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Friday, January 16, 2015

Strangely-shaped Aircraft: Hyper III, V-173 and HL-10

3 more of the most wacky, weird or simply strange aircraft ever built.

NASA Hyper III

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The NASA Hyper III aircraft was built in 1969 as part of the lifting body program Lifting body aircraft had short, bulbous or curved fuselages and featured minimal wings or were wingless. The plane first flew on 12th December 1969 from a helicopter at 10000 feet. It flew for 5 kilometres and landed after the 3 minute flight. Later, the project was cancelled. (Above): The Hyper III.

Vought V-173

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The Vought V-173 built in 1942 for the US Navy. The semi-circular all-wing design earned it the nickname of "flying pancake". The compact design made the V-172 structurally strong, offered high manoeuvrability and could fly at very slow speeds. Charles Lindbergh piloted this craft and reported its extreme handling and slow-speed capabilities. The airframe was so strong that once, when it was forced to make a landing on a beach, the pilot locked the plane's brakes to prevent it from hitting two bathers in his path. This caused the plane to flip over, but neither the plane or the pilot were damaged in any way. This plane is now on exhibit. (Above): The V-173.

HL-10

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The HL-10 was one of a series of experimental space re-entry aircraft known as lifting body designs. The design increased the aerodynamic capabilities of the aircraft. This was the most successful of the five original heavyweight lifting bodies designed by NASA. This plane was a huge success, and gave valuable insights into the building of the Space Shuttle. It is now on display at the entrance to the Dryden Flight Research Centre. (Above): The HL-10.


If you want to see more strangely-shaped planes, follow any of the links below:

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