Some very bizarre aircraft that you may have not seen before



The Caspian Sea Monster, also known as the “Kaspian Monster”, was an experimental amphibious cargo plane, developed at the design bureau of Rostislav Alexeyev in 1966.




Stipa-Caproni, an experimental Italian aircraft with a barrel-shaped fuselage (1932).  Didn’t the engineers have any sense of aesthetics?


Blohm & Voss BV 141


Blohm & Voss BV 141, a World War II German tactical reconnaissance aircraft, notable for its uncommon structural asymmetry.

This thing just looks terrible. A real mutant.




Libellula, a tandem-winged and twin-engined British experimental plane which gives the pilot an excellent view for landing on aircraft carriers (1945).


Northrop XB-35


Northrop XB-35, an experimental flying wing heavy bomber developed for the United States Army Air Forces during and shortly after World War II. Let the imagination soar. Photo: U.S. Air Force


McDonnell XF-85 Goblin


McDonnell XF-85 Goblin, an American prototype jet fighter, intended to be deployed from the bomb bay of the Convair B-36 (1948). A real eye-catcher. Photo: U.S. Air Force

Lockheed XFV


Lockheed XFV, “The Salmon,” an experimental tailsitter prototype escort fighter aircraft (1953).


De Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle flying platform


De Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle flying platform, designed to carry one soldier to reconnaissance missions (1954).

I wouldn’t want to be on a recon mission standing on top of this thing. The guy would be a sitting duck.


Snecma Flying Coleoptere (C-450)


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


Avro Canada VZ-9 Avrocar, a VTOL disk-shaped aircraft developed as part of a secret U.S. military project (1959).  This contraption had a hard time getting 2 feet (.7 meters) off the ground.


Vought V-173


Vought V-173, the “Flying Pancake”, an American experimental fighter aircraft for the United States Navy (1942). Terrible to look at.


Bartini Beriev VVA-14


Bartini Beriev VVA-14, a Soviet amphibious aircraft (1970s). This could be mistaken for a UFO.


Ames-Dryden (AD)-1 Oblique Wing, a research aircraft designed to investigate the concept of a pivoting wing (1979 – 1982).



X-36 Tailless Fighter Agility Research Aircraft, a subscale prototype jet built by McDonnell Douglas for NASA (1996 – 1997).



The Caproni Ca.60 Noviplano


The Caproni Ca.60 Noviplano was a nine-wing flying boat intended to be a prototype for a 100-passenger trans-atlantic airliner. It featured eight engines and three sets of triple wings. Two pontoons, mounted on each side, were intended to give the aircraft stability. Only one example of this aircraft was built by Caproni. The prototype only made one short flight on 4 March 1921 over Lake Maggiore in Italy. The aircraft attained an altitude of only 18 m (60 ft), then dived and crashed, breaking up on impact. The pilot escaped unscathed. Caproni had the wrecked airplane towed to shore, and announced that he would rebuild it, but that night it burned to ashes.

This is how to fly, but there is only two seats


In the compendium of complaints about air travel, we have not yet encountered “I do not have an unencumbered, horizon-to-horizon view of the entire planet.” At some point, we surmise, someone must have shared that frustration, because Windspeed Technologies has come up with a solution.

The company’s SkyDeck is a clear bubble that pokes up out of the top of an airplane. One or two passengers access this viewing dome via a staircase, or (rather showily) in an elevator. Once they are head and shoulders above the fuselage, they may rotate their seats to view some particular object — the sunset, or a constellation, or a cloud that looks a lot like a bunny. The bubble is made of the same material as the canopies of a supersonic fighter jet, and it’s a teardrop shape mounted just before the tail to have the smallest possible effect on aerodynamics. Its feasibility has been studied a thousand different ways, patents and trademarks have been applied for, and an aircraft manufacturer has begun offering it as an option on its custom builds — though there are not yet reports of orders taken.





Does the SkyDeck seem a bit… erm… over the top? Yes, but certainly that is the point. Windspeed identifies business and VIP aircraft as their primary market, where amenities like the SkyDeck make sense because airplanes made of solid gold are too heavy to fly. But the company also sees a commercial application, where, they say, “Current in-flight entertainment offerings have not changed much over the decades” (as if SkyDeck were the logical successor to seatback entertainment systems). In this bright future, airlines would charge passengers for a trip up to the SkyDeck, providing an additional revenue stream for beleaguered airlines that have not yet found enough things to charge for.

Still, it’s awesome. To merely propose cutting a hole in the top of a jet — and then actually figuring out how to make it happen — is an admirable engineering feat. And who hasn’t imagined what the view might be like the outside of a plane, rather than through the tiny windows we’re now supposed to keep shuttered so as not to interfere with the seatback entertainment systems? Given the chance, we’d certainly spend a few minutes enjoying a 360° at 36,000 feet — though we admit to having some concerns about the availability of beverage service up there.




F/A-18B Hornet jets take off in 30 – 40 knot crosswind

Two Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornet jets take off in 30 – 40 knot crosswind from Illawarra Regional Airport in Australia

Filmed at Wing Over Illawarra airshow 2014, at Illawarra Regional Airport, in New South Wales, on May 4, the following footage shows two RAAF F/A-18B Hornets taking off in strong crosswinds from the airfield located about 50 kilometers to the southeast of Sydney, Australia.

Strong crosswinds prevented the majority of aerobatic displays at WOI airshow. Nevertheless, the two Hornets were able to launch, even if sensibly shaken by the 30 – 40 knot crosswind!

Note the skid marks (or tracks left in the dust) left on the runway by two Hornets!


Canadian CF-18 Hornets use fake cockpits painted on the bottom of the jets to confuse the enemy. Photo shows bottom of aircraft.

F-18 rca

The Jet Plane that Shot Itself Down

An F11F-1 Tiger, tail number 138620, is a plane that became famous as being the first documented incident of a jet plane that shot itself down!

On September 21st, 1956, Thomas W. Attridge Jr, a Grumman test pilot, was conducting test-firing of the aircraft’s four 20mm cannon (Colt Mark-12) at around Mach 1.0, aiming for a patch of open ocean off the coast of Long Island, NY.

Starting his run at 20,000ft, Attridge entered a shallow dive at 20° nose-down. When he reached 13,000ft, he pulled the trigger for a four second cannon burst, advanced the throttle to afterburner, steepened his descent, and fired a second burst to empty the magazine belts. Whilst firing, his plane continued in the descent, passing through to 7,000ft

About a minute (and 2.7 miles) after the first volley, he was hit by the first bullets he’d fired himself!

Even though the bullets were initially travelling well over 2,000 mph (the speed of the plane plus the muzzle velocity of the cannon), they slowed down quickly due to drag. Also, Attridge’s plane continued to accelerate in afterburner fueled descent, and the cruel consequence of these coincidences was that both entities ended up occupying the same space at the same time. Unlucky!

Attridge became aware of the incident when the plane rattled, and his windshield buckled inwards, He’d been hit.

Attridge throttled back to slow down and prevent cave-in of the windshield (His thoughts were that maybe he’d had a bird strike), and attempt to fly back to Grumman’s Long Island field at 200 knots. He radioed that a gash in the outboard side of the right engine’s intake lip was the only apparent sign of damage, other than for the glass but, more worryingly, only 78 percent engine power was available without severe roughness.

Two miles out, at 1,200 ft with flaps and wheels down, it became evident from the sink rate that the runway could not be attained at this low power setting. Attridge applied power, and is quoted as saying the engine made a noise like “a Hoover vaccum cleaner picking up gravel from a rug.”

Shortly after, the engine lost power completely. He pulled up the gear and dead-sticked a landing, settling into trees, half a mile short of the runway. He gouged a path 300 feet long in the decelerating impact (losing a right wing and stabilizer in the process); fire broke out from the unburnt fuel. Despite injuries, Attridge managed to cut himself free of the plane and get far enough away from the crash. The Sikorsky S-58 helicopter dispatched to retrieve him also damaged its blades from contact with foliage during the rescue.

A post-accident investigation revealed that Attridge’s aircraft had been hit by three of the 20mm bullets he’d fired. The first penetrated his windshield, the second punctured the nose, and the third damaged the right engine intake, struck the inlet guide vanes, and lodged in the first stage compressor of the engine. This bullet was recovered and a picture of it is shown on the left.

Attridge survived the crash with a shattered leg, and three broken vertebrae. He successfully returned to flight status less than six months later, and continued on to a long and distinguished career in the aerospace industry, becoming the project manager of the LEM-3, the first lunar module rated for human flight (flown on Apollo 9), and later as VP of Grumman Ecosystems, the company’s environmental management and research venture.

Blue Angels

Interestingly, the F11F saw limited service as it was eclipsed by two more modern aircraft: F8U Crusader and F4H Phantom II. Tigers finished their service in the Naval Air Training Command and as demonstration aircraft with the Blue Angels, who flew the F11F during the period 1957-1969.

Jet Dodges Trio of Tornadoes

An amazing piece of footage from Sochi, Russia shows a passenger jet weaving around three ominous-looking tornadoes that had formed over the Black Sea.

The jaw-dropping maneuver occurred earlier this week when an astounding 12 such water spouts formed at the same time in the area.

As this was unfolding, observers on the ground were amazed to see the airliner come barreling through the sky towards three of the tornadoes.

In either a remarkable display of dexterity or simply the result of a clever camera angle, footage of the encounter shows the jet deftly avoid the water spouts as it heads toward a nearby airport.

Although the view from below was rather breathtaking, it paled in comparison to what those aboard the plane were seeing, but we’re guessing they weren’t exactly too thrilled by the sight.

There must have been some irregular bowel movements on that plane.

Russian Navy Jet Does Really Fast Low Pass

In the recent past we have published several videos showing pretty dangerous low passes: a Su-27 flying really low over a group of people after performing a low approach at an airbase in Ukraine; a Su-25 Frogfoot buzzing a group of female soldiers posing for a photograph; another one performing a low passage along a taxiway of a military airfield in northwestern Ukraine; a Mig-29 overflying pro-Russia separatist blocking rails, an Ilyushin Il-76 buzzing some Su-25s and Frogfoots returning the favor while buzzing the tower; an Mi-17 helicopter flying among the cars on a highway and another fully armed Mig-29 Fulcrum in the livery of the Ukrainian Falcons aerobatic display team flying over an apron at an airbase in Ukraine.

However, Russian Air Force and Naval Aviation pilots love flying low and be filmed in the process too. Not only with the Su-24 Fencer, the type shown buzzing cars on a highway in a video that went viral few years ago causing military prosecutors to investigate flight records and safety measures carried out at military airfields. This time with a Su-33 Flanker-D.

The Sukhoi Su-33 is an all-weather carrier-based highly maneuverable air defence fighter based on the Su-27 “Flanker” and initially known as Su-27K. It has larger (folding) wings, upgraded engines, twin nose wheel, strengthened undercarriage for blue waters ops.

The Su-33 equips the only Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and, as reported last year, a Russian Navy Su-33 Flanker carrier-based multirole aircraft crashed during flight operations from the carrier at its inaugural combat cruise in the Mediterranean Sea, to support the air strikes in Syria, on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016.

According to the report, the combat plane crashed at its second attempt to land on the aircraft carrier in good weather conditions (visibility +10 kilometers, Sea State 4, wind at 12 knots): the arresting wire snapped and failed to stop the aircraft that fell short of the bow of the warship.

The pilot successfully ejected and was picked up by a Russian Navy search and rescue helicopter.

The Chinese Shenyang J-15, equipping the refurbished ex-Soviet Kuznetsov class carrier Varyag now “Liaoning” is also extensively based on the Su-27 and Su-33.

Anyway, the following video show a Russian Navy Su-33 at some airbase in Russia, performing a couple of really low passes buzzing the cameraman. Cool footage, probably not too safe.