Ten Insanely Strange Aircrafts That Actually Existed(With Pictures)

9. The Stipa-Caproni

Also known as the “Flying Barrel”, this unique airplane was the brainchild of Italianaviation engineer Luigi Stipa and still is counted among the strange aircrafts that actually existed. After deeply studying the principles of fluid dynamics, he believed that if the engine and propeller were to be enclosed in a tapered tube like structure, the overall thrust output would be increased. He called his design the “intubed propeller”.

To test his theory he approached renowned Italian airplane maker Caproni in 1932, and began working on the prototype. The Stipa used a 120 hp De-Havilland Gipsy 3 engine, attached to a twin blade wooden propeller. The whole assembly was enclosed inside the over-sized tubular fuselage of the airplane. The results of the test flight proved that the new design was an aerodynamic miracle. Despite the weak engine and short wingspan of the test airplane, the aircraft showed great stability. It was however unable to attain a high speed because of the large amounts of drag generated by the fuselage. This restricted the top speed of the airplane to just 81 miles per hour. However Luigi did not care about the top speed. The readings proved that his design was fit to be applied to engines of larger aircraft such as personnel carriers and commercial airliners.

Luigi then approached the Italian Government and requested for funding to take his intubed propeller design to the next level. Even though the test pilots confirmed the benefits of his design, the government was more interested in speed, owing to the renewed interest in military aircraft design. Hence the Stipa Caproni project was scrapped.

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