Some Of The Strangest Flying Machines Ever Built

It’s been just over a century and change since the first airplane flight. And an amazing amount of innovation has happened to aviation since then. Along with quite a bit of weird experiments, that didn’t entirely pan out. Here are fascinating videos of some of the strangest flying machines ever invented!


The Pterodactyl MKI, developed by Professor Geoffrey Hill, 1928

A Waterman Arrowbile, invented by Waldo Waterman (Waterman Arrowplane Co.) in 1935, first flew in 1937. Five of them were built.

The Vought-Zimmerman V-173, also known as the “Flying Pancake”, designed by Charles H. Zimmerman for the US Navy in 1942. It was flown almost 132 hours until March 1947, when the experimental plane was retired due to the start of the jet age.

The Custer Channelwing, invented and built by Willard Custer in the early 1940s

Fulton Airphibian, designed by Robert Edison Fulton Jr. in 1946. Four of them were built.

The Aerocar, built and designed in 1949 by Moulton Taylor in Longview, Washington. Six were built, but now only two of them are still in use.

The Horton Wingless V-16, built by William Horton in Huntington Beach, California, 1952

Hughes XH-17, “The Flying Crane”, a one-off helicopter built by Hughes Aircraft in 1952

Convair CFY Pogo, constructed by Convair, 1954. Three were built, but only one of them flown.

Avrocar VZ-9, a VTOL aircraft developed by the Canadian Avro Aircraft. Two were built for the U.S. Army in 1958, but the project was cancelled three years later because of stability problems.

The Wagner FJ-V3 Aerocar, designed by Alfred Vogt in 1965

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Not so much on the 'strange' side, but one measure of the pace of change is that about 10 years separated the first flights of these two classics: