10 Very Strange Types Of Aircraft From World War 2
Here is the first of our “10 Very Strange Types Of Aircraft From World War 2.” The Vought V-173 also known as the Flying Pancake was an American experimental test aircraft built with the Vought XF5U ”Flying Flapjack” US Navy fighter ship program during World War 2.
Its first flight was in November 1942 and it retired March 1947.
North American F-82 Twin Mustang
Next up on our “Very Strange Types of Aircraft” list is the North American F-82 Twin Mustang was the last American piston-engine fighter produced for the US Air Force.
It was supposed to be used for World War 2, but the war ended before it was operational. Its first flight was in 1945 and retired in 1953.
The third of our very strange types of aircraft is one of the oddest. The M.39B Libellula is a twin-engine British experimental craft that served primarily as a military plane, though it had incredible potential for civilian purposes as well. First flown in 1945, it possessed incredible endurance and range for such a relatively lightweight transport/bomber.
Uniquely, it was the first heavy bomber specifically designed to land on aircraft carriers. The Libellula was able to deliver a 2,000-pound payload out to 1,600 miles and cruise at 400 mph… quite an impressive list of specs for that day and age. As a civilian plane, it would have served as an incredibly powerful medium commuter plane. Read more about military aircraft.
Its first flight was in June 1946. It was cancelled in 1949.
Blohm & Voss BV 141
The Blohm & Voss BV 141 was a German World War 2 tactical reconnaissance aircraft. Its first flight was in February 1938.
The structural asymmetry is its most notable feature, especially as this aircraft never actually did too much during the war. Other than create headlines due to its oddness.
McDonnell XF-85 Goblin
However, the concept was abandoned within a year in favor of cheaper mid-air refueling techniques. A system that was also much safer and far more efficient, though not nearly as exciting.
This is actually a glider designed by Antonov, a Soviet aircraft manufacturer. The way the A-40 Krylya Tanka was supposed to work is it cradled a T-60 Light Tank, and then the tank would drop its wings once it landed on the battlefield. Due to the T-60’s drag and slowness of the glider, the Soviet Union abandoned the project.
The USAF wanted small, fast-light bombers in the 1940s. Douglas Aircraft Company constructed two Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster aircraft. The plane contained two Allison V-17 10-125 liquid-cooled V-12 engines located behind the crew’s cabin. They helped fuel the contra-rotating propellers.
Despite reaching speeds of 410 mph, the U.S. Military decided to look into jet engines following World War II. As a result, they retired the project.
Curtiss XP-55 Ascender
In 1939, United States Army Air Corps put out an R-40C proposal for a new aircraft that improved pilot visibility, performance, and armament. Curtiss-Wright answered with the XP-55 Ascender, which had an unconventional design, even for the time. The plane took its first flight in 1943 and had a series of issues.
Since the XP-55 did not outperform conventional aircraft even after it received redesigns plus new jet engines on the horizon, Curtis-Wright canceled the project.
Consolidated Aircraft built the PBY Catalina from the 1930s to the 1940s. The United States Armed Forces heavily utilized this amphibious aircraft in every military branch in World War II, along with other nations. In fact, it became one of the most used seaplanes throughout the war. Talk about longevity! Though retired from the U.S. military in 1957 and other nations’ militaries in the 1980s, the aircraft still sees action as a waterbomber by firefighters or commercial operations.
If you like these, check out the “50 Strangest Aircraft Ever Made.”