Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Congressman Curt Weldon and the Flying Saucer

Thanks to Wonkette for drawing our attention to this story. It seems that Curt Weldon's daughter was representing a Russian company that made Flying Saucers. I'm not kidding.

From the LA Times:

Karen Weldon, an inexperienced 29-year-old lobbyist from suburban Philadelphia, seemed an unlikely choice for clients seeking global public relations services.
Despite a lack of professional credentials, she had one notable asset -- her father, U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), who is a leading voice in Washington on former Eastern Bloc affairs.
After a Russian aerospace manufacturer hired Karen Weldon's firm for $20,000 a month plus 10% of any new business it generated, Rep. Weldon pitched the company's saucer-shaped drone to the U.S. Navy, which signed a letter of intent to invest in the technology. And Weldon, who chairs a subcommittee that oversees $60 billion in military acquisitions, has been working to get funding for the project, Navy officials say.
MosNews describes the device:

The ’saucer’ was invented in the late 1970s. The constructors joined a fuselage and wings into one thick “wing”, before trimming and rounding its edges. The saucer can lift more than half its weight, and its inner volume is 8-10 times bigger than the saloon of the plane it was made from.
A description of the Weldon's relationship with the saucer-making company in Harpers:

Another one of Karen's clients is Saratov, a Russian aviation firm which sought to sell a drone it described as a “flying saucer.” A Saratov official recalled hearing from Rep. Weldon “quite unexpectedly” in early January 2003. Weldon, said the official, expressed “an acute interest” in the flying saucer. The congressman visited Saratov's plant later that month, accompanied by his daughter, and in short order the firm retained Karen Weldon's services.

After the Weldons returned from Russia, the congressman worked hard to jumpstart a saucer deal between Saratov and the Naval Air Systems Command, or NAVAIR, which is based near Washington. John Fischer, NAVAIR's director of research and engineering sciences, later credited Congressman Weldon with bringing Saratov to NAVAIR 's attention, calling him “a very proactive member of Congress.”


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