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10 Weird Aircraft You Won’t Believe Actually Took Flight

The HZ-1 Aerocycle, Source: U.S. Army Transportation Museum

We can all easily get on an aircraft within a few hours at the least, flying wherever we want in the world as far as money will allow. Aircrafts, besides trains, are some of the older institutions of the capitalist system we spend our lives immersed in – so it therefore is very easy to forget that airplanes are only a little over a century old. The Wright Brothers set in flight 102 years ago and over the last 100 years, a great deal of experimentation has occurred, sometimes going in some very esoteric and strange places, and continues as man continues to experiment with how it relates to the larger world.

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Some aviation achievements went on to become the standard while other distinctly strange projects, like the Italian Stipa Caproni, were largely forgotten to history, and others, like Howard Hughes’ infamous Hercules, stood as a testament to the absurdity of entrepreneurship. Let’s take a look at ten of the most distinct bizarre and strange projects of the past century.

1. The Aerodyne

The Aerodyne
The Aerodyne,  Image source: Flight Global(taken from)

The Aerodyne was by far one of the more strange flying machines ever developed. It was developed by Alexander Lippisch, a refugee of Nazi Germany who, like many German refugees, helped the United States to win both the second world war and the Cold War. The Aerodyne physically looked a bit like a speaker or amplifier and maintained two simultaneous co-axial propellers in order to generate lift and propulsion.(source)

2. The Rotary Rocket

The Rotary Rocket
Image source: www.laesieworks.com
Flying Rotary Rocket
Image source: www.laesieworks.com

The Rotary Rocket is by far one of the more strange contraption ever created in the aviation world. Shaped a bit like a thimble, it is topped by four large diameter rotor blades at the top and “liquid propellant rocket engines” placed strategically at the tips of each blade.(source)

3. The Domicopter

The Domicopter
The Domino’s Pizza “DomiCopter,” Image Source: Domino’s Pizza UK(taken from)

In 2013, the world was introduced to the “DomiCopter,” a very strange creation designed to remotely drop Domino’s pizza orders for customers, no driver needed besides those controlling the device from a Domino’s franchise. An article on the phenomenon by U.S. News and World Report cited Chris Brandon, a Domino’s representative, attesting that the creation of the DomiCopter was the U.K. branch of Domino’s and that, for many reasons – most notably that the Federal Aviaton Administration still has not legalized the domestic use of drones even if they are used in warfare by the president, it is unlikely that pizza will be dropping out of the sky any time soon.(source)

4. The H-Z 1 Aerocycle

The HZ-1 Aerocycle
The HZ-1 Aerocycle, Source: U.S. Army Transportation Museum

According to historical reports on it, the HZ-1 Aerocycle was designed with high aspirations. At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, it was designed by de Lackner Helicopters with the intention of becoming a standard reconnaissance machine for the United States Army. While all airplanes have a nasty potential of disaster, the Aerocycle seems both obviously and frighteningly dangerous. Its failure to succeed in becoming a standard use reconnaissance machine may be directed at pilots who may have been a bit nervous about flying an unprotected, experimental aircraft in which they are located directly above rapidly moving metal blades.(source)

Also se: 9 Bizarre Conspiracy Theories About The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

5. The Hughes H-4 Hercules

The Hughes H-4 Hercules
The Hughes H-4 Hercules, Image Source: Evergreen Aviation Museum(taken from)

The technical name of the “Spruce Goose” is the Hughes H-4 Hercules. It was developed by Howard Hughes, a legendary man whose life legacy ranged from innovation in filmmaking to aviation to personal madness. Co-designed with Henry J. Kaiser, the plane weighed an incredible 300,000 tons and was intended to provide transatlantic transport for the U.S. military during World War II. Unfortunately, it never was completed on time for that use and become more of a seemly pet project of Hughes, with the ridiculous size of it eventually used against Hughes in congressional hearings led by Republican Senator Owen Brewster aimed at portraying Howard Hughes as a war profiteer who siphoned $40 million from the Defense Department to design the H-4. In the 2004 film by Martin Scorcese, Brewster, portrayed by Alan Aida, is portrayed as creating the term “Spruce Goose” while publicly mocking Hughes, played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The H-4 indeed had little practical use and illustrated much more deftly the grandiosity and absurdity of Howard Hughes more than actual utility as an aircraft.(source)

6. The Stipa Caproni

The Stipa Caproni
The Stipa Caproni, Image Source: flickr(QV AG)

By far the goofiest of all the aviation accomplishments cited today, the Stipa-Caproni had a hollow, barrel-shaped fuselage, with the entire interior of the fuselage being a gigantic fan. This gave it a strange, almost Looney Tunes appearance. Developed at the height of Mussolini’s Italy and just as the world had been hit with economic depression and on the road to World War II, the Caproni, despite its cartoonish appearance, may have been designed with the hopes of having a military advantage.(source)

7. The Kaman K-16

The Kaman K-16
The Kaman K-16, Image source: www.up-ship.com

The Kaman K-16 was developed in 1954 by Kaman Aerospace, a company developed by Charles Kaman in 1945. The plane features a distinct “rototop” which reportedly provided lift enhancement. The K-16 succeeded in a number of tests in the NASA Ames Wind Tunnel although it never enjoyed full use by the United States Navy, who it was designed for.(source)

8. The Kettering Bug

The Kettering Bug
The Kettering Bug, Image Source: The United States Air Force

The Kettering Bug – By now, drones have an ominous and somewhat menacing role in our minds. American President Barack Obama has used drones more than any president before him, possibly as a means to avoid “boots on the ground” military involvement in countries where there is American interest and all of the headaches that that incurs. It is only recently that the unmanned drone has gotten to the point where it can do everything from fire missiles to deliver pizzas but the genesis of it goes back much further. As one narrator illustrates it, the first unmanned aerial vehicle developed during World War II, was more important “for what it heralded than any damage it was capable of doing.” Using contemporary technology of the time, the early drone was operated with a telephone dial which the operator utilized from the ground.(source)

9. The Bartini Berieve VVA-14

The Bartini Berieve VVA-14
The Bartini Berieve VVA-14, Image Source: Alex Beltyuko

The Bartini Berieve VVA-14 – Mimicking Hughes’ Hercules, the Bartini Beriev VVA-14 was developing in order to answer the question of whether or not aircraft could be amphibious i.e. move on water and in the air. The Soviets developed it in the early 1970s in order to combat the threat of missile submarines. To actually make it work and have utilitarian value outside of a controlled test, twelve engines would have been installed, which never occurred, leaving the device to linger outside a Russian museum ever since.(source)

10. The VZ9 Avrocar

The VZ9 Avrocar
The VZ9 Avrocar, Image Source: Avrocar: Canada’s Flying Saucer, 2001(taken from)
The VZ9 Avrocar
Avrocar 59-4975 after modifications. Image source: www.wikipedia.org

During the 1950s, the idea of “flying saucers” was popularized by popular films portraying the arrival of “little green men” and aliens from other worlds. It shouldn’t come as a shock that the U.S. Air Force did devise its own flying saucer – the VZ9 Avrocar succeeded in taking flight, becoming one of the world’s fist ever hovercrafts. There were a number of serious technical issues that kept it from ever having long lasting use by the military, however – the hovercraft often would develop so much heat that it literally would melt its own equipment and instruments.(source)

Also see: 8 Mysterious Transmissions, Strange Sounds And Weird Broadcasts Ever Recorded

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