Top 10 weirdest aircraft designs


While plenty of airplanes are designed primary focusing on functionality and safety, there is another category of experimental aircrafts which fascinates also with the weird and extraordinary design. Most of these aircrafts have developed just from a simple sketch to something that really flies and proves some principles of aerodynamics science. Enjoy watching and admiring the weirdest-looking aircrafts of all time.

1. Stipa-Caproni “The Flying Barrel”

An experimental Italian aircraft with a barrel-shaped fuselage was designed by Luigi Stipa and built by the Caproni factory in Italy. After its first flight in 1932, the airplane became the first ducted fan aircraft in the world. Unusual design provided stability, but an enormous size fuselage created so much additional drag.


2. Vought V-173 “The Flying Pancake”

The aircraft was built on the World War II period in 1942 for the US Navy as it was an increased need for ship-borne planes that could take off from short runways. After its testing flights there were many reports about flying saucers received. The compact design – the body serves as wings – makes this aircraft structurally strong and manoeuvrable. Vought V-173 was restored by retired employees of Vought and at the moment it is exhibited at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas Texas.


3. NASA AD-1

The airplane was designed by Burt Rutan and built by Ames Industrial Co in 1979. This kind of aircraft design was developed to investigate the concept of pivoting wing. The aircraft with its straight and oblique wing could pivot its entire wingspan from zero to 60 degrees during the flight.


4. Avro VZ9 Avrocar

This flying saucer was built in 1958 for the US Air Force as part of a secret U.S. military project. The aircraft intended to be a saucer-shaped fighter jet, but it turned out to be slow and unstable and could hover only a few feet off the ground. Therefore the project was canceled in 1961.


5. B377PG “The Pregnant Guppy”

This surprisingly oversized aircraft was the first in its series of super-sized cargo planes, used by NASA. Its first flight took place in 1962. “The Pregnant Guppy” was specially designed for NASA to carry the components of the Apollo moon mission. Since the model was successful, Aero Spacelines was asked to release four bigger versions, which were called Super Guppies.


6. Northrop Tacit Blue “The Whale”

This experimental stealth aircraft was built to test the advantages in stealth technology. Its first flight occurred in 1982. The design of “The Whale” made it stealthy and curvy at the same time. Special feature – the aircraft could operate close to the line of battle with a high degree of survivability. After eleven years hidden in a secret bunker, the Tacit Blue was finally reveled to the public in 1996.


7. Alexander Lippisch’s Aerodyne

This aircraft is one of the most interesting experiments of a German aerodynamics engineer – Alexander Lippsich. The airplane reached the sky in 1972 for first time. The aircraft was capable to achieve supersonic speed, but its most important uniqueness is that the lift and propulsion was generated by two co-axial shrouded propellers.


8. McDonnell XF-85 Goblin “Parasite Fighter”

This American prototype jet fighter was built soon after the World War II, in 1948. It was designed to be deployed from the bomb bay of the Convair B-36. Due to this mission the aircraft had unusual design – 36-degree swept wings and X-shaped tail.


9. Scaled Composites Proteus

The research aircraft was built by Burt Rutan in 1998 and it is still in service. A tandem-wing, twin-engine plane could carry a lot of payloads. Proteus was designed in case to investigate utilization of aircrafts as high altitude telecommunications relay.


10. De Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle

It is probably one of the weirdest aircraft designs of all time. The flying platform was designed in 1954 to carry one soldier to reconnaissance missions. The idea of function and design was unique, but after a pair of crashes it was dismissed.



I believe you enjoyed exploring these ten weird and unusual design aircrafts!


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