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Set during the Cold War period, the then-president rented five (5) flying saucers from the extraterrestrial aliens and a few training exercises were conducted in the air space above Roswell. My father was a young US Air Force lieutenant and mentioned he had crashed landed one of the saucers during training, leading to his court martial.

Unfortunately, he never told me anything about the saucer except that the chassis rotates at high speed and is powered by an antimatter propulsion engine. I want to know why flying saucers have to spin during flight.

There aren't rotary blades to generate lift inside the atmosphere and it is a complete vacuum in space, kindly use magic sparingly and no FTL tech.

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    $\begingroup$ A gap in your narrative, if there are only five saucers, why would a lieutenant get to fly it? Wouldn't majors and colonels grab the few available seats? $\endgroup$ – o.m. Mar 7 at 7:00
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    $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra Not completely unusual. Poul Anderson's After Doomsday (1962) has aliens providing FTL starships to contemporary humans for our use. As for explaining how the saucers, perhaps not. They might explain how to fly them. If we knew how they worked we might make our own and ruin the flying saucer rental market. $\endgroup$ – a4android Mar 7 at 8:43
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    $\begingroup$ Your father may have been stretching reality a bit. $\endgroup$ – Kilisi Mar 7 at 9:02
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    $\begingroup$ @o.m. the first two pilots ended up as scrambled eggs against the wall of the spinning ships. After that, the higher brass was happy to let someone else take the wheel. $\endgroup$ – SRM Mar 8 at 1:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Zxyrra Not necessarily: if they tell us too much, we might be able to build our own instead of having to rent them from the aliens... They may just tell us "this makes it go, this makes it stop, these control the direction, call us if it needs maintenance - would you like to purchase the extended warranty?" $\endgroup$ – Chronocidal Mar 9 at 12:04
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Stabilization by gyroscopic effect, plain and simple.

A gyroscope (from Ancient Greek γῦρος gûros, "circle" and σκοπέω skopéō, "to look") is a device used for measuring or maintaining orientation and angular velocity.

Any space probe we have sent into space use rotation for the very same reason.

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  • $\begingroup$ I know the maths and the physics for how they work, but gyroscopes are still freaky. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Mar 7 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ Same reason a Frisbee flops when you toss it, but flies when you throw it with a good spin. $\endgroup$ – Plutian Mar 7 at 14:46
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To create Artificial Gravity.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_gravity

These ships do years-long missions in space, and months in microgravity is just unhealthy.

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What L.Dutch said, plus whatever process is making the hull rotate is making it act like a turbine from a wind or hydro power plant. From a certain point of view, the whole outside of the ship is an alternator. That supplies the ship with electricity. No spin = no power = no avionics (and possibly no juice for the thrusters too).

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