When you think of a plane, you likely think of the standard passenger jet with a long tubular body and twin engines. After all, people fly on these things every day, so they aren’t that strange. But what about a plane with nine wings or no tail? That paints a rather funny image – but they do exist. In fact, over the last several decades we’ve built some rather bizarre aircraft that, while they look like they shouldn’t fly, actually did.
1. Northrop–Grumman B-2
This US stealth bomber has been around since the 1990’s so to a lot of people it isn’t bizarre at all. When you think about it, however, the B-2 looks like a plane that shouldn’t be able to fly. After all, it looks nothing like any other plane in the world it has no fuselage and no tail or rudder. In actuality, the B-2 is the result of decades of research with flying wings. Thanks to computers helping the pilots, the plane can stay stable in flight even though it doesn’t look like it should be able to.
2. Dornier 335
The German Luftwaffe designed some pretty strange looking aircraft before and during the Second World War. A definite Head-Turner was the Dornier 335, the fastest Piston-Engine plane of the War. Dubbed the arrow, this plane just looked strange, to begin with. Add in the front, and rear engines and the 335 stood out next to the other more conventional looking planes of that time. Not finished there, the Dornier went a step further when they introduced a two-person version which added a second cockpit to the fuselage.
3. Aero Spacelines Super Guppy
Well, this picture screams Photoshopped-but it’s not. What you are seeing is known as the super guppy. In the 1960s, Organizations like NASA needed planes to carry Rocket-Related parts all over the place. The problem is, sometimes this stuff could be pretty big. The solution was found in taking a Boeing military transport plane, slapping on some more powerful engines and giving it a ridiculous looking Balloon-Like fuselage. What you had was this super Guppy-A plane that looks like it should crash immediately after any takeoff attempt. But it doesn’t. One of these planes is still active with NASA.
4. Blohm and Voss 141
Looking at the Blohm and Voss 141 you may wonder where the rest of the plane is. Well, that’s it. The German engineers who designed the 141 clearly throughout the Playbook on symmetrical design. A result is a plane that is the part engine and part fuselage and a bit Mind-Boggling to look at. Surprisingly, this reconnaissance plane flew very well and even outperformed other more ‘Normal’ looking Aircraft. Nonetheless, we can only imagine what the first pilots thought when they were told they had to fly one of these.
5. McDonnell XF-85
During the early Cold War, American planners thought about possible ways to protect their bombers should they ever have to fly to the Soviet Union. One response was the McDonnell XF-85, a fighter that was small enough to be carried by a bomber. Small and ugly, it’s fitting that this plane was dubbed ‘The Goblin.’ After all, it had a stubby fuselage, short little wings and instead of a bizarre tale. Amazingly it flew-well just not well enough for the military to consider it as a worthwhile project.
6. Airbus Beluga
Everybody knows Airbus as the company that built the fully Double-Decker 380 passenger liner. But did you know that years before they had an even more large plane? It turns out they needed a massive plane to transport the parts of other planes all around Europe. The answer was the Airbus A300-600ST AKA the Beluga. In addition to looking like it’s eat in three different aircraft, the beluga doesn’t look like it has the aerodynamics to fly. Even though it seems ridiculous, this thing flies very well and has been for over 20 years.
Technically this isn’t a real plane, but since it does look so strange and does lift off the surface as well, we’ll let it slide. The MD-160 is one strange-looking vehicle known as an Ekranoplan. Part plane and part warship, this thing uses ground effects to lift itself off of the water by up to four meters. It’s eight engines are mounted the front and missile launchers on its back make it deserving of the nickname the “Caspian Sea Monster.” It isn’t in service with Russia anymore, but rumors are they are developing a newer version.
8. Vought V-173
Sporting a flat, Disc-Shaped body with no conventional wings, it’s easy to see why the Vaught V-173 was dubbed the ‘Flying Pancake.’ Built and tested during the Second World War, this strange looking plane is proof that people were willing to design and fly pretty much anything that they could think up. This Flapjack, however, fell flat on the floor once everyone figured out the future was the Jet-Engine fighter. Actually, the more you look at it the V-173 does look like some alien craft. That probably explains the spike in UFO sightings in the US in the late 1940’s.
Just looking at this thing it is incredible that someone volunteered to be the test pilot. This Stipa-Caproni was an experimental plane developed in Italy in the 1930’s. Compared to other planes it looked pretty ridiculous thanks to the fact that the engine was built into a hollow fuselage. Looking more like a toy a child would play with, incredibly this barrel flew. That said we guess we can’t make that much fun of it considering most jets from the 1950’s use the design principles from the Stipa-Caproni with great success.
10. Caproni CA.60
A Ridicules Photoshop job or the work of a child’s Over-Active imagination? When you see the Caproni CA.60, it just looks utterly ridiculous. This thing was, and it did fly. The CA.60 was built in the 1920’s as part of a project to make a substantial flying boat that could transport 100 people across the Atlantic Ocean. With a large fuselage that sat in the water, designers knew it needed the severe lift to work. Their answer came in the form of Nine wings and Eight Engines. The result was a plane that looks fragile and unlikely to fly; it flew twice, although on the second attempt it crashed. That pretty much ended the story of the CA.60.