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 centre 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 centre, 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 in the comments!