Eleven bad choices. The fact that an aircraft doesn’t work as intended doesn’t mean that you don’t learn something. Frankly this cold have mentioned stuff like the Avrocar which never got more than a foot off the ground and other turkeys that just didn’t work.
When music is terrible the artist will often describe it as ‘experimental’ to avoid criticism, the same is often true of prototypes and experimental aircraft. Given the parade of ludicrous machinery that test pilots were required to fly, the long career of Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown is all the more remarkable. Test pilots deserve everyone’s respect.
11. SNECMA C.450 Coléoptère
‘Roll out the le barrel’
The ‘Beetle’ was based on an idea that would be politely referred to as unorthodox, and never looked like actually working. It barely had any features that weren’t radical – a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) jet designed to sit on its tail and transition to level flight courtesy of an annular wing, making Thunderbird 1 look conventional. It resembled an eel sticking its head out of a sunken galleon’s cannon.
A few vertical flights were made but on the first tentative attempt…
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