigar, a flying lampshade and a flying water bottle. Wernher von Braun objected to what he saw as Hollywood frivolity, so the narrator suggests that humanity will one day develop an 'electromagnetic drive' saucer spaceship. The final scene shows several flying saucers zooming over a domed human colony on Mars, ascending into a giant mothership saucer which flies off into interstellar space. Also worthy of note are the 'umbrella ships' of the Mars Expedition Fleet, each topped with a huge round heat radiator for the atomic generator.
  • Doctor Who:
  • The Flipside of Dominick Hide: The time machines used by Dominick and the other Corros for observations resemble small, fairground ride-sized, flying saucers. Larger ones exist for tour groups though.
  • The plot of the 60's Alien Invasion series The Invaders is set into motion by the protagonist witnessing a UFO landing.
  • The JAG episode "Impact" has a flying saucer-like craft built by a Covert Group with Mundane Front.
  • The Jupiter-2 from Lost in Space. In one episode, it even travels back to 1947 Earth and is mistaken for a UFO.
  • An episode of Journey to the West (1996) (season 2) sees Wukong trapped in a pair of golden cymbals by the Log-Armed Ape, but luckily Wukong managed to use his sweat from inside the cymbals to summon a magical cloud as an escape. The flying cymbals then passes through a city, where citizens mistook it as a flying saucer - accordingly, Wukong's escape in the Golden Cymbals turns out to be the source of the flying saucer myths.
  • Sid and Marty Krofft's The Lost Saucer featured the titular saucer, which doubled as a time machine.
  • Mystery Hunters: One of Doubting Dave's Mystery Lab segments shows how to make photographs that make it seemed like you took a photo of a flying saucer in order to trick others.
  • Project UFO, being lifted from the pages of Project Blue Book, had its fair share of these.
  • The Orion VII and VIII in Raumpatrouille.
  • Star Trek: Federation's standard design for starfleet cruisers, the most dominant section is generally called the saucer section, typically with additional components if not a separate "star-drive" section to account for their Faster-Than-Light Travel engine, using a pair of cylindrical warp nacelles. Behind-the-scenes the instructions for designing the original Enterprise was that they did not want a flying saucer or a rocketship, and so the solution was to combine both.
    • The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Alternative Factor" features an alien-of-the-week who pilots a small, one-man saucer, in the vein of Spaceman Spiff or Rick and Morty.
    • In an emergency most Starfleet ships can separate its saucer section from its star-drive section, creating a more traditional Flying Saucer image. A unique feature of the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation was that it was designed for casual saucer separation to evacuate non-Starfleet passengers, although the budget prevented the powers that be from having it do this with any regularity.
    • Some ships, like the USS Vengeance from Star Trek Into Darkness and the Discovery from Star Trek: Discovery, change the basic saucer design by featuring conspicuous empty spaces within the saucer; for Discovery, this involves cocentric rings that rotate when the ship spore-jumps.
    • The fact that the crew time traveled back to 20th Century Earth at least once provides some fun seeds for Epileptic Trees about the origin of flying saucers amongst human society.
    • Spoofed in Sev Trek: Pus in Boots where the saucer section is used to transport a meal of chicken drumsticks, chips, peas and crouton torpedoes, all of which fall off whenever the ship goes to warp.
    • The Romulan Bird of Prey, as featured in the original series, was a saucer with a pair of warp nacelles mounted on struts, stylized to look like a pair of wings.
    • Starfleet ship designs gradually fell away from the overt discs and ovals and into sharper designs, although the general design scheme remained the same.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) and The Outer Limits (1963) found this trope handy, both for alien and human vessels. Many times, the former used the model of C57D from Forbidden Planet for their spaceships, notably in "The Invaders" and "Death Ship". One of these is smashed in "The Invaders". Fortunately, it's a breakaway replica and not the original used in preceding shots.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In the final scene of "Cold Reading", Nelson Westbrook and the cast of Dick Noble, African Explorer believe nothing else will materialize in their radio studio as they have reached the end of the script. However, the announcer reads out a promo for the following week's episode in which Dick Noble fights invaders from Mars. A flying saucer immediately crashes into the studio.
    • In "A Day in Beaumont", Dr. Kevin Carlson and Faith witness a flying saucer crash in Willoughby, five miles outside of Beaumont. Upon investigating, they discover that it belongs to a race of Insectoid Aliens.
    • In "A Saucer of Loneliness", a small flying saucer comes to Earth in order to deliver a message to an extremely lonely human. The recipient of the message is a middle-aged woman named Margaret.
  • Most aliens in the Ultra Series pilot flying saucers unless they can fly through space.
    • Ultraman Leo's Flying Saucer Beasts (or Enban Seibutsu, literally "Living Saucers") are an entire class of kaiju able to fly through space in the form of flying saucers, and varying in appearance from the Flying Seafood Special Silver Bloome to the Teru-Teru Bōzu-based Nova to the dragon-like Black End. All of them are the servants of Commander Black and become some of Leo's most dangerous foes in the later part of the series' run.
    • Ultraman 80 has a powerful alien battleship called Robo-Fo, a robotic UFO piloted by the Fantas androids, which has a retractable Tractor Beam on it's underside and powerful cannons for self-defense. The numerous alien-based villains in the series, such as Abdolaars, Akuzone, and Alien Argon have a penchant for using Flying Saucers as their transports as well, usually to back up their monsters or to flee when things go south.
    • One of the later monsters from Ultraman: Towards the Future is simply called a UF-0, whose origins is as a half-organic, half-mechanical spaceship captured years ago by UMA from an unknown alien race that came to Earth. While it's kept and studied in a UMA lab, a rogue scientist named Nordberg intending to steal UF-0 for his own reasons ends up getting assimilated by the creature, whose interior turns out to be organic despite it's mechanical appearance.
    • The later show, Ultraman Mebius, has a Call-Back to Ultraman Leo by introducing a new member of the Saucer Beasts, the kaiju Roberuga, who is stated to be born from the destroyed remnants of the Black Planet Saucer Beasts. True to it's origin, Roberuga can shape-shift itself alternately between saucer and kaiju form, the latter which battles Ultraman Mebius at the end of the episode.
  • The Gerry and Sylvia Anderson series UFO (1970) (obviously), though they were more conical than saucer-shaped.
  • The Visitor motherships in V (1983) are saucer-shaped.

  • The Blue Öyster Cult returned to this topic repeatedly. Extraterrestrial with its theme of the Men in Black intimidating a witness; Take Me Away, about the desire to be abducted; Monsters, where humans in their own space rocket are somebody else's UFO....
  • The cover of Earth vs. The Radiators by The Radiators (US) (as well as the associated concert film) has a flying saucer approaching Earth...sporting a bumper sticker for the band.
  • T. Rex's "Planet Queen":
    "Well it's all right
    Love is what you want
    Flying saucer take me away"
  • Parliament's album Mothership Connection includes a song titled "Unfunky UFO."
  • Flying Saucer Rock and Roll, a 1957 novelty song by rockabilly artist Billy Lee Riler'
  • The Carpenters, Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft.
  • Peter Gabriel Solsbury Hill.

  • Flying saucers are everywhere on the artwork in Attack from Mars and its sequel Revenge from Mars. It's par for the course, considering its theme of an Alien Invasion in The '50s. Attack from Mars also has a plastic flying saucer in the middle up top that wobbles when the ball "attacks" it, while Revenge from Mars has its playfield's edges decorated with several smaller saucers with LEDs built into their rims.
  • Godzilla (Stern): Just like in Invasion of Astro-Monster, the Xiliens arrive to Earth in saucer-shaped spacecraft. The game's only pop bumper is also decorated to resemble one of them.
  • Lexy Lightspeed - Escape from Earth: Lexy's spaceship is a round red saucer with fins, retro rockets, and seats for two. It also doubles as a ball lock for the various multiball modes.
    Print Media 
  • This is a regular staple of World of Weirdness magazine Fortean Times, which devotes column space every month to both British and American UFO-investigators, as well as feature articles to events of more than usual interest. FT does come from a British perspective on UFO phenomena, which tends to be more pragmatic and does not automatically assume that UFO'snote  are inevitably piloted by visiting aliens.More speculative ink is given over to alternative explanations, including weather phenomena, undisclosed high-tech, or things which we simply do not, as yet, understand.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Europeans' ship of choice in Rocket Age. The saucers use Gravitic Pulse drives, making them seem to move against the laws of physics.
  • All face cards become equal in Hoyle's Rules of Dragon Poker when a player spots one.
  • A sunken flying saucer can be found as a treasure in Salvage Hidden Treasures, where it can be discarded at any time to steal a treasure from another player.

  • LEGO Space has used this spaceship design a few times — the aliens in the UFO and LEGO Alien Conquest ranges use saucer-shaped ships, as do the humans in the earlier Spyrius sets.

    Video Games 
  • Destroy All Humans! is a game about the stereotypical inhabitants of the aforementioned floating disks. Laser beams and brain eating are just extra treats.
  • One of the many odd things used as transportation by the Item World pirates in Disgaea 3.
  • City of Heroes has the Rikti, whose crashed mothership is an enormous saucer.
  • In the Everybody Edits Universe website background, there's a duck flying a saucer-shaped UFO, carrying another duck in a Tractor Beam.
  • Fate/Grand Order: The Climax Boss of Lostbelt 7, ORT, has a flying saucer floating on top of its head. The same saucer serves as its actual body, with the Giant Spider form being more of a extension of itself.
  • Final Fantasy VIII The alien Pupu has a flying saucer. You can see it as a random encounter a few times before fighting it, after which the alien Pupu starts asking Squall for 5 Elixirs after the saucer crashes.
  • Star Control II has the Ariloulaleelay, whose Skiff ship is a teleporting flying saucer.
  • The Martians in the Metal Slug series attack in several sizes of flying saucers, ranging from the tiny personal vehicles to the massive, city-sized mothership.
  • One of the Aeon experimental-class units in Supreme Commander, the Czar, is an Airborne Aircraft Carrier in the form of a flying saucer. Naturally, it has a Wave-Motion Gun in the middle. The sequel removes the carrier aspect and trades it for lots more weaker lasers and lots of little bombs. It keeps the giant middle laser, though.
  • Every single alien ship in Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers is based on old-timey alien flying saucers, given the game being a loving homage to old black-and-white B-movies.
  • Naturally, some of the alien ships in the XCOM series fall under this, as does one of the ships you can manifacture in the first game. Interestingly, in The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, the only flying saucer is of human design (reminiscent of the Avrocar but much larger). It was in development before the Outsiders even invaded, although it incorporates some elerium-derived technology and is later enhanced with recovered Outsider tech.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The Shroobs from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time invade the Mushroom Kingdom in these kinds of spaceships.
    • Also, the Starshrooms from both Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel.
    • In Super Mario 3D Land, if you use a binocular pad to look directly upwards and zoom in to the max in World 1-3, a flying saucer will fly by and disappear.
    • Super Mario Odyssey:
      • The Broodals sometimes retreat in their hats during battles and fly, making them look like UFOs.
      • There's also the boss Torkdrift in the Steam Gardens level, as well as an enemy called a Yoofoe which is clearly based on the idea.
      • A very small flying saucer appears behind the cathedral in the Moon Kingdom where it behaves like a little bird, flying away when Mario approaches. Closer inspection reveals that it is a miniature Torkdrift, with a single lily within it.
    • Mario Party 9: The Shiny Saucer is an unlockable vehicle for the Bowser Station board that resembles a stereotypical alien spaceship. The Starship Bowser has a similar look, but is designed with spikes that resemble those on Bowser's shell.
  • The enemy mother ship that attacks Katina in Star Fox 64 is a flying saucer. The whole mission is an Independence Day shout out, the saucer will destroy the Katina base with a similar Wave-Motion Gun if you fail to destroy it.
  • The Expansion Pack for Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, Yuri's Revenge, had Yuri's new third side use laser-armed flying saucers referred to as Floating Discs. General Carville lampshades this in the mission where they're introduced
    "Either it's an alien invasion, or Yuri's been watching too much TV."
  • Main vehicle of the Watchers in Dark Void.
  • Wild ARMs 3 had an Alien Invasion sidequest where you had to shoot down a bunch of these with your Transforming Mecha of a mechanical dragon.
  • Let's not forget good ol' Space Invaders, which has a saucer flying across the top of the screen every so often. Shoot it down for bonus points!
  • Antari ships in Imperium Galactica are flying saucers. Interestingly, while the Antari are indeed Grey-like, they are, in fact, descended from human colonists, like most humanoid races.
  • You'll be seeing a lot of these in Touhou Seirensen ~ Undefined Fantastic Object. It's a Shout-Out to Space Invaders.
  • There are Flying Saucers in Wheeler Acres in Backyard Baseball.
  • In some games, Kirby can transform himself into a flying saucer with the UFO copy ability. It allows Kirby to float around freely (as opposed to his normal method of flight) and shoot laser beams. The only drawback is that he is unable to go down ladders or slip through narrow floors while in this form.
    • Doc of the Squeak Squad is always shown to be piloting a UFO, given that he's the team's Gadgeteer Genius.
    • There is also a UFO enemy called Mr. UFO.
  • The Naval Ops series has a handful of flying saucers as enemies, as well as the Halberd series of aircraft that you can acquire for your own ships.
  • Flying saucers appear in The Sims 2.
  • Sword of the Stars has these in Zuul Slave Disks, the Ten Rings of the Von Neumann Berserkers and the Peacekeeper Enforcer. The former two of which are Riders that detach from larger carrier ships, and the Zuul do abduct people if several million at a time and they look nothing like Greys.
  • The racing game Re-Volt has a flying saucer as a hidden car, available only via cheats. It pretty much drives like a normal car (though its speed and other characteristics make it a Game-Breaker), but hovers a bit after leaping off ramps, sometimes flying for really long distances.
  • Flying Saucer has you fly inertia-free spaceship and abduct stuff.
  • Outlive is a game about a war between a Mega Corporation trying to take over the world with an army of robots, and a group of freedom fighters trying to take it back. Then these things show up. Cue the end credits.
  • Fallout 3: In one DLC, you get captured and sent to one that you eventually capture just as another tries to bring you down.
  • X: Players can sometimes see flying saucers (labeled as "Unknown Object") zipping about in the games. They don't interact with anything in the game, and will fly through the universe until they inevitably plow into something. The literature explains them as belonging to a Precursor race called the Sohnen, a species of Mechanical Lifeforms whom the Ancients use to interact with the world outside their presence cloud when the need arises.
  • Math Blaster: In Search of Spot: The Trash Alien flies around in a red one.
  • Zombies Ate My Neighbors: Among the rarer enemies are the Martians, who come to Earth in flying saucers. The saucers attack with arcs of electricity fired downward and can't be destroyed any way other than managing to land enough exploding soda cans in the open hatch on top.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle Games: In a linked game, Maple the witch will eventually upgrade from Flying Broomstick to Flying Vacuum Cleaner to Flying Saucer if she gathers enough Rupees from you.
  • The Miranu of Escape Velocity Override uses a saucer with about 2/5ths cut off vertically as the basis of their ship designs, but the shipyard description of their Courier class mentions that earlier generations of it were full saucers.
  • Hedgewars lets you use these as a mobility tool. They're hard to control, but they don't end your turn and can take you just about everywhere.
  • Conquest: Frontier Wars has the Oracle-class ships for the Celareons, which are their unarmed scout ships. They look like your stereotypical flying saucers, albeit tiny ones (compared to some other ships) and are capable of cloaking.
  • Spelunky features these as opponents in the ice-caves section of the game, piloted by green tentacled blobs.
  • The Proteus-Z in Space Age is a chrome saucer, as part of the game's 1940s-inspired setting.
  • Woah Dave! has these show up to move platforms around later on.
  • Terraria has the "boss" enemy of the Martian Madness event, the Martian Saucer. It flies around, firing rapid laser shots, homing missiles, as well as having a Wave-Motion Gun Death Ray that it fires downwards. It can drop the Cosmic Car Key on defeat, which allows the player to have their own flying saucer mount with infinite flight time and fast speed.
  • Machine Hunter have one of these as the boss of the rooftop stage.
  • Persona 5 has one in Futaba Sakura's persona Necronomicon.
  • Pokémon: Gigantamax Orbeetle resembles a UFO, with it having a dome-shaped form with multiple lights at the bottom with one "tractor beam" light in the middle when it Gigantamaxes. Some of its attack animations also have it darting about quickly and randomly like common depictions of flying saucer movements. It even appears to be based on a specific hoaxed "Venusian scoutcraft" photo created using a lampshade.
  • Featured several times in the Mega Man (Classic) series, with Dr. Wily's escape pod sometimes resembling a UFO. One of Wily's Robot Masters, Galaxy Man from Mega Man 9, has a top half that is built like a flying saucer. His stage also features a saucer-shaped enemy called the Adamski, named for ufologist George Adamski.
  • These make up a good number of the vehicles in Calculords; naturally they're piloted by The Greys. Most have the "Flying" ability, which grants immunity to Splash Damage, almost all Herd Hitting Attacks, and land mines. Oh, and there's a "UFO Abductor" card — it removes the weakest enemy unit from the lane it's played in. The enemy commander Uracillon, himself a Grey alien, makes extensive use of saucer units.
  • Such spacecrafts are among the numerous targets from the shooting minigame from both Wii Play and Wii Play: Motion.
  • The goal in Wii Party's minigame Saucer Snap is to photograph it. It zooms from one side of the screen to the other and the Mii with the most centered photograph wins.
  • Flying saucers with stolen Mii faces are among the numerous bizarre enemies Miis have to fight in Miitopia.
  • Earth Defense Force 5: The large alien mother ship encountered early on and its smaller laser firing attack drones are all flying saucers.
  • In the Master of Orion reboot, the Psilons use this type of design for their ships.
  • For some reason, a textbook flying disk spaceship is seen outside the burning house in Survivor: Fire.
  • EarthBound Beginnings has miniature flying saucers as somewhat common enemies. Similar "UFO" enemies appear in EarthBound, which, in keeping with the game's Alien Invasion plot, has a splash screen at the beginning depicting a 1950s American town being terrorized by flying saucers.
  • In Universe at War, the Heirarchy's basic air unit is outright called the "saucer," and they attack with plasma globes affectionately nicknamed "Foo Fighters" (a phenomenon similar to ball lightning that affects aircraft involved in UFO encounters). In the first human mission (of two, the puny earthling military faction being Dummied Out,) they even landed a bigger one on the White House lawn to talk to the president (and then shoot him)!
  • The main character of Part Time UFO is a living flying saucer. You can also unlock the Realistic UFO costume for it, giving the littly guy a more traditional appearance.
  • Into Space: UFOs become obstacles at high altitudes. The third game has those with aliens who have stolen gifts and you have to ram into them to recover gifts.
  • Get Off My Lawn (2014): A UFO spawns aliens in from far away. You can't shoot it, for some reason.
  • The plot of Disney's Hide & Sneak centers around a UFO-shaped alien named Lu-Lu crashing into Earth, and after either Mickey or Minnie get taken away by her due to unintentionally standing on her believing to be a big mushroom, the captive mouse then knocks out several UFOs out of her as they fly above the night sky, which they act as the primary enemies of the game. However, the playable mouse then proceeds to help Lu-Lu after a misunderstanding by summoning an even bigger UFO to help her get back to her home planet.
  • These show up as the craft piloted by the technologically-advanced Maians in Perfect Dark. One squadron gets shot down over Area 51 and Joanna needs to go in and rescue Elvis; he later shows up as The Cavalry in one to help when Easton's NSA attempts to hijack Air Force One to kidnap the President.
  • The Durinian ships in Asteroid 5251 are huge flying saucers.

  • Uryuoms were once shown in one of these in El Goonish Shive, while showing how The Masquerade there worked. The solution? A banner saying "We are not aliens!" For most, it's true.
  • Harbourmaster is set 2000 years after humanity began to explore the galaxy. The Veran people do build spaceships in the classic saucer shape, but it's based on an old historical design, leaving the original UFO sightings unexplained.
  • The first event of the first story in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! is a flying saucer crashing into Bob's roof.
  • Spinnerette has the Avrocar, the pinnacle of Canadian Aerospace Engineering, which turns out to be a piece of crap. It's actually based off of the actual Avrocar built by aircraft manufacturers Avro. It was also a piece of crap until someone added a heavy rubber skirt, and thus invented the hovercraft.

    Web Videos 
  • French graffiti and surreal CG artist, Barzolff created a series of videos featuring star-shaped spaceships, which resembled saucers, flying over Haiti and Dominican Republic. These videos became briefly popular due to how well-made they were.
  • The Martians get around in a standard, house-sized, black saucer in World's Greatest Adventures.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Figaro Pho, one appears in the opening for both seasons so far. In both openings, it's the first supernatural threat to appear.
  • The Great Gazoo from The Flintstones has a UFO; sometimes it's large enough to comfortably fit 1 normal-sized person, and other times he barely fits with his helmet serving as the round top.
  • Nibbler and his race in Futurama each own their own very small UFO "warmachines", which can almost contain a whole human with their Nibblonian pilot.
    • Omicronians use saucers with mechanical legs around the edge. Strangely enough, the Hubble Space Telescope has the same design.
  • In Gravity Falls, the valley in which Gravity Falls was founded was carved out by a flying saucer that crashed millions of years ago; it's also responsible for the town's distinctive cliff. The technology on board was reverse engineered to make the things in the Mystery Shack's secret basement.
  • One Harveytoons film had aliens on flying cups and saucers.
  • The Jetsons fly around in a UFO large enough to fit 4-5 characters comfortably, replacing cars as everyday transport in the future.
  • Lifted has a very large and unblemished saucer visit a lonely farm on Earth. The saucer attempts to abduct a sleeping resident from his bed using a tractor beam.
  • Looney Tunes: Marvin the Martian is often seen flying in these.
  • Molly of Denali: In "Mystery in the Night Sky," the kids think that they see a UFO. It was actually the ISS.
  • Pixar Shorts: Unidentified Flying Mater has Mater himself.
  • In Ready Jet Go!, the Propulsions have a minivan which turns into a flying saucer in space.
  • Rick and Morty: In the pilot, Rick builds a small saucer shaped vehicle out of junk in the garage. It is destroyed, seemingly for good, at the end of the fifth season. A less saucer-shaped car is made the following year to replace it.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Hondo Ohnaka's pirate gang tools around in these.
  • Transformers: The Autobot Cosmos had this as his alt-mode. As one of the few Transformers who can reach escape velocity unaided, his job was orbital recon. He considered it boring and lonely at times and often got into mischief. He once got into trouble with the U.S. government who thought he was an alien UFO, though technically he is.
    • His Japanese name, Adams, is a tribute to George Adamski. However, his alt mode has brought up a bit of Fridge Logic on the TF Wiki: where exactly did he scan his alt mode from?
      • Well, for his Movie universe counterpart it was his native Cybertronian alternate form. It's possible the same is true for his G1 incarnation.
  • The mechanical men of Muni-Mula come to Earth in a flying saucer and make off with Ruff and Reddy in their first adventure ("Planet Pirates").
  • Used as a joke in 3Below where an alien's space craft being a flying saucer is treated as being the alien equivalent of The Alleged Car.

    Real Life 
  • Surprisingly, some speculative designs for advanced shuttles resemble this. One face of the disc receives energy beamed from the ground or from a satellite, so it doesn't need to carry fuel, and, to save even more weight, instead of a physical cone for streamlining it just pushes the air out of its way with Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • There are also plans for saucer-shaped airplanes, since it's the most aerodynamic shape in existence. The only problem is the horrible maneuverability, meaning that state of the art fly-by-wire systems have to be developed for steering the crafts before anyone can even dream of flying them.
    • Early attempts at a disc-shaped aircraft with a fan for lift had difficulty getting more than a few feet off the ground. The design eventually morphed into the first hovercraft. See The Other Wiki for details on the Canadian-US Avrocar, a secret project for US military from 1950s.
  • A disc shape is actually quite useful for a spacecraft that would operate in an atmosphere. Flying edge-on, the whole craft functions as a lifting body, and it can turn much more easily than a winged aircraft. Flying flat-on, on the other hand, is great for using a large-area heat shield on your underside for reentry.
  • A more down-to-earth example: Frisbee flying discs.
  • Part of the whole Area 51 controversy was its use as a testing grounds for experimental saucer-ships. It turns out, just adding a fin on the back helps a lot.
  • It has been suggested that what Arnold actually saw were experimental aircraft designs developed by Nazi Germany and which were captured by American forces sweeping into Germany in 1945. It is known the Germans developed one form of crescent-shaped flying wing design to a high degree of air-worthiness, and what stopped it from going into Luftwaffe service in 1945 was simply that Germany collapsed too quickly. The Horten IX flying wing design was built and tested at Gottingen in West Germany — a city captured by the Americans in April 1945. In appearance a crescent shape with a rudimentary tailfin, this radical design may have been the craft seen by Kenneth Arnold over Washington. At a time when very few people had seen even the first conventional jet aircraft, this radical new configuration of jet fighter would have seemed completely alien to the observer. And the USAF would only have been too glad for people to jump to exactly the wrong conclusion — that this was extraterrestrial...
  • Some conspiracy theorists do suggest that the Germans had, or at least tried to develop, flying saucers. An example would be the peculiar Foo fighter, reported by allied pilots, resembling balls of fire that were extremely maneuverable, that would fly around allied aircraft and vanish afterwards. However, there has been no evidence solid enough to prove they actually exist, as is the case with all UFO's.
  • NGC 2683, a spiral galaxy seen almost edge-on, that has been nicknamed the UFO galaxy because of its aspect seen through a telescope.
  • The British Rail Flying Saucer, patented in The '70s, a nuclear-fusion powered interplanetary transporter. The design is utterly impractical, however cool the idea might be. The patent officer remarked that half of its components have yet to be invented in the first place.
  • The (mostly theoretical, if not outright pseudoscientific) Repulsine aircraft designed by Viktor Schauberger is saucer-shaped, because it functions by spinning two concentrically-ridged discs very fast in opposite directions (in some versions, only one disc spins, and Schauberger's own notes state that they were coated with a paste of quartz and water, implying they were partially electrified) in order to generate a vortex that the vehicle supposedly uses to fly. Some designs (made by hobbyists) include a complicated air-injection manifold on the top to bring in already-spinning air, but they look remarkably like a stereotypical UFO otherwise.
  • The Gravitron style of amusement park/carnival ride uses centrifugal force to stick riders to the walls as if by an alien force field.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Unidentified Flying Object


"Man Turns Into Scotsman"

"You're No Fun Anymore". A flying saucer visits Earth and begins turning random Englishmen (and an Englishwoman, and a section of Welsh Guards) into Scotsmen, who immediately race off for Scotland to the sound of bagpipes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / ForcedTransformation

Media sources: