ANDREAS EPP (1914 - 1997)


In 1939, Josef “Andreas” Epp designed a radical rotor/jet powered aircraft he named the “Helioplane”. But this design could not be pursued due to the early development phase of the German turbojets of Heinkel, BMW, and Junkers.Epp meanwhile continued trying to develop a more pure flight disc when he learned that similar projects were already underway in much of the Reich. Epp traveled to Prague where BMW was testing out their small-scale disc-fan Flügelrad (Winged Wheel) jet auto-gyros which utilized the company’s BMW 003 series engine with a Strahlrohr (Jet Pipe) deflector system to divert engine thrust up to the spinning rotor blades, a combination rotor-jet idea that originated with Rudolf Schriever`s 1941 Flügelrad.

Epp therefore designed by 1943 his Omega Diskus which combined ducted fan technology with two free-spinning rotors propelled by Pabst ramjets being developed for the FW Triebflügel (Thrust Wing) and utilizing the increasing lifting of the "Coanda Effect" The Omega Diskus consisted of a circular cockpit 4 meters in diameter surrounded by a disc wing of 19 meters diameter. The wing supported eight ducted lift fans of 80 hp each. The engines were held in place by eight conical pipes of 3 meters diameter.

The support for the main rotor was on the axis of the disc. The rotor had two blades to which were attached the Pabst ramjets at their tips with a spin diameter of 22 meters. Reversing the pitch of the blades in the auxiliary engines, the rotor accelerated, expelling a strong air stream upward. The ramjets started at 220 rpm and the pilot changed the pitch of the auxiliary engines and rotor, gaining enough lift for safe take-off.The main rotor was of an auto-gyro type and did not cause any conflicting forces. Unlike a helicopter, the rotor was not articulated but fixed to a rigid mounting, like the propeller of a conventional piston-engine fighter..

Above: Andreas Epp, 1957.

An alternate acceleration of the auxiliary engines inclined the disc in the desired direction. This changed the lifting plane of the main rotor and therefore flight direction. If one of the auxiliary engines eventually stopped, the disc kept enough control to fly on. If a ramjet stopped, the feed to the fuel to the other one was automatically cut off with the pilot starting an autorotation sequence to attempt landing.

The existing photos of the Omega Diskus are of four 1/10th scale models built strictly for aerodynamic testing No full scale aircraft prototype was ever built and Epp, who was rumored to have worked on various other disc projects, sadly did not.

Postwar Epp couldn’t interest the Western Allies in the Omega so he went to work for the Soviets who actually built a craft similar to it in East Germany. But that venture turned out to be a waste of time as the Soviets would not allow the East Germans to build any type of aircraft, military or civilian.

The returning Junkers team that had built a series of EF projects in the U.S.S.R. found that out the hard way when they tried to adapt the EF-150 bomber into the Baade 152 jet airliner. The Soviets shut the program down.

Epp had also tried to persuade the Soviets to develop a larger disc that might serve as a long range remote-

controlled weapon which was postwar claimed to be the mystery Spitzberge UFO spotted by Norwegian jets in 1952 with a diameter of 150 ft with a ball Plexiglas dome and interior remote instruments with Russian writing. It was supposed to be powered by 46 jets running around its circular rim. But this incident (and the similar Helgoland one) are considered to be hoaxes and are not to be taken seriously. Epp DID propose such a craft to the Soviets but there is no proof it was ever built. Neither did Epp have anything to do with reports of involvement with the German V-7 weapon which was also claimed postwar to have been turned into a remote-controlled machine launched from Rechlin and crashing in Spitzbergen during the war (discovered in 1946)!

Epp was devastated and returned to the US where he reported the details of his Prima Disk to Allied Air

Intelligence teams. By 1956 Epp had patented his propulsion system and offered it to the USAF for manufacturing. He was turned down again even as he patented the entire craft by 1958 which would have been crewed by ten men. The USAF and Army researched the idea but decided instead to participate in the Avrocar fiasco which was meant to deceive the Soviets of the true nature of AVRO Canada’s sixteen German-based disc design programs headed by Dr. Richard Miethe who had built a radical Flugscheibe (Flight Disc) based on the Schauberger vortex technology which flew in April 1944. Miethe was also the one who had designed the mysterious V-7 which was actually the "Elektrische Luftturbine which burned air and nitrogen with the addition of helium injection for thrust augmentation.

Andreas Epp

In the end, Epp had been rejected by the Nazis, the Soviets, and the Americans.

(Report by. R. Arndt)