25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly

By Attila Nagy on at

Aerospace engineers have come up with some revolutionary forward-thinking amazing straight-up insane designs. Sometimes these dreams never make it off the drawing board, but sometimes—some wonderful times—they become real. And when these alien bodies lift off into the firmament, it's like watching a spaceship transporting the human race directly into the future. Check these amazing planes out:

Stipa-Caproni, an experimental Italian aircraft with a barrel-shaped fuselage (1932).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Vought V-173, the "Flying Pancake", an American experimental fighter aircraft for the United States Navy (1942).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: San Diego Air & Space Museum/Scribd


Blohm & Voss BV 141, a World War II German tactical reconnaissance aircraft, notable for its uncommon structural asymmetry.

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: wwiiaircraftphotos.com


Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster, an experimental bomber aircraft, designed to have a very high top speed (1944).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: U.S. Air Force


Libellula, a tandem-winged and twin-engined British experimental plane which gives the pilot an excellent view for landing on aircraft carriers (1945).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images


North American XF-82. Stitch together two P-51 Mustangs, and you get this long-range escort fighter (1946).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: U.S. Air Force


Northrop XB-35, an experimental flying wing heavy bomber developed for the United States Army Air Forces during and shortly after World War II.

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: U.S. Air Force


McDonnell XF-85 Goblin, an American prototype jet fighter, intended to be deployed from the bomb bay of the Convair B-36 (1948).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: U.S. Air Force


Martin XB-51, an American "tri-jet" ground attack aircraft. Note the unorthodox design: one engine at the tail, and two underneath the forward fuselage in pods (1949).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: U.S. Air Force


Douglas X-3 Stiletto, built to investigate the design features necessary for an aircraft to sustain supersonic speeds (1953 - 1956)

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: NASA/DFRC


Lockheed XFV, "The Salmon," an experimental tailsitter prototype escort fighter aircraft (1953).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: U.S. Air Force


De Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle flying platform, designed to carry one soldier to reconnaissance missions (1954).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: U.S. Army/army.arch


Snecma Flying Coleoptere (C-450), a French experimental, annular wing aeroplane, propulsed by a turbo-reactor, able to take off and land vertically (1958).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: Keystone/Getty Images


Avro Canada VZ-9 Avrocar, a VTOL disk-shaped aircraft developed as part of a secret U.S. military project (1959)

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: William "Bill" Zuk/Wikimedia Commons


HL-10, one of five aircraft built in the Lifting Body Research Program of NASA (1966 - 1970).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: NASA/DFRC


Dornier Do 31, a West German experimental VTOL tactical support transport aircraft (1967).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: amphalon


Alexander Lippisch's Aerodyne, a wingless experimental aircraft. The propulsion was generated by two co-axial shrouded propellers (1968).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: Flying Magazine, Apr 1960


Hyper III, a full scale lifting body remotely piloted vehicle, built at the NASA Flight Research Center in 1969.

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: NASA/DFRC


Bartini Beriev VVA-14, a Soviet vertical take-off amphibious aircraft (1970s)

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: Alex Beltyukov/Wikimedia Commons


Ames-Dryden (AD)-1 Oblique Wing, a research aircraft designed to investigate the concept of a pivoting wing (1979 - 1982).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: NASA/DFRC


B377PG - NASA's Super Guppy Turbine cargo plane, first flew in its outsized form in 1980.

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: NASA/DFRC


X-29 forward swept wing jet plane, flown by the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, as a technology demonstrator (1984 - 1992).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: NASA/DFRC


X-36 Tailless Fighter Agility Research Aircraft, a subscale prototype jet built by McDonnell Douglas for NASA (1996 - 1997).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: NASA/DFRC


Beriev Be-200 Seaplane, a Russian multipurpose amphibious aircraft (1998).

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: amphalon


Proteus, a tandem-wing, twin-engine research aircraft, built by Scaled Composites in 1998.

25 Bizarre Aircraft That Don't Look Like They Should Fly Photo: NASA/DFRC


What is your favourite weird aircraft? Tell us!