They also fly! From pancake to salmon - Naked Science's 10 most incredible planes.
The appearance of the plane - an elongated fuselage, a pair of wings, a tail - seems as familiar, unchanging and even familiar, like the silhouette of a cat or dog. However, from time to time, aircraft designers come up with very unexpected ideas and projects. Only a few of them are embodied in reality, and a few are lifted into the air. But if this happens, the effect remains for a long time.
The Blohm & Voss BV 141 reconnaissance aircraft, developed in the Third Reich, was produced in several dozen copies and received mixed reviews from pilots and designers. The crew was located in the gondola on the right, and the tail unit shifted to the left gave the gunner a better view.
Experimental vertical takeoff and landing fighter Vought V-173 was created by order of the American Navy during the Second World War. It was planned that such aircraft could give an effective air wing to sea convoys, which could not be covered by full-fledged aircraft carriers. However, the development was faced with such difficulties that the war ended before such a device was brought to mind.
The original design, as conceived by British engineers, could allow a decrease in the wingspan by increasing their number. However, the prototype of the M.39B Libellula carrier-based bomber, named after the genus of dragonflies, the famous flight aces, did not demonstrate the proper abilities. The idea of a four-winged apparatus had to be abandoned.
The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin jet fighter, developed in the United States in the late 1940s, had to not only move, but also be based in the air, aboard the Convair B-36 heavy bomber. The prototype became perhaps the smallest fighter in history? and, alas, did not go into the series, but earned the insulting nickname "Flying Egg" from the pilots.
The Lockheed XFV developers solved the old problem of vertical take-off and landing radically: the experimental turboprop fighter went into a horizontal position only in the air, and on the deck (it was planned that the aircraft would be based on non-aircraft-carrying ships) it remained on its powerful tail. No wonder he got the nickname "Salmon". Despite initially successful trials, the program was phased out in 1954.
5. Round beetle
The experimental French Snecma Coleoptere (C-450) is another insect representative: its name simply means "beetle". A single vehicle with a turbojet engine was created in the late 1950s and was supposed to accommodate one pilot, rise and land vertically. Unfortunately, this is all that the "beetle" was capable of - its flight was so unstable that there was no point in continuing to work in this direction.
The oblique wing of the experimental aircraft Ames-Dryden-1 became only temporarily: in 1979-1982, this strange device was created at NASA to study the possibilities and prospects of the "rotary asymmetrically variable wing sweep" arrangement. Certain aerodynamic advantages of such a scheme, indeed, were found, but the disadvantages, apparently, outweighed them, and the project was closed. By the way, the famous designer Burt Rutan, the developer of modern stratospheric vehicles SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo, participated in the work on the AD-1.
By and large, the M2-F1 device should be called simply a glider of a strange design: it did not have not only wings, but also an engine. This tiny and lightweight aircraft was created in the early 1960s to test technologies related to the aerodynamics of a "monocoque" design. The device simply clung to a full-fledged plane with a cable - and rushed after it. Unlike our other heroes, he cost the developers literally a penny - only 30 thousand.dollars.
Aero Spacelines Super Guppy is neither tiny nor cheap. This transport aircraft, created on the basis of the Boeing C-97, is capable of lifting up to 25 tons and carrying them over a distance of more than 3000 km. Released in only five copies, it is designed to transport oversized cargo, and one of them continues to remain in operation to this day - it allows the delivery of large-sized elements of the ISS from factories to a cosmodrome in Florida.
One description of the capabilities that the designers gave to their monstrous brainchild is impressive: vertical take-off and landing, amphibian, ekranolet … VVA-14 by the Soviet-Italian designer Robert Bartini took off in 1972 and was also supposed to have a very impressive carrying capacity. Alas, the project turned out to be too ambitious: only one of the two produced copies has survived to this day and quietly lives out its days in the aviation museum in Monino, Moscow Region.