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The World's Strangest Aircraft

The World's Strangest Aircraft

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{detailed description}This book is dedicated to those flying machines of all periods of aviation history that were somewhat less than conventional in configuration or purpose. Of course, what constitutes 'strange' is subjective, and I make no apologies for my selection or for aircraft that have been omitted because of lack of space.
Many of the most important milestones in aviation development have been attained by unconventional aircraft, and perhaps the majority of pioneering 'stick and string' airplanes built at the very dawn of heavier-than-air flying fit into this category. But certain guidelines have to be observed, viewed from the privileged position of hindsight. Often a good place to start when looking for 'strange' types is among records of those that are least remembered because of the small number built. Of course, it always has to be realized that any particular flying machine from the past might look bizarre to us in retrospect, yet could have been viewed as a perfectly sensible line of approach to contemporary onlookers. Similarly, strange-looking aircraft that we know flew well, and so tend to view in a different light, might have been seen as 'barking mad' at the time. So often are our conceptions influenced by achievement, and maybe this is correct.
It would be a mistake, however, to assume that all unusual-looking aircraft were eventually assigned to the trash can of history, especially those built as one-offs or in tiny numbers for research alone. This could not be further from the truth. Amongst 'strange' aircraft that proved to be highly successful in their assigned tasks and helped take aviation knowledge to new levels of excellence can be counted the Bell X-1, the first aircraft to 'break the sound barrier.' This little rocket-powered airplane, air-dropped from a bomber, was intended only for research and had no production counterpart whatsoever. Yet, so great was its achievement that it carved a place in the history of the world and the endeavors of man. Moreover, some of the strangest aircraft flying today are full production types, including the Lockheed Martin F-117 pyramidal stealth fighter and the Northrop Grumman B-2 flying-wing stealth bomber, both operational with the USAF.
In this book, I have tried to detail the strange aircraft within the context of the wider aspect. This helps comparison between the accepted 'norm' of the time and the more unusual machines described here. This is particularly important for the earliest periods, when what was 'conventional' had still to be established.
{Author / Publisher / Date}by Michael Taylor
published by 2004 1st edn. 112pp profusely illustrated, index. 25x3
{condition}presentation label to front end-paper: ("presented 9th July 2004 on the occasion of the 53rd Annual Reunion Dinner of the Avro 504 Club") otherwise fine, d/j has closed tear to front panel.
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