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).
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Vought V-173, the “Flying Pancake”, an American experimental fighter aircraft for the United States Navy (1942).
Blohm & Voss BV 141, a World War II German tactical reconnaissance aircraft, notable for its uncommon structural asymmetry.
Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster, an experimental bomber aircraft, designed to have a very high top speed (1944).
Libellula, a tandem-winged and twin-engined British experimental plane which gives the pilot an excellent view for landing on aircraft carriers (1945).
North American XF-82. Stitch together two P-51 Mustangs, and you get this long-range escort fighter (1946).
Northrop XB-35, an experimental flying wing heavy bomber developed for the United States Army Air Forces during and shortly after World War II.
McDonnell XF-85 Goblin, an American prototype jet fighter, intended to be deployed from the bomb bay of the Convair B-36 (1948).
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).
Douglas X-3 Stiletto, built to investigate the design features necessary for an aircraft to sustain supersonic speeds (1953 – 1956)
Lockheed XFV, “The Salmon,” an experimental tailsitter prototype escort fighter aircraft (1953).
De Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle flying platform, designed to carry one soldier to reconnaissance missions (1954).
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).
Avro Canada VZ-9 Avrocar, a VTOL disk-shaped aircraft developed as part of a secret U.S. military project (1959)
HL-10, one of five aircraft built in the Lifting Body Research Program of NASA (1966 – 1970).
Dornier Do 31, a West German experimental VTOL tactical support transport aircraft (1967).
Alexander Lippisch’s Aerodyne, a wingless experimental aircraft. The propulsion was generated by two co-axial shrouded propellers (1968).
Photo: Flying Magazine, Apr 1960
Hyper III, a full scale lifting body remotely piloted vehicle, built at the NASA Flight Research Center in 1969.
Bartini Beriev VVA-14, a Soviet vertical take-off amphibious aircraft (1970s)
Ames-Dryden (AD)-1 Oblique Wing, a research aircraft designed to investigate the concept of a pivoting wing (1979 – 1982).
B377PG – NASA’s Super Guppy Turbine cargo plane, first flew in its outsized form in 1980.
X-29 forward swept wing jet plane, flown by the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, as a technology demonstrator (1984 – 1992).
X-36 Tailless Fighter Agility Research Aircraft, a subscale prototype jet built by McDonnell Douglas for NASA (1996 – 1997).
Beriev Be-200 Seaplane, a Russian multipurpose amphibious aircraft (1998).
Proteus, a tandem-wing, twin-engine research aircraft, built by Scaled Composites in 1998.
What is your favourite weird aircraft? Tell us!