Ten Insanely Strange Aircrafts That Actually Existed(With Pictures)

6. Vought V-173/XF5U-1 “Flying Pancake”

This is definitely one of the most bizarre aircraft designs that easily fit among the strange aircrafts that actually existed, but apparently the weird design was not without purpose. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Navy wanted an aircraft which could take off and land in restricted areas, such as the deck of an aircraft carrier. This new aircraft was expected to combat the Japanese fighter airplanesand submarines. Vought was a company famous for producing great aircraft such as the iconic F4U Corsair fighter airplane. In 1942, they started working on the “Flying Flapjack” design, a shape that had no discreet nose, tail or wing section. Instead the whole body resembled a pancake like shape, with two propellers sticking out at the tip of each side.

The first prototype was called the V-173.It really impressed during the test runs, displaying the ability to take off and land at extremely low speeds. This was due to the fact that unlike most conventional aircraft, the entire body of the V-173 generated lift. It was also very stable and virtually stall-proof during flight. All this made it the perfect candidate for a carrier based fighter. Soon the Navy began funding the production and testing of an improved version the XF5U-1.

This was basically an upgraded V-173 with bigger engines and a larger body. It was also going to use a lightweight material called metallise for the aircraft body. Metallite was aluminium laminated to a balsa wood core. The XF5U was projected to have a top speed of 425 miles per hour, while having a landing speed of only 20 miles per hour. However the design suffered from excessive vibrations in the engine bays. These vibrations could potentially destabilize the aircraft mid-flight, hence test flights were delayed. By the time the problems had been solved, the war had ended and the military was shifting its focus towards jet aircraft which seemed much more promising. The only XF5U ever made was demolished with a wrecking crane and blowtorches but people still recall it as one of the strange aircrafts that actually existed.

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