These incredible designs were developed for aircraft that either never came to be, can’t yet be built, or don’t have any particular use.
But they do make for some fascinating photographs, illustrations and ideas.
Built in 1979, the NASA AD-1 proved that the wings of an aircraft could pivot quite dramatically without losing any of the planes’ stability.
The Stipa-Caproni was built in the 1930’s, with the propeller contained entirely within the fuselage. Although never put onto the production line, the aircraft worked and lead to the development of the jet engine.
The Nemuth Parasol was built by students of Miami University to prove that even a circular wing could keep an aircraft in flight.
The Vought V-173 was an experimental place developed by the US. It was able to fly exceptionally slowly.
The 281 Proteus was designed to be as efficient as possible in order to stay in the air as long as possible. This allowed the aircraft to act as telecommunication relays, though they later became obsolete with the development of unmanned aircraft.
The Blohm & Voss BV 141 was a German tactical aeroplane, notable for its asymmetry.
The Grumman X-29 was notable for its wings – which are attached to the body of the aircraft at the opposite angle to usual jet planes.
Designed for high speed, the Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster bomber placed propellers at the back of the plane to reduce drag effects.
The Sikorsky X-Wing aimed to combine the vertical lift of a helicopter with the forward speed of a jet plane. The project was dropped in 1988.
These blended wing planes where developed by Boeing, and were used to persuade NASA to arrange a contract with Boeing.
The Lockheed-Martin P-791 was designed to combine buoyancy with aerodynamic propulsion, allowing it to shift heavy cargo loads quickly.
The Russian Beriev Be-200 was a short-lived amphibious aircraft on a huge scale.
The White Knight Two is designed to carry spacecraft between the two fuselages and ferry them to the very edge of the Earth’s atmosphere.
The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin was a ‘parasite fighter’ that was meant to be deployed from the bomb bay of a larger plane.
Nasa’s Super Guppy plane was designed to haul oversized cargo.
The ‘Pregnant Guppy’ was the Super Guppy’s predecessor.
The hulking Bartini Beriev VVA-14 was a soviet plane that employed vertical take-off.
The Avro Canada VZ-9 Avrocar was developed by the US during the cold war in secrecy. The aircraft would have looked very much like a flying saucer, though it had severe overheating problems that prevented its practicality.
The Snecma Flying Coleoptere was a French experimental aircraft that could take of and land vertically, removing the need for a runway.
The De Lackner HZ-1 Aerocycle was designed to take a single soldier into difficult-to-reach areas for reconnaissance missions.
The Puffin was designed by Nasa to carry a single pilot.
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