Weird Airplanes

Here are a few weird, weird airplanes.


Airbus Beluga XL

We start with the Airbus Beluga XL, which is still being tested.

The name comes from this beautiful animal.


Vought V-173 “Flying Pancake”

The Vought V-173 “Flying Pancake” was an American experimental test aircraft. It was built as part of the Vought XF5U “Flying Flapjack” United States Navy fighter aircraft program during World War II.

Ground testing of the V-173, c. 1942

The disc wing design featured a low aspect ratio that overcame the built-in disadvantages of induced drag created at the wingtips with the large propellers actively canceling the drag-causing tip vortices.

The propellers were arranged to rotate in the opposite direction to the tip vortices, allowing the aircraft to fly with a much smaller wing area. The small wing provided high maneuverability with greater structural strength.


IAI EL/M-2075 Phalcon

The IAI EL/M-2075 Phalcon is an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) active electronically scanned array radar system developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elta Electronics Industries of Israel.

Its primary objective is to provide intelligence to maintain air superiority and conduct surveillance.


Sukhoi Su-47 Berkut

The Sukhoi Su-47 Berkut (Russian: Сухой Су-47 Беркут, lit. ‘Golden Eagle’) (NATO reporting name Firkin), also designated S-32 and S-37, during initial development, was an experimental supersonic jet fighter developed by Sukhoi Aviation Corporation.

A distinguishing feature of the aircraft was its forward-swept wing that gave the aircraft excellent agility and maneuverability.


Scaled Composites Model 281 Proteus

The Scaled Composites Model 281 Proteus is a tandem-wing High-Altitude Long Endurance aircraft to investigate the use of aircraft as high altitude telecommunications relays. The Proteus is actually a multi-mission vehicle, able to carry various payloads on a ventral pylon.

Scaled Composites Proteus has an extremely efficient design and can orbit a point at over 19,800 m for more than 18 hours. It is currently owned by Northrop Grumman.


Antonov An-225 Mriya

The Antonov An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-225 Мрія, lit. ‘dream’ or ‘inspiration’, NATO reporting name: “Cossack”) is a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s.

It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the heaviest aircraft ever built, with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tonnes (710 short tons; 630 long tons).

That’s how airplanes are born 😀