Here's a quirky find from the National Archives: the United States Air Force's 1956 plan to build a saucer-shaped aircraft that would zip across the skies with the greatest of ease. As the Archives explain of "Project 1794, Final Development Summary Report":

The Air Force had contracted the work out to a Canadian company, Avro Aircraft Limited in Ontario, to construct the disk-shaped craft. According to the same report, it was designed to be a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plane designed to reach a top speed of Mach 4, with a ceiling of over 100,000 feet, and a range of over 1,000 nautical miles.

And how much would this entire enterprise cost? From Project 1794:

Development and production aspects are briefly reviewed and an outline new program broader in scope than the study now completed is presented (to dovetail with the development envisaged), together with an accompanying cost estimate. This estimate covers a period of 18 to 24 months in the total amount of $3,168,000.

You can read more at the National Archives. It must be noted that — even in the public sphere of the 1950s — flying saucers were touted as the next great innovation in commuter transportation.

[Via It's Okay To Be Smart]