For aircraft enthusiasts: Aeronautical Insanity, five more of the most terrible planes.

Blazer

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Well in my other thread there were a lot of "But what about THESE?" and "You really should have mentioned THIS!" posts and so I decided to revisit my files and came up with with five more disasters with wings attached.

So fasten your seat belts, remember the instructions you got from the flight attendants on keeping yourself safe and hope you'll never have to fly in one of these.

First up

5. The Tupolev Tu-144 "Charger"
339887main_EC98-44749-23_full.jpg

The Press were against this majestic looking plane from day one, dubbing it "Concorski" because of how similar it looked to its Anglo-French made counterpart. In addition it was also revealed that it was insufficiently sound proof, suffered frequent cabin depressurization problems and that its engines were unreliable and not very economic. That it actually flew faster than the Concorde and established world records that to this day remain unbroken was deliberately overlooked.

It was that very same attitude which also decided this plane's fate, when the Tu-144 appeared on the Paris airshow in 1973, the time allotted by the French authorities for the Charger to do its demonstration flight was cut in half and there was a covert recon plane ready to film the while demonstration flight in full so that the boffins could later study the footage on how the plane flew.

The crew of the Charger of course were none the wiser, they took off did the routine but as they gained altitude for their display flight, came in visual contact with the recon plane and nearly collided with it, the pilot did a desperate evasive maneuver and in doing so lost control of the aircraft which crashed in a suburb, killing several including the crew.

Fearing an international incident, the French and Russian authorities made a deal in which the whole thing was covered up and the Official report was that the Charger crashed due to mechanical failure. Of course the press had a field day with that and the general trust in the Charger was forever tarnished.

4. The Avia S-199 Mezek
5782371316_ccff2065f8_b.jpg

It is one of aviation's greatest ironies that the Messerschmitt BF-109 would fly with the Israeli Air Force, brandishing Stars of David where Swastikas used to be. Except, they weren't really. Because what they actually flew were Czech made Avia S-199 Mezek fighter which were license built BF-109G-10 models but fitted with a different engine.

Now when Messerschmitt came up with the BF-109F "Friedrich" model, they hit on the winning formula, the fuselage was sleek, the aerodynamics were top notch. Everything added would only spoil perfection. But when the Friedrich began to face more advanced allied planes, it was painfully obvious that without a serious update, the type would not stand a chance. Enter the BF-109G "Gustav" which was the most built version of the type which included versions made in Spain as the Hispano 1110 Tripala and 1112 Buchon and in Czechoslovakia as the S-99.

When a fire destroyed the inventory of Daimler-Benz DB-605 engines, the Czech decided to use the more powerful Junkers engines they had for their Heinkel He-111 bombers, creating the S-199 but in doing so made the sore point that they were actually dealing with a plane which had long since passed its sell by date even more apparent.

Because the S-199 basically was still using the "Friedrich" construction and the plane wasn't designed to deal with the forces generated from the Junkers engine, many S-199 crashed during take off, when the sheer torque of the Junkers would flip the plane upside down.
Avia_S-199_IDF_1948.jpg

And as for that name "Mezek?" Well it's Czech for "Mule" on account on how stubborn and unforgiving the plane was to fly.

3. The Yakovlev Yak-38 "Forger"
Yak-38_%2814598742%29.jpg

Now if the name "Forger" isn't a clue, I don't know what else is. But the Yak-38 fulfilled the same role as the Hawker Siddeley Harrier and also looked very similar, which is something that the press immediately latched onto.

But the Yak-38 is a very different beast indeed, different from the Harrier it wasn't powered by a single engine which provided vectored thrust. In fact it actually had three engines which included two smaller jets just behind the cockpit for lift while the main engine had swiveling nozzles like on a Harrier.

The engine outlay of the Yak-38, note also that it has smaller outlets at the tail and the wingtips to improve stability during landing. Again, that what you also can find with a Harrier but with the Harrier there's not only more of them but they're also hooked up to a much more advanced avionics system.

So far so good but why is this plane in this list?

The Forger’s engines had difficult performing in high temperatures, the heat from the lift jets rapidly damaged takeoff surfaces and kicked up tremendous dust that clogged engine intakes. In the end, the Yak-38 simply lacked the range and weapons load. Having mentioned the Engines, if one of the lift engines failed, it upset the balance so bad it would crash the plane. So to make sure no pilots lost their lives when that happened the Forger was fitted with an automatic ejection seat which fired when the plane when in hover mode keeled forwards by 60 degrees. Which although well intended, sometimes made that during take off some perfectly fine planes crashed when all of a sudden their pilot was gone.

When the Sea Harrier turned out to be as successful as it was during the Falklands war, the Soviets were keen to prove that their own VTOL fighter was equally as good if not better and dispatched the Forger to Afghanistan, with disastrous results. It was a sitting duck and very easily shot out of the sky.

The Yak-38 Forged on (Pun intended) to 1991 and was withdrawn from service but by that time a third of all 231 units made had been lost in accidents.

Well then, from one VTOL plane to another...
2. The SNECMA Coléoptère
tumblr_mmsqdtRqOs1qzsgg9o1_500.jpg

Bar none one of the weirdest looking planes ever made. In the 1950's everybody and their grandmother had the idea that a VTOL plane should lift off like a rocket, the Ryan Verti-jet, the Lockheed Salmon and the Convair Pogo. But none of them were as strange as the French made Coléoptère (Beetle) where people decided to forgo the traditional wing and gave it an all round wing design which encapsulated the back half of the fuselage.
EYftanH.jpg

A pilot getting into the Coléoptère, which lies in its cradle, the picture dramatically shows the all round wing design.

The Coléoptère made eight flights in which the plane basically went up and down, reaching at height of a respectable 800 m (2,625 ft) before the pilot had to very gently release the throttle and brought the plane back down. It was decided that with the ninth flight, the pilot would try horizontal flight. But with insufficient instrumentation and a lack of visual benchmarks the aircraft became too inclined and too slow to maintain altitude. The Pilot managed to escape but the plane cashed, a second example was never finished as the French decided that it was not worth the effort.

1. The Granville Brothers Gee Bee Racer.
1200px-Gee_Bee_R-1.jpg

It's just so clearly a plane of its day, the Gee Bee was a 1930's plane and it shows so clearly.


The Gee Bee was designed for speed, air racing was something new in those days and the Gee Bee was going to be the fastest of them all. You take an fuselage which is as light as possible, fit an engine as big as possible, reduce as much drag as possible and just look what it does!

A warning in advance, this is not footage for the faint of heart...

When it comes to being difficult to fly, the Gee Bee is up there as one of the worst ever planes to take to the sky.
 
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Obsessed

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As usual, another great aviation history segment. Aviation progress is sometimes based upon learning from mistakes. A lot of experimental pilots gave their lives for this progress.
 

Bob Womack

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Great post!
4. The Avia S-199 Mezek
And as for that name "Mezek?" Well it's Czech for "Mule" on account on how stubborn and unforgiving the plane was to fly.
Yeah. I've got a BF109G living down the road from me, actually a Buchon from the tail to the cockpit and a BF109G from there forward.
image-asset.jpeg


There was no type certified checkout pilot when it was recently imported from a werk in Germany so they had to bring in stunt pilot Rick Volkert to fly the certification. Rick had flown several other versions of the BF109 and did quite a bit of research. He discovered that most German fighter fields where the 1109G flew had a burned out swatch to one side of the field about three quarters of the way up where 109Gs brought their pilots to grief. He describes it as a palpable menace that would like nothing more than to kill you if you let up your attention for a second. The Hangar Deck Podcast interviewed him on the subject, HERE.

2. The SNECMA Coléoptère
tumblr_mmsqdtRqOs1qzsgg9o1_500.jpg
Ah, the annular wing fad!

1. The Granville Brothers Gee Bee Racer.
Archival-GeeBee-Flash-FM09.jpg


They added a couple of feet to the tail and Jimmy Doolittle won the Thomson Trophy with the updated version. However Doolittle said simply, “I didn’t trust this little monster. It was fast, but it was like balancing a pencil or an ice cream cone on the tip of your finger. You couldn’t let your hand off the stick for an instant.” At low speed its minimal control surfaces provided little authority; at high angles of attack—nose-up, as in turns or landings—the nose and wings blocked airflow to the tail, as Doolittle learned when he took the plane up to practice pylon turns and it snaprolled twice before he could stop it. “If I hadn’t had some altitude,” he guessed, “I would have been dead.”

Bob
 

61fury

Friend of Leo's
Joined
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Posts
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Location
knoxville, TN
Well in my other thread there were a lot of "But what about THESE?" and "You really should have mentioned THIS!" posts and so I decided to revisit my files and came up with with five more disasters with wings attached.

So fasten your seat belts, remember the instructions you got from the flight attendants on keeping yourself safe and hope you'll never have to fly in one of these.

First up

5. The Tupolev Tu-144 "Charger"
339887main_EC98-44749-23_full.jpg

The Press were against this majestic looking plane from day one, dubbing it "Concorski" because of how similar it looked to its Anglo-French made counterpart. In addition it was also revealed that it was insufficiently sound proof, suffered frequent cabin depressurization problems and that its engines were unreliable and not very economic. That it actually flew faster than the Concorde and established world records that to this day remain unbroken was deliberately overlooked.

It was that very same attitude which also decided this plane's fate, when the Tu-144 appeared on the Paris airshow in 1973, the time allotted by the French authorities for the Charger to do its demonstration flight was cut in half and there was a covert recon plane ready to film the while demonstration flight in full so that the boffins could later study the footage on how the plane flew.

The crew of the Charger of course were none the wiser, they took off did the routine but as they gained altitude for their display flight, came in visual contact with the recon plane and nearly collided with it, the pilot did a desperate evasive maneuver and in doing so lost control of the aircraft which crashed in a suburb, killing several including the crew.

Fearing an international incident, the French and Russian authorities made a deal in which the whole thing was covered up and the Official report was that the Charger crashed due to mechanical failure. Of course the press had a field day with that and the general trust in the Charger was forever tarnished.

4. The Avia S-199 Mezek
5782371316_ccff2065f8_b.jpg

It is one of aviation's greatest ironies that the Messerschmitt BF-109 would fly with the Israeli Air Force, brandishing Stars of David where Swastikas used to be. Except, they weren't really. Because what they actually flew were Czech made Avia S-199 Mezek fighter which were license built BF-109G-10 models but fitted with a different engine.

Now when Messerschmitt came up with the BF-109F "Friedrich" model, they hit on the winning formula, the fuselage was sleek, the aerodynamics were top notch. Everything added would only spoil perfection. But when the Friedrich began to face more advanced allied planes, it was painfully obvious that without a serious update, the type would not stand a chance. Enter the BF-109G "Gustav" which was the most built version of the type which included versions made in Spain as the Hispano 1110 Tripala and 1112 Buchon and in Czechoslovakia as the S-99.

When a fire destroyed the inventory of Daimler-Benz DB-605 engines, the Czech decided to use the more powerful Junkers engines they had for their Heinkel He-111 bombers, creating the S-199 but in doing so made the sore point that they were actually dealing with a plane which had long since passed its sell by date even more apparent.

Because the S-199 basically was still using the "Friedrich" construction and the plane wasn't designed to deal with the forces generated from the Junkers engine, many S-199 crashed during take off, when the sheer torque of the Junkers would flip the plane upside down.
Avia_S-199_IDF_1948.jpg

And as for that name "Mezek?" Well it's Czech for "Mule" on account on how stubborn and unforgiving the plane was to fly.

3. The Yakovlev Yak-38 "Forger"
Yak-38_%2814598742%29.jpg

Now if the name "Forger" isn't a clue, I don't know what else is. But the Yak-38 fulfilled the same role as the Hawker Siddeley Harrier and also looked very similar, which is something that the press immediately latched onto.

But the Yak-38 is a very different beast indeed, different from the Harrier it wasn't powered by a single engine which provided vectored thrust. In fact it actually had three engines which included two smaller jets just behind the cockpit for lift while the main engine had swiveling nozzles like on a Harrier.

The engine outlay of the Yak-38, note also that it has smaller outlets at the tail and the wingtips to improve stability during landing. Again, that what you also can find with a Harrier but with the Harrier there's not only more of them but they're also hooked up to a much more advanced avionics system.

So far so good but why is this plane in this list?

The Forger’s engines had difficult performing in high temperatures, the heat from the lift jets rapidly damaged takeoff surfaces and kicked up tremendous dust that clogged engine intakes. In the end, the Yak-38 simply lacked the range and weapons load. Having mentioned the Engines, if one of the lift engines failed, it upset the balance so bad it would crash the plane. So to make sure no pilots lost their lives when that happened the Forger was fitted with an automatic ejection seat which fired when the plane when in hover mode keeled forwards by 60 degrees. Which although well intended, sometimes made that during take off some perfectly fine planes crashed when all of a sudden their pilot was gone.

When the Sea Harrier turned out to be as successful as it was during the Falklands war, the Soviets were keen to prove that their own VTOL fighter was equally as good if not better and dispatched the Forger to Afghanistan, with disastrous results. It was a sitting duck and very easily shot out of the sky.

The Yak-38 Forged on (Pun intended) to 1991 and was withdrawn from service but by that time a third of all 231 units made had been lost in accidents.

Well then, from one VTOL plane to another...
2. The SNECMA Coléoptère
tumblr_mmsqdtRqOs1qzsgg9o1_500.jpg

Bar none one of the weirdest looking planes ever made. In the 1950's everybody and their grandmother had the idea that a VTOL plane should lift off like a rocket, the Ryan Verti-jet, the Lockheed Salmon and the Convair Pogo. But none of them were as strange as the French made Coléoptère (Beetle) where people decided to forgo the traditional wing and gave it an all round wing design which encapsulated the back half of the fuselage.
EYftanH.jpg

A pilot getting into the Coléoptère, which lies in its cradle, the picture dramatically shows the all round wing design.

The Coléoptère made eight flights in which the plane basically went up and down, reaching at height of a respectable 800 m (2,625 ft) before the pilot had to very gently release the throttle and brought the plane back down. It was decided that with the ninth flight, the pilot would try horizontal flight. But with insufficient instrumentation and a lack of visual benchmarks the aircraft became too inclined and too slow to maintain altitude. The Pilot managed to escape but the plane cashed, a second example was never finished as the French decided that it was not worth the effort.

1. The Granville Brothers Gee Bee Racer.
1200px-Gee_Bee_R-1.jpg

It's just so clearly a plane of its day, the Gee Bee was a 1930's plane and it shows so clearly.


The Gee Bee was designed for speed, air racing was something new in those days and the Gee Bee was going to be the fastest of them all. You take an fuselage which is as light as possible, fit an engine as big as possible, reduce as much drag as possible and just look what it does!

A warning in advance, this is not footage for the faint of heart...

When it comes to being difficult to fly, the Gee Bee is up there as one of the worst ever planes to take to the sky.


Delmar Benjamin had the balls to build and fly one for 10 years

 

Blazer

Doctor of Teleocity
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Delmar Benjamin had the balls to build and fly one for 10 years


And these days Kids know the Gee Bee racer from the Disney "Planes" franchise because one of the main protagonists is a Gee Bee racer.


 




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