The Strangest Airplanes in the World

It’s amazing what kind of aircraft can be assembled, putting enough effort, pure creativity and invested a lot of money into the project. Review of unusual designs of airplanes, helicopters and landing vehicles, from flying saucers to the “Caspian Sea Monster”. Expensive, experimental and often never leave the ground.

Remote-controlled. Since mid-1979 to January 1983 at an air base NASA conducted tests of two remotely piloted vehicles HiMAT. Each plane was about half the size of the F-16, but had almost twice the superiority in maneuverability. At transonic speed of sound at an altitude of 7500 m the machine to perform a U-turn with overdrive 8 g, for comparison, the F-16 fighter at the same altitudes an overload only 4,5 g. Upon completion of studies, both machines have been retained:


Tailless. prototype aircraft McDonell Douglas X-36, designed with one purpose: to test the ability of tailless flying aircraft. It was built in 1997 and planned by the developers could be remotely controlled from the ground:

McDonell Douglas X-36

Crooked. Ames AD-1 (AP-1 Eymes) – Pilot and the world’s first aircraft with an oblique wing Ames Research Center, and Burt Rutan. It was built in 1979 and first flew on 29 December of the same year. The tests were carried out before the beginning of 1982. During this time, the AD-1 mastered the 17 pilots. After closing the program plane was placed in the museum of the city of San Carlos, where he remains to this day:

Ames AD-1

With the rotating wings. Boeing Vertol VZ-2 – the world’s first flying machine, which uses the concept of a rotary wing, vertical / short takeoff and landing. The first flight with vertical takeoff and hovering in the air was made ??VZ-2 in the summer of 1957. After a series of successful tests VZ-2 was submitted to the Research Center of NASA in the early 60’s:

Boeing Vertol VZ-2

The largest helicopter. Due to the needs of the Soviet economy and the armed forces in the design office to them. Mil in 1959 began the study of super-heavy helicopter. August 6, 1969 by helicopter MI-12 was an absolute world record lifting – 40 tons to a height of 2,250 meters, is not broken until the present time, only the B-12 helicopter was found eight world records. In 1971, the B-12 helicopter was successfully demonstrated at the 29th International Air Show in Paris, where he was recognized as a “star” of the cabin, and later in Copenhagen and Berlin. B-12 – and lifting the heaviest helicopter ever built in the world:


A flying saucer. VZ-9-AV Avrocar – aircraft vertical takeoff and landing develop Canada’s Avro Aircraft Ltd. Development of the aircraft began in 1952 in Canada. November 12, 1959 made ??the first flight. In 1961, the project was canceled, as officially stated in connection with the impossibility of “plates” off the ground more than 1.5 meters. There were built two devices “Avrokar”:

VZ-9-AV Avrocar

Strange looking. fighter in the form of a flying wing Northrop XP-79B, powered by two jet engines, was built in 1945 by the American firm Northrop. It was assumed that he would swoop down on the enemy bombers and break them down, cutting off the tail part. September 12, 1945 the aircraft made ??the only flight that ended in disaster after 15 minutes of flight:

Northrop XP-79B

Aircraft and space vehicle. Boeing X-48 (Boeing X-48) – American experimental unmanned aerial vehicle, a joint effort of Boeing and agency NASA. The device uses a type of a flying wing. July 20, 2007, he first rose to a height of 2300 meters and landed after a 31 minute flight. X-48B was the best invention of 2007 according to the Times.

Boeing X-48

Futuristic. Another project of NASA – NASA Hyper III – plane, created in 1969:


Flying Pancake . Experimental Aircraft Vought V-173. In the 1940s, an American engineer Charles Zimmerman has created a unique aerodynamic design aircraft, which still continues to impress not only their unusual appearance, but also the flight performance. For its unique appearance, he has received numerous nicknames, among them “flying pancake.” He became one of the first devices of vertical / short takeoff and landing:

Vought V-173

Came down from heaven. HL-10 – one of the five aircraft flight-NASA research center that was used to study and test the feasibility of maneuvering and landing safely on the machine with a low aerodynamic efficiency since his return from space:


Reverse sweep. Su-47 “Golden Eagle” – a project of the Russian carrier-based fighter, developed in OKB. Sukhoi. The fighter has a swept wing in the airframe are widely used composite materials. In 1997 he built the first flying the Su-47, now it is experimental:

Su-47 "Berkut"

Striped. Grumman X-29 – the prototype aircraft with forward-swept wing design 1984 Corporation Grumman Aerospace (now – Northrop Grumman). There were built two copies upon request of the Agency for Defense Advanced Research Projects USA:

Grumman X-29

Taking off vertically. LTV XC-142 – American experimental transport aircraft vertical takeoff and landing with a rotary wing. Made its first flight 29 September 1964. Built five aircraft. The program ended in 1970. The sole surviving copy of the aircraft is in the Museum of the U.S. Air Force:

LTV XC-142

Caspian Sea Monster. “KM” (Ship layout), also known abroad as the “Caspian Sea Monster” – an experimental winged, developed in the design office RE Alekseev. WIG has a wingspan of 37.6 meters, a length of 92 m, maximum takeoff weight of 544 tons. Before the advent of the AN-225 “Mriya” it was the most difficult aircraft in the world. Testing the “Caspian Sea Monster” were held in the Caspian Sea for 15 years until 1980. In 1980, due to pilot error KM crashed, there were no casualties. After that recovery operations or construction of a new instance of the CM was conducted:

Caspian Sea Monster

Air whale. Super Guppy – transport aircraft for the transport of oversized loads. Developer – Aero Spacelines. Issued in the amount of five copies in two versions. First flight – in August 1965. The only flying “air kit” NASA owned and operated for delivery of bulk products for the ISS:

Super Guppy

Sharp-nosed. Douglas X-3 Stiletto – American experimental monoplane by “Douglas”. In October 1952, the first flight of the Douglas X-Z:

Douglas X-3 Stiletto

For flights to the moon. This descent module, built in 1963, was part of the “Apollo” with the aim of which was the first manned landing on the moon. The module is equipped with a jet engine:

This descent module, built in 1963, was part of the "Apollo"

Rotorcraft. Sikorsky S-72 – helicopter pilot. The first flight of S-72 made ??October 12, 1976. The flight of the modernized S-72 was held December 2, 1987, but after the following three operations funding has been terminated:

Sikorsky S-72

Aircraft missile. Ryan X-13A-RY Vertijet – experimental jet vertical take-off and landing, created in the U.S. in the 1950s. Developer – Ryan. The client is the U.S. Air Force. There were built two of these aircraft:

Ryan X-13A-RY Vertijet

The lunar module. Another descent module vertical take-off and landing, built in 1964, was part of the “Apollo” with the aim of which was the first manned landing on the moon.

Another descent module vertical take-off and landing, built in 1964, was part of the "Apollo" with the aim of which was the first manned landing on the Moon

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