Not all aircrafts have been, or are, like those we normally see at airports: many strange ideas have become reality when it comes to flying. The leaders of such type of aircrafts are the Americans, who have been the inventors of these categories:
- The NASA Helios or NASA Pathfinder: considered the strangest aircraft seen in the skies, unmanned and solar-powered, created by NASA for stratospheric observation, with a wing-span of almost 130 meters and powered by 14 propellers. In 2001, it broke a record upon reaching an altitude of 29,520 meters (three times higher than the altitude of commercial flights), but crashed in the Pacific in 2003, 29 minutes after taking off.
- The North American F-82 Twin Mustang: a combat aircraft with a strange design derived from the P-51 fighter. It was the last combat aircraft to be powered with a piston engine used by the United States Air Force, of which 270 were manufactured. It was retired from duty in 1953.
- The Lockheed SR-71: better known as the ‘black bird’, an aircraft capable of exceeding the speed of the Mach 3 (about 3,600 m.p.h.), which was in use between 1964 and 1998. It cost $200 million.
- The Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit: also known as the ‘B-2 bomber’, it’s the world’s most expensive aircraft ($737 million), with a capacity to dispatch conventional and nuclear bombs.
After the Americans with their four strange models, came the Germans with two extremely unusual aircraft, manufactured during World War II. The first was the Dienkel GX or ‘Kleinefeuerwerkswaffe’ translated into English, means ‘little firecracker’ and it’s reported that during that war, four of this model were used to draw a cross in the sky, but they all collided. The other was the BV 141B, designed to provide the crew with maximum visibility when undertaking exploratory missions. Its design was asymmetrical, incorporating a glass-covered gondola on the right side of the aircraft’s centerline, nevertheless, it flew perfectly, but was discontinued due problems with its hydraulics system.
The Russians, the Italians and the French have also collaborated with this list of strange aircraft. The Russians with their hydroplane named Ekranoplano, which appeared during the Cold War, but it almost never took off from the ground. The Italians with their curious and cartoonish-looking, but nevertheless very famous Stipa Caproni designed in 1932. And lastly in this list of curiosities, we have the Airbus Beluga or A300-600ST, manufactured by the famous French company, mainly used for transporting voluminous objects such as aircraft wings and fuselages.
These are the rarest aircraft we have come across. Which would you fancy flying in?
CEO, South American Jets