In 1903, The Wright Flyer achieved the first airplane flight. Orville Wright piloted his craft for 59 seconds, covering 852 feet over the beaches of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This significant achievement marked the beginning of the age of aviation and the invention of the modern airplane as we know it today.
The Fisher P-75 Eagle
The Fisher P-75 Eagle was introduced during the World War II-era to meet the high demand for aircraft. However, it fell short of expectations due to various design and performance issues, resulting in the production cancellation after only 14 units were built.
The McDonnell Douglas DC-10
The McDonnell Douglas DC-10, initially viewed as a revolutionary innovation in air travel, faced tragic safety failures that led to fatal accidents, earning it the label “death trap.” Despite these setbacks, the flaws were eventually rectified, and the DC-10 became one of the most successful passenger jets
The Bell YFM-1 Airacuda
The YFM-1 Airacuda, equipped with advanced weaponry, encountered design flaws that rendered it non-operational. Issues such as weight, slow speed, lack of maneuverability, and weapon malfunctions led to its discontinuation after the production of just one squadron.
The Vought F7U Cutlass
The Vought F7U, initially seen as a modern marvel, faced numerous issues, resulting in accidents and fatalities. Pilots refused to fly this hazardous aircraft, leading to the discontinuation of the program after numerous crashes and fatalities.
The NB-36 Convair Crusader
The NB-36 Convair Crusader was an experimental bomber with a nuclear reactor mounted inside. Despite safety precautions, concerns regarding potential radioactive contamination led to the discontinuation of the program, with only 47 flights conducted before its demise.
The PZL M-15 Belphegor
The PZL M-15 Belphegor, designed for agricultural purposes, turned out to be a costly and ultimately useless project. The aircraft failed to meet its intended purpose and was seen as an impractical invention.
In 1977, an ugly looking, expensive to make and operate biplane, jet-powered crop duster dubbed as the “Belphegor” became a massive disappointment and faced criticism from users. The Soviet Union canceled all further orders for this hulking farmhand due to its low maximum speed of just over 120 mph.
The Harrier supersonic jet, which was developed in the 1950s, aimed to combine the precision of a helicopter with the capabilities of a jet fighter. The Russian version, Yak-38, took its first VTOL flight in 1971. However, despite being able to reach a Mach 1 speed, it was impractical for military use due to its limited range and lack of radar and air-to-air defense capabilities. The Yak-38 ceased production by 1991.
The Sikorsky S-76
Despite its common use in business aviation, the Sikorsky S-76 has a bad track record, being involved in several fatal accidents due to mechanical failures. It was the helicopter in the tragic accident that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others, and it has been criticized for not being equipped with a Terrain Awareness and Warning System.
The Lockheed Martin VH-71
The Lockheed Martin VH-71, intended to be the presidential helicopter, faced issues that led to the cancellation of the program. It was deemed too expensive, costing $3.3 billion, and was replaced by a more affordable option. This marked the end of Lockheed’s involvement with Marine One, the presidential helicopter.
The Bell X-1
The Bell X-1, a supersonic aircraft from the 1940s, achieved the first manned supersonic flight, reaching a speed of 1,000 mph and breaking the sound barrier. It was a milestone in demonstrating that aircraft could fly faster than the speed of sound, and it inspired jet fighter movies like The Right Stuff. The experimental rocket plane was designed to withstand extreme forces and was launched from a mother ship, marking a joint project between different organizations.
The Aerodrome A
Physicist Samuel Pierpont Langley’s attempts at aeronautics in the late 19th Century resulted in the first unmanned flight of a heavier-than-air vessel. After this success, he was funded to build a manned aircraft, the Aerodrome A, which was intended to be a “human-carrying” airplane. However, the project failed, and the Wright brothers ultimately succeeded in achieving manned flight before Langley. Despite this, Langley’s engine design was impressive and ahead of its time.
The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin
The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin, the smallest jet fighter ever built, was designed to function as a fighter escort to large bombers, stored within the bombers and launched from them. However, it encountered problems with takeoff and landing, as it was not designed to operate from the ground. Test flights revealed difficulties in reconnecting the plane to the mother ship, leading to the end of the test program.
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