Like a scene straight from a 1950s sci-fi movie, a far-flung hangar in the NSW Hunter Valley is home to a bizarre aircraft its designer says could revolutionise air travel worldwide. Inventor Duan Phillips calls his 5.5m-diameter creation the "lift activator disc", and reckons it could be both faster and safer than a helicopter and easier to land than a plane. The built-from-scratch prototype has been more than 15 years in the making — a frisbee-like assemblage of fibreglass and Kevlar, wires and buttons, and a fat Volkswagen engine bolted onto the back. Not quite the cosmic UFO propulsion imagined by sci-fi fans perhaps, but almost enough to get this flying saucer spinning. Mr Phillips, an 86-year-old retired engineer, admitted yesterday the engine needed "a bit" of an upgrade to get his aircraft off the ground, but he said that a scale model (which sadly crashed into the hangar soon after its maiden takeoff) proved the concept could work. The LAD would fly via horizontal blades spinning rapidly within a central chamber, forcing air downwards and over the disc's "wing". The flow of air would also spin the wing's outer section to create gyroscopic stability, while a jet or propeller and rudder at the back of the aircraft provide forward thrust and steering. Crew and passengers would ride on a separate, non-spinning section at the top of the saucer. More pictures via dailytelegraph.com.au.