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Avi Oane

Avi Oane

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Published by: Brandy Roman on Apr 25, 2014
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Planes on top of planes! With more planes hanging on the wings and hidden in the bomb bay...

We’ve all heard of aircraft carriers, but not all of them operate on the surface of the water. In fact, some are actually airborne themselves and date back to the early pioneering days of flight.

(Russian " veno" aircraft carrier concepts, images via ! more info"

#hese were huge birds... $ %!&' (eacemaker bomber carrying an )!*+ "parasite" fighter in its bomb bay. ,lick on this image to enlarge-

(image via"

Gargantuan Zeppelin-type Airships as Aircraft Carriers $n airborne aircraft carrier, sometimes known as a carrier aircraft, is one that is capable of carrying other, smaller aircraft. .sually, these are massive planes, but in the early decades of the twentieth century, huge airships were used in attempts to perfect the concept of an airborne aircraft carrier. #he gargantuan eppelin type sky!borne vessels were used to launch and then recover fighter planes during the /012s and /0&2s.

((hoto of a eppelin over %erlin, via"

#he %ritish R

class of airships were first built during World War I, but not completed until the war was over. In the mid /012s, the

such as the 3ummingbird and 4loster 4rebe- (right image.airship was used for trials for launching planes.7ames %aker" .ollection ! left image credit.Robert 5eigh ! check out his 6huttleworth .

In /0&2.6 airships $kron and 8acon.(4loster 4rebe ! image credit.Rockman of ymurgy" #he !"" #os Angeles was a prototype for the well!known . the airship was used to test a trape9e system for launching and recovering planes- .

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1. &. +" .(images via /.

' people on board. but most members of the crew survived.6 <avy in the early /0&2s and designed to carry five 6parrowhawks. .A$ron and %acon were only 12 feet shorter than the 3indenburg and at the time. .66 $kron served as an airborne aircraft carrier. killing .alifornia in /0&=. launching 6parrowhawk fighters and the airship apparently had room for three planes.66 8acon was operated by the .& of the . #he 8acon was lost in a storm off . the two $merican airships were among the largest flying ob:ects in the world. 3ere we see 8acon over <ew >ork (fabulous picture in itself"- . #he $kron was destroyed in $pril /0&&.

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since the plane had to hook back onto the trape9e hanging down.mages via /. It often took several attempts. 4etting the plane back into the hangar of the moving airship was a little trickier. #he trape9e was then lowered clear of the airship’s hull with the engine running. 1"#he 6parrowhawk’s top wing had a hook mounted on it and this attached to the crossbar of the trape9e inside the airs hip’s hangar. especially in very windy conditions. the plane’s engine was turned off so that it could be lifted back nto the hangar- . ?nce firmly attached to the trape9e. #he 6parrowhawk’s hook would then be u nattached and the plane would fly off.

&" #his 6parrowhawk is hooking onto the trape9e landing gear of . 1.(images via /.66 $kron in /0&1- .

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alifornia in /0& (imagesa vi / . 6ome alternate ideas to the trape9e were proposed in the /0+2s. #hese included having a runway on top o f the airship for take off and landing and an elevator to move the planes inside- . but never put into operation.(image s vi 3ere’s a 6parrowhawk on the 8acon trape9e in /0&& (left" and a photo taken from 8acon over 8offett )ield in .

(image via" .

$nother type of flying aircraft carrier is the composite aircraft. #here is a single aircraft at take off. In World War II in the (acific. the rocket!powered &h$a 'ami$a(e aircraft was carried within range of targets by the 8itsubishi 4+8 bomber- . comprising multiple planes. but the components can separate when fully airborne and fly independently.

(images via /. #he fighters could either be launched while attached to the bomber or dock while airborne and then refuel from the mother ship- . 1" #he Z)eno pro:ect was developed by the 6oviet .nion in the /0&2s and was used in some theatres during World War II. #he pro:ect used the #upolev #%!/ or #%!& heavy bomber to carry fighter planes.

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(images via" @uring the war. carrying five or siA small :et!powered kamika9e planes. Buite literally. called for massive carrier aircraft. . the 4erman @aimler!%en9 (ro:ect . #his pro:ect never got off the ground.

was first introduced in the later years of World War II. as far as possible over the $tlantic before releasing it. bomber would carry a @ornier @o 1/. with the crew rescued by a 4erman .6 mainland from 4ermany.. $ fighter aircraft was attached to the roof and the fighter pilot would fly both planes to the .!boat. #he @ornier would fly on alone.4ermany’s *uc$epac$ Pro+e$t or (iggyback (ro:ect was designed to be able to bomb the . #he crew compartment in the nose of the unmanned bomber was filled with eAplosives. meaning mistletoe in 4erman. (image via" #he %istel. before being abandoned off the Cast coast of the . It was proposed that a 3einkel 3e /.6.

#he bomber was released and the fighter plane hopefully flew safely home- .target.

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#here were problems getting the plane back inside the bomber and its perform ance during tests showed it to be a poor match for the enemy planes it would lik y be up against- .mages via /. early :et fighters had a limited range. 1"In the years immediately following World War II. so that the fighters could save fuel and still be able to protect the bomber ver the target. #he 8c@o nnell . #ests were carried out to have l ong!range bombers carry their escorts. #he program was eventually cancelled./ Goblin program of the late 0123s was supposed to gi)e the 4.--. #he fighter had to be Buite small and the wings were designed to fold up so that the plane could fit i nside the bomber.5 Peacema$er bomber a fighter ne that could fit into the bomb bay.

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(images via" 3ere is a great view of the 4oblin- .

#ests were carried out to see if the (eacemaker bomber .(image credit.6 $ir )orce conducted the fighter conveyor or -6C&7 pro:ect. the .# $viation" In the /0=2s.

could successfully carry #hunderflash fighter planes inside the bomb bay. ?ther pro:ects included #ip #ow and #om!#om. in which tests were carried out to connect fighter planes to the wingtips of bombers- .

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(images credit.com. $ir!and!6pace.%rian 5ockett.s were used to carry <$6$’s 6pace 6huttle- . %rian also published a book about the history of the 8c@onnell D)!*= 4oblin" #hese modified %oeing .+.

nion.Riccardo 8alpica 4alassi" In the 6oviet .(image credit. the $ntonov $n!1== cargo aircraft was used to transport the %uran orbiter. a 6oviet version of the 6pace 6huttle- .

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%attlestar 4alactica ...(image via" "till going strong in the mo)ies.ity. @irigible aircraft carrier concepts from <ew .ap .

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aptain 6carlet and the 8ysterons in the late siAties.omics and Cloudbase from . .$irborne aircraft carriers in the 122+ movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - $nd finally. here’s the "*68#9 helicarrier from 8arvel . wrapping up our look at airborne aircraft carriers here at @ark Roasted %lend.

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.<&# concepts #hese flying wonders. 1" A )ertical ta$eoff: le)el flight and a tail landing .(images via /.first .mainly designed in the late /0+2s and early /0=2s. they were essentially an early attempt to eliminate the necessity of runways. so called "#ailsitter" airplanes. are truly remarkable pieces of aviation history.

<avy and . #he idea was to create an airplane that would take off and land vertically on its tail. via" In the later stages of WWII the 4erman company -oc$e Wulf came up with a spectacular design for a tailsitting fighter..the Triebflügeljäger.. . With the $llied bombardment devastating the countryEs armaments industry it was crucial for the 4ermans to have interceptors that could take off and protect 4erman factories on a short notice. #he idea was to station fighters near industrial areas and to get them into the air without the use of increasingly bombarded runways.6.6. )ederal 4overnment. 3owever.((hotographs are courtesy . the design came too late in the war for it to reach a prototype or any production stage.

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(image s vi $fter the war the $mericans (predictably" saw the potential in such design. and. pro:ect 3ummingbi rd was born in 012=. with the danger of Western Curope falling under a 6ovie t control. <he idea was t o develop an interceptor that could take off from virtually anywhereF there were plans to station them in fields and on military and commercia l ships. the certain possibility of invasion and the possible denial of airfields. #here was even talk of a submarine based fighterG .

onvair and 5ockheed were commissioned to make prototypes.(more info" %oth . #hese fighters featured turbo prop engines .the D)>!/ and D)H!/.

level flight and a tail landing during test flights. #he D)>!/.with contra!rotating propellers. called the Ryan D!/& Herti:et. $ :et!powered version was also produced. #he D)>!/ was the first tailsitter which achieved a vertical takeoff. nicknamed "(ogo"- .

(more info" .

D)>!/ (left" and D)H!/ (right"- .

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#he D)>!/ was not as successful as the D)H!/. 5anding gear had to be mounted in order to conduct test flights .

/0=+ ! D)H!/ 5ockheed "6almon"- .

(image via" .

ontinuing into the the /0'2s. %ell H#?5 D!11 looked promising (being perhaps the grandfather of the %ell! %oeing H!11 ?sprey"- (image via" ..

><he Col?opt@re> was a )rench prototype. featuring so called "annular wing configuration" (designed in /0=1. first flight in /0=0"- .

oleoptere is perhaps the most strangely!shaped aircraft ever built.(images via /. which provided inspiration for many popular science and science fiction illustrators at the time- . 1" #he .

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rare image from the 6ovie /0'/ "6mena" maga9ine" Ryan .ottom right.ompanyEs D!/& "Herti7et" (/0=&"- .

.#he D!/& was a :et!powered prototype with a design that proved to be much more difficult to steer during takeoff and landing (compared to the prop driven ones". It did not have the benefit of airflow over the rudders produced by the props.

3ereEs the engine of D!/&- .

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D!/& Herti:et during trials- .

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(image s vi 3ereEs the D!/& prototype performing a successful test flight in front of the (entagon official #he 3ummingbird pro:ect proved to be a difficult one. In the end such designs were abandoned. . It turned out that tailsitter airplanes could not meet the performance reBuirements s t by the <avy and the $ir )orce. and the dream of an aircraft that could take off and land on it s own tail survived only in popular maga9ines and science fiction novels.

(many images via highly!recommended )rench site" 8odern concept vehicle designers keep the idea of H#?5 alive and well in new pro:ects- .

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(images credit."#his is a free interpretation of a concept design for a H#?5 observation aircraft I .7ose 4arcia" 3ere is an old!style render concept from 7ose 4arcia.

saw /= years ago in a /0'2Es %ritish aviation maga9ine. a /0+0!vintage 6oviet H#?5 combat aircraft with its erector! transporter- . It is based on the use of a Rolls!Royce (egasus vectored!thrust :et engine" (left image" ! (image via" $nd we finish with a "what might have been" concept from 7ose 4arcia.

We could float among the stars together you and !.p and $way" by the )ifth @imension" .. .... The world"s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon...p. $or we can fly%" (".(image via" 8Atreme 9irigibles for the %odern Age "Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon. We can sing a song and sail along the sil#er sky...

#his is the ultimate eApression of bionics. 8ake sure to check out computer flight simulation video here. to our technological (even if slightly futuristic" application. found in nature.bringing the fluidity of movement and effortless dynamics.-esto Air-Ray: 6nspired by 7ature $irIRay flying structure (concept airship" mimics the movements of manta!ray (and also reminds us of war!bird machines in "6ky . backwards and change direction fluidly and naturally.aptainWorld of #omorrow"". %y ad:usting the angle of wings the craft can fly forward. .

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Watch its undulating movements here. Buite hypnoti9ingurl .

It can haul =22 plus tons and has speeds averaging /22 mph for '222 miles unrefueled- .. without the need of re!assembly. which is designed to lift really heavy cargoes and transport machinery and eBuipment intact.%illennium "hip 8illennium $irship company created the revolutionary Sky$reighter.

6een in many a pulp during science fiction 4old $ge of the &2s and "the age of wonder". the vision persisted into the . where the Cdwardian technology takes to the air in a sort of precursor to steampunk fiction. .8illennium $irship" Zeppelin 9ream Persists )uturistic air wars gain a new dimension if they are fought with (supposedly" obsolete giant airships and military 9eppelins.(images credit.2s ! witness 8ichael 8oorcockEs novel "#he Warlord of the $ir".

or the movie " eppelin vs. (terodactyls" (more info" ! .

8ore futuristic visions (some are rarely seen" ! .

book "$irships in the $tomic $ge"- (image credit.)rank #insley drew this image for the /0=.8arc %rown" here is the interior of this $tomic $irship(click to enlarge" Russian <uclear $irship ! (communists liked to dream large!scale" .

6ee some close!ups (note the helicopter" ! .

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(source. Russia" .#8.

ops . #o properly appreciate the grand scale of these beasts. collected by @aniel 7.. full of info and trivia. firing the imagination (and getting lots of financing" of general public and politicians of the time.raf 'eppelin . compare their si9e with puny humans&'()*+ .> #he now largely eAinct airborn "islands" were all the rage during the dawn years of aviation..lear #raffic 7ams" idea ><here were giants in the air.. 4rossman. 6ee the " eppelins through the ages" catalog here ! a wonderful site.heck out "%alloon .

or with the mooring tower- .

$irships" In the early &2s airships "4raf eppelin" and "3indenburg" flew regularly on transatlantic routes between 4ermany and $merica.In the luAury vein of "#itanic" era. the interiors were as glamorous as any prestigious hotel- (images credit. $s the .

movie "6ky ,aptain" skillfully shown, they did intend to moor to the most prominent skyscrapers-

#he observation tower at the top of the Cmpire 6tate %uilding was originally intended to be a dock for mooring airships(read here "how the engineers crowned worldEs tallest building""

(image credit- nytstore"

#he idea has endured into some futuristic illustrations-

(image credit- $rthur Radebaugh"

5ess wild, more practical, and may even become reality one day-irship Skyport

(image credit- $irship Hentures"

or even $irport @ocks (/0&/ idea, note the eppelin in the middle dock"-

(image credit- 8odern 8echaniA"

<here is something about >Zeppelins o)er %anhattan> images... $s a symbol of bygone era, as a counterpoint to all these skyscrapers- the airborn giants made a perfect picture floating over 8anhattan, and many photographers recogni9ed it-

(image credit- ..6. <aval 3istorical ,enter (hotograph"

.SS /acon o#er 0ew 1ork in )23).
(click to enlarge"

SS &os -ngeles in )23*4 ..

fogona9os" #o browse through "scale progression" of airships (many of them hypothetical". head over to this site. It clearly illustrated how "bigger is better" applied to airship really made sense to designers(note little airplanes underneath them" .(image credit.

6 <avy actually built two 9eppelin aircraft carriers (see our recent article".these tiny dots at the bottom are people" .66 $kron R6!+ (shown below.66 8acon (info" and ...

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$kron could carry four airplanes. 8acon five. and the further models were designed to carry up to 11 airplanesG $ll culminating perhaps in this idea(see full info at this page" .

.modernmechaniA" $lso check out this screwy!looking dirigibleRevolving spiral vanes on the gas container propel it firmly through the air.(image credit.

after /1 years and half a million dollars. buildings. (read more here" $ereon 1' strange!looking plane actually took to the sky in /0.this book documents a history of the pro:ect. railroads and harbors" was kept alive all throught the &2s and beyond. the $ereon .(image credit. fleet of trucksF that eliminates the need for roads. dubbed "#he @eltoid (umpkin 6eed".modernmechaniA" Grand %issionary 8ffort #he idea of a giant ship that can carry "bridges. )inanced by private individuals (presbyterian missionaries".orporation had a static ship model and plenty of wrecked ones./- .

orporation has pretty good specs and will carry 1** passengers in ultimate luAury to the cruising altitude of *222 ft.)? mythos and spotting"- %oby Air .#he companyEs research. however. this brainchild of Worldwide $eros . opened many paths toward creating stealth airships for the military (some weirdly giving rise to more .the -lying #uAury *otel (resented in this issue of (opular 6cience. .

In conclusion. we are going to see some embodiment of this dream in a few yearsF after all skyships make good economical sense (all safety factors notwithstanding" ! and the sight of airships flying over the 4olden %ridge will be Buite commonplace- . we have to say that if the longevity of the name " eppelin" is any indication (:ust witness the undying fortune of the "5ed eppelin" rock group".

$irship Hentures" 6t was a warfare of intimidation and a game of fearB and so it bred monstrous planes: pregnant with the load of ominous bombs )or all who lived through .(image credit. or have heard the stories and seen the movies.ommand long!range planes capable of delivering inconceivable destruction around the globe.old War. . the most recogni9able and frightening symbol of this harrowing period in human history were hea)y bombers ! 6trategic $ir .

o. via" .(/0+* %oeing %!=2 strategic bomberF art by $cademy 8odel .

in a series of articles inside our $irplanes category.We are going to highlight some of the most impressive flying machines of this sort. . ><he 4ombsight <hat Crushed 7a(i Germany> #he @ouglas $!12J@%!. 5etEs start with a bomber that made its name during World War #wo ! the /0+1 9ouglas A-C3 D*a)ocD. also known as "%oston" among %ritish pilots ! more info. 3avoc was an outstanding "light bomber" and night fighter aircraft of World War II.

(image via" .

a groundbreaking piece of World War II technology. #his was 7orden 4ombsight. and "one of the most precious ob:ects of its era" according to 8alcolm 4ladwell (watch his #C@ talk video here" .>ou will notive that this bomberEs nose is covered by a yellow life raft ! to conceal a secret bombsight device.

(image via" .

only under perfect conditions.<orden %ombsight" #rue to the inventorEs original claims." 6uch precision was unheard of at the time. 3alf as much money was spent on its development and implementation than was spent on the 8anhattan (ro:ect itselfG "#his is the bombsight that crushed <a9i 4ermany. #he standing orders were that if the plane crash!landed you were to destroy the sight at $55 costs." (image credit. he could drop a bomb into a pickle barrel at 12. War circumstances . but alas. it delivered great precision in bombing.222 feet. #he <orden bombsight was the most sophisticated device of its kind during WWII.<orden said that "with the 8ark /= <orden bombsight. and much needed beacuse it allowed to bomb only the targets you absolutely need to bomb and spare civilian lives ! more info.

graceful :et. of course. described by some observers as having a "sleek. even with the help of <orden %ombsight.nion- ." looked significantly different from any other bomber at the time. only /2K of bombs would reach their intended targets. A "lee$: 4eautiful "hape with the 9eadly Payload #he 4-2= "trato+et (originally D%!+. designed primarily with one sinister purpose ! to drop nuclear bombs on the 6oviet . so in many bomb raids. almost always far from perfect. Ironically. the infamous Cnola 4ay bomber dropped a nuclear payload on 3iroshima using the bombsight (and still ended up missing the aiming point.are. the $ioi %ridge. by approAimately *22 feet" ! where they probably did not really need bombsight for accuracy at all. beautiful outline that was highly advanced". It was truly a magnificent.

(images via" Its engine!under!wing configuration will later be used for most large military planes and civilian airliners ! and the swept wing would allow this siA!engined bomber to fly at at high subsonic speeds and at high altitudes- .

6 $ir )orce" 3ere is 4oeing . and with nose pointed upG ! .4-2= with the nose pointing down (from /odel -irplane 0ews. left image".(image credit. /0+*.<ational 8useum of the .

1" %oeing %!+.C during a test of the rocket!assisted take!off system- .(images via /.

before its first flight on @ec. /. 3ere is the very first %oeing D%!+.- . /0+. with small outrigger wheels carried on the inboard twin!:et pods".(image via" #his huge plane also sported so!called "%icycle 5anding 4ear" (due to the very thin profiles of its wings" which consisted of "a pair of large wheels fore and aft of the bomb bay. ever built.

<ational 8useum of the . :udging by the interest of observers- .6 $ir )orce" >ou can tell that the shape really made an impact.(image credit.

in bad weather- .(image via" >ou want dramaL 3ere is a foreboding illustration of %oeing %!+.

(image via" .

" (ilots are visibly tense inside a similar strategic bomber..<he Russians are certain to attac$ us: so we are going to attac$ first 8a:or MongEs %!=1 heads over the $rctic toward its Russia target. (seen in the /0=* "6teve .anyon" #H series"- .. )rom /0'+ "@r. 6trangelove" movie- (image via" "Mubrick sent a special film crew to 4reenland where they spent weeks filming the $rctic landscape from an old %!/. bomber.

(image via" #his is the 56(7* Stratofortress taking off in /0=1- .

propagated paranoia about Russian sneaky nuclear attack- ..apparently these huge beasts remained level at all times during lift!off and ascent. In the meantime.(image via" #his illustration is not entirely correct. the likes of a heart!stopping /0=& illustration (shown below". intentionally or not.. see the video here.

(image via" .

2 Halkyrie prototype strategic bomberG ! (image via" . the nuclear!powered D%!..With $mericans retaliating by unleashing..

. %allard post!apocalyptic stories- (image via" -rticle by -#i -brams 8ark 9oasted 6lend. low altitude pass over a nameless beach.<he #ow-flying Aircraft Watch this %!=1 doing a high!speed. 4. . ready to fly right into your nightmares. resembling low! flying sinister aircraft from 7..

and other high!flying nightmares or soaring benevolent gods and spirits. . the #hunderbird from <orth $merica.row.the Roc from 6inbad’s tales.-lying on Gigantic Wings )or a few thousand years the biggest things in the skies were only in our imaginations. the 4aruda bird from the 8ahabharata. flying figments of myth and fable. the %ra9ilian %lue .

they wanted to see what was actually above the clouds. $ll!6tory ca. as those birds of myth and legend. or nightmarishly immense. folks got tired of only dreaming. /022" %ut then a few very clever. #hey sought to create something as wondrously big. . and rather persistent. With great inventiveness.(art by 3arry 4rant @art.

"puttering: Crea$ing: <errifying %onsters #he Wright %rothers are often given most of the recognition for the first powered flight but 4ustave Whitehead. or learning from the downright failures. $s the brilliant 7ames %urke has pointed out.(image credit. inventors rarely create something from nothing N! their successes are often the result of combining the partial successes. Whoever is responsible. itEs :ust pure dumb luck. of other inventors. too.lement $der. In some cases. . $leAander )eodorovich 8o9haiski. it wasn’t long before the skies .retro!futurismus" #alking about big planes is very much like talking about who should get the credit for man’s first flight N! it all depends on who you talk to. and many others should get a share of the fame.

the first four engine aircraft. War helped advance the science of flight and necessitated bigger planes. a bathroom. . heat. the bomber must have been amusing as well as terrifying to its wealthy passengers. and even a glass floor. creaking. and N for the most part N very unreliable aeronautical devices. %ut the Ilya 8uromet9 didnEt begin as a beast of the skies. (futuristic art by 3arry 4rant @art" It took the first world war to change aircraft from a killing and maiming hobby for the rich to a killing and maiming war machine. ?ne monster plane of that time was Igor 6ikorskyEs 6lya %uromet(.ita(. a huge improvement over his legendary Russ$y .were full of sputtering. ?riginally designed as a luAurious passenger liner featuring electric lighting.

(images credit.histarmar.ar" $nother iteration of such approach was #upolev $<#!12 "8aAim 4orky"- .com.

'a-= (more info". not the famous political figure. named after engineer Malinin.$nd a really huge Russian monster plane from the early /0&2s. .

(images via 8odelist!Monstruktor. /0*0" .

Art and 8legance 4etween Wars In the years between wars.. airplanes kept getting bigger..$ lot more images of highly souped!up imaginary version of this monster can be seen here. bars and engine rooms- . featuring 0 decks of luAury hotel accommodation. ?utrageous concepts like <orman %el 4eddes Airliner 7umber 2 appeared. and itEs definitely worth a click.

easily bringing them across $tlantic. 8ore images and info about %el 4eddes fantastic dream planes are here. It seems to be a logical development of /0/2s %ritish $irliner of the )uture- .It would sleep '2' passenger in comfort.

(image via" @onEt miss also this ")reak of the 8onth" concept from 8odern 8echanics. /0&/- .

for instance. .modernmechaniA" %ut let us get back from aviation dreams to reality.a four!engined beauty with an impressive track record of no crashes while being used as an airliner !! which gives you an idea of how safe it was to fly back then. #ake the elegant *andley Page *P2C.(image credit.

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(images via" .

.nfairly called a Owhale’ because of its chubbiness. ?riginally planned as the ultimate military transport.?ne of the larger and more beautiful aircraft in the neAt few decades was the awesome 01 5 4oeing "tratoliner. $rguably the standard by which Phuge aircraftQ are measured N! as well as how "completely screwed up" is defined. where it flew for around a mile.2 feet. . reaching altitude of . it is more commonly known as its hated !! at least by its creator 3oward 3ughes !! moniker. . the "pruce Goose. $nother aircraft both immense and legendary ! <he *-2 *ercules. the plane was not only huge but also state of the artF today we en:oy flying in pressuri9ed comfort because of technology premiered in the silver flying fish of the 6tratoliner. Its one and only flight was in /0+.

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tallest airplane at 1+.= meters.(image credit. .%ettmanJ.6 government during World War II as a giant cargo plane for the armed troops and tanks. 3oward 3ughesEs creation was the worldEs largest plane at the time and is still the largest flying boat ever built. It also holds records for the largest wingspan at 0.?R%I6" #he aircraft had originally been ordered by the . and the largest aircraft ever made from wood.1 meters..

but striving to have the biggest (anything" certainly wasn’t.7a(iDs !gly 4rute $rt and elegance may have been one of the early fatalities in the second world war. .

$nd an insane bunch of soldiers. .reated originally as a glider./&2 plus hardware .. .#o call the %esserschmitt %e C0 big is like calling /0&0 to /0+= unpleasant. the 4igant could haul an insanely large amount of cargo.. 1& tons of hardware.

which made an ugly brute even uglier but at least it got off the ground.(images via" %ecause the 4igant was so huge. which was alternatively unsuccessful or disastrous. problematic. )inally the 5uftwaffe stuck engines on the 8e&1/. #hen they tried fusing two ///s together to make a )rankenstein’s monster of a machine N! almost as bestial as the 4igant itself. at best. )irst it was towed up with a pair of 3einkel /// bombers. . getting the damned thing into the air was.

once it got up there nothing could reach it or.the huge and beautiful 4-C1 "uperfortress. a silvery steel bird of prey.*ea)y 4ombers of the EPotentialF 9oomsday ?n the other side of the war was an eagle.222 feet was a struggle. at &=2 mph. $lthough getting the immense %!10 up to its ceiling of +2. Cven if . catch it.

eight!engined. %ut before %!=1 there was another huge $merican bomber.5 "(eacemaker"- .Con)air 4. %!=1 bombers. )eaturing many impressive advancements. its formidable defenses could cut any threat to shreds.something managed to come close to it. and some frustrating problems. (image via" With the advent of :et power. the plane was kept on active duty long into the Morean war. aircraft designers began to think really big. #hink of your average doomsday film and you immediately picture the roaring ascent of smoke!blasting.

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(images via" 5ike the %!10. $nd like the %!=1. it was kept in service until R well. they are still being used today. a heavy!lifting behemoth. the 4-/C "6tratofortress" was an aeronautical powerhouse. .

(image source. the )!01s would have to try and find a friendly airfield in #urkey or something like that. #he %!&'s would split up and return."6oviets also proposed to stick together a bunch of big airplanes to make a RC$55> huge one. When this behemoth got close enough to the 6oviet .nion each would drop off a parasite fighter!bomber (probably the )!01 ! which also was never built" and the released )%s would make a high!speed dash and drop a bomb on their targets. Mind of like a 5ego dream come true.6$) had a plan to link & %!&'s (wingtip to wingtip" to have a eAtended range delivery system.old War engineers$rthur Mimes writes to us.In the early!mid /0=2s the ." .6 $ir )orce" 3eavy bombers transforming into 5C4? pieces in the minds of da9ed ..

" <he !gliest Airplane 8)er 4uiltG <he Aero "pacelines "uper Guppy looks more like a prop from a 7apanese monster movie than a real airplane.(image source. .#8.=" "When you consider the %!&' is still the largest bomber ever built. the idea of & of them flying :oined at the wingtips is astounding. /0. #he 4uppy is also high on the irony meter as it was mostly used to haul nearly!completed components !! of other airplanes.

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$lastair #.8ischa ?ord:ik. 4aroiner" #he $irbus $&22!'226# (6uper #ransporter" or %eluga- .(images credit.

%-< >Atlant> used in a %uran and Cnergia space programs. which is perhaps the only airplane capable of carrying on its "shoulders" a load larger and heavier than itself- .(images via" 3ere is a Russian carrier .

(images via"

#ransporting a fuel tank for the second stage of Cnergia rocket-

(image source- ",osmonautics ! $ ,olorful 3istory" ed. by @r. Wayne R. 8atson"

7uclear-Powered #oc$heed %othership <othing comes close in si9e to this unbelievable concept developed by 5ockheed in the /0;2s-

<ote small "children" airplanes, attached to its wings... Its hard to imagine anything bigger flying in the skies, still retaining the shape of a common airliner. $n aircraft of this si9e would have to land on water as a titanic "flying boat". <he 4iggest Planes -lying <oday .nlike the %!10 and the %!=1, which don’t show their si9e easily, the C-/ GalaAy would look insanely monstrous even on a postage stamp. #o give you an idea of the 4alaAy’s si9e, its wingspan is not :ust longer than the Wright %rothers’ first flight but the beast can also haul /*2,222 pounds (which is about 02 tons". #he ,!= was the worldEs largest plane when it was introduced in the late /0'2s.

(image credit- (erve9 IBbal"

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or ever. <umbers don’t mean much but here is an impressive one. two.the 11= can carry ==2. you can say W?W. which is 1. is Antono) An-CC/. or three whole aircraft museums.222 pounds.= tons. .$rguably the biggest plane flying today. >es. a '!engine beast that’s not only longer than the first flight in history but could probably carry one.

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@mitry (ichugin" .(image credit.

(image credit.Radek ?neksiak" .

net" .(image credit.airliners.

(images via" #his is a good dimension!comparison chart- .

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this image shows its comparative si9e among other planes in the airport ! We used to have the Roc. ?f course. and outright own the airstrip- . there is another advantage to premium si9e ! you can always claim your piece of the sky.row.lem #illier. $irbus $!&*2 is the current leader in si9e. the 4aruda bird. the #hunderbird.(image credit. and other soaring myths. via" When it comes to passenger aviation. and magnificent. dreams. %lue . <ow we have machinesF airplanes so big they’re even greater than those ancient..

. #heir stupendous si9e seemed to fuel dreams of daring!do and glamour.(image credit.6ven @e %evere" <he 4igger the 4etter> seemed to wor$ for airplanes: +ust li$e it wor$ed for dinosaurs . a rival spy. but vintage giant planes still evoke a certain fascination and a sadness of their demise.for a while ?f course you can fly the latest $irbus today.. very possibly. discussing the odds of finding an ancient treasure with a sultry brunette lady ! seemingly a fellow adventurer but.. like smoking a cigar on board of a giant flying boat bound for some nameless .entral $merican lake.

#he closest aviation history came to reali9ing this ludicrous pulp!fiction dream was 8ornier 8o 5 flying super!boat- .

and most powerful flying boat in the world ! made by 4ermany in /010. .9ornier 9o . nicknamed The $lugschiff.: by #ufthansa #he largest. heaviest. indeed. It was "#he )lying 6hip". or rather a small airborne island with a crew of /+ and capacity for more than a hundred passengers.

heck out this dieselpunk!infused photo of a 4erman engineer operating the twelve engines- ..

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(image @eutsches %undesarchiv. It was big. the better" attitude. yes. via" #he highlight of this videoL #otal worship of technology. the "bigger. <arrant <aborB super-weird and eHually disastrous #his "flying furniture" wing set!up did not survive past the first attempt at flying.too high over the wings. forcing the nose down on the lift!off (more info" . but the real problem was the placement of the engines.

(image via" #arrant #abor. looks like a game!designer dream come true- . though.

(image via" .

4iant "flying wing" and "engines within wing" concepts from the early /0+2s- 0333 Passenger Giant <ransport Pro+ect from 01/3Ds Saunders(9oe was building large flying boats after the war (see "#he (rincess" and "#he @uchess" below"- .

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enough to carry a thousand passengers in comfort. "#he wings were deep enough for the engineers to be able to carry out maintenance standing up while the aircraft was in flight." (more info" (image via" 4raba(on! 4igger than 4oeing =2= .%ut the plans for the tentatively!named "The Saro :ueen" were simply out of this world. dining rooms and elite loungesG #he mammoth aircraft was to be powered by twenty!four engines (mounted within wings". plus include bars. #his flying monster boat (slated for the 5ondon! 6ydney run" was to have )IHC decks.

around the same si9e as a .. was only built to carry about /22 passengers and was deemed economically unfeasible.+.+ 6raba<on was a full!si9e flying machine worth remembering.6ristol Type ). "#his huge prop airliner." (more info" .

good for 12+ passengers"- . but a passenger version was also proposed (..(images via /. 1" <he largest piston-engine land-based transport aircraft e)er built Con#air 5C(22 was basically a military transport.onvair 8odel &.

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1" .(images via /.

itself pretty huge- .It had an elevator to load and move cargo between decks. D. It was so heavy that it was restricted as to where it could land as on occasion it crushed runways.!00 was developed from %!&' bomber.

any supersonic plane is Buite a beauty to behold with its swept wings and a space!bound attitude. Cngland. Wondrous "upersonic A)iation Why wondrousL Well.6 (the proposed 66#"- .#his hefty plane.. had a few successful flights.6.6 ! simply because they are forbidden to do so. it would be a sheer wonder if you did spot any non!military supersonic airliner flying over the . long!range transport at the time.6 $ir )orce simply decided that it did not need such large. but . for one thing. due to the fear of sonic booms devastating peaceful suburbia (read our article about supersonic aviation development in the . 3ere is a comparative si9e chart of supersonic airliners from Russia. comparable to %ristol %raba9on.. and the . #ongue!in!cheek comments aside.

lick to enlarge" .(image credit.#I8C 8aga9ine. ?ctober I0'0" We do not have the luAury of crossing the $tlantic on the . but take a look at the ...Buite intense.oncorde due to the well!known tragic incident.oncorde cockpit. isnEt itL (.

it is hard not to mention 4lac$bird "R-=0.. capable of sustained speed /2K faster than a &2!2' bullet at the gun mu99le.(image via" 8ilitary supersonic airplanes are another (success" story. one of the oldest @ecepticons. .=.. 6till the fastest plane ever ! think 8ach &.

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What is this behind the double cockpitL $ space for the R1!@1 droidL ! .

.. 5ockheed began to develop an .!1 in /0'2. this opening seems to be the in!flight refueling door.(image via" Well. "$fter the 6oviets shot down 4ary (owersE . #his plane truly has a formidable presence.

. Screaming past Tripoli our phenomenal speed continues to rise and the screaming Sled pummels the enemy one more time laying down a parting sonic boom. and a letter was written to . The /ach continues to increase. The cooler outside temperatures ha#e awakened the spirit born into her years ago when men dedicated to e>cellence took the time and care to build her well. The ride is incredibly smooth./ also holds the record of highest sustained flight for a man!powered aircraft (1=. !n seconds we can see nothing but the e>pansi#e blue of the /editerranean." ?ne pilot remembers".%." 6R!..010 m" and the speed record still holds since )2+. We are a bullet now ( e>cept faster. signed by astronaut 7ohn 4lenn- .6 6enate. ! reali<e that ! still ha#e my left hand full(forward and we"re continuing to rocket along in ma>imum afterburner.aircraft that would fly three miles higher and five times faster than the spy plane ! and still be capable of photographing your license plate. #he aircraft was retired twice because of high operational costs. There seems to be a confirmed trust now between me and the jet= she will not hesitate to deli#er whate#er speed we need and ! can count on no problems with the inlets.

the termination of the 6R!."8r./ ("Watch for 4./ )light 8anual.@.?. (resident. here is the 6R!." If you get an opportunity to fly this noble plane (who knows."L ! er. sorry no.?.@. you may be the neAt 6am Witwicky"./ was a grave mistake and could place our nation at a serious disadvantage in the event of a future crisis. ! )oreign ?b:ects @amage" . Rare assembly pictures of %lackbird 6R!. itEs ).

Con#air 05(*. for one of the weirdest ! at one time even slated to become $mericaEs first $tomic (lane (more info"- . related to the development of %lackbird uniBue engine. via" 3ere are some interesting plane concepts.5ockheed.(images credit. for eAample.

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(".onvair <D!1". 1" . images via /.heck out this huge atomic engine on the left- .

pro:ect. a strategic heavy bomber from the /0'2s (more info" .(images via 8odern 8echaniA" #he Russians also came up with a few radical supersonic concepts ! this is the 9-?(8. or 6ukhoi #!+86.

(image via" 6maller #!'26 was an intermediate range bomber- .

(image via" "ome dreams reHuire a custom 4oeing =2= to get them off the ground . $. . sent in by 7ohn (.argo )reighter 9reamlifter (more info". we have eAclusive pictures of %oeing .+. 5arge .ooney (photos taken at the 122* CAperimental $ircraft $ssociation $irshow"- .oming back to our day and age.

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$.ooney" ItEs perhaps the most eAciting to watch such a heavy bird rise gracefully into the sky- .7ohn (.(photos credit. .

here are some planes that need identifying- . as a sort of a riddle for our dear readers.(image credit. Ming" )inally.Royal 6.

seen at the 5uftwaffenmuseum in 4atow. here is a bright green nose of the 6oviet :et fight from the same era ! 6ukhoi 6u!12 ")itter!..left plane is the eAperimental unmanned aerial vehicle %oeing D!+*.@8-TA4 4ood fun with answers.". %erlin- . #he plane on the right is the $ero 6pacelines 6uper 4uppy (image via" 6peaking about paint accents.

(image credit.7ens 5ilienthal" .

in these rare photographs- .8ore of the happy 6oviet .old War bomber and :et fighter pilots.

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(images via" .

.. in any case.. (erhaps more eAcitement.. itEs worth savoring once again.intage Commercial A)iation PromotionsB -light Attendants #here was something in the air in the early years of commercial aviation. perhaps more glamorous stewardesses.

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aribbean- ."$eronaves @ominicanas" airline serving all the cities in the @ominican Republic and the .

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"6outh West $irlines" in the /0'2s were a wonder to behold .

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$ir 7amaica stewardesses demonstrate the 5ockheed in /0'0- .

(image via 6cott" .

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)rench fashion statements- .

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Hespas. girls and planes go well together .

designed by Cmilio (ucci- .(image via" %raniff $irlines trippy flight attendant attire.

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%arry 3oggart" /0'* was the year of the space helmet to protect the flight attendantEs hairdo- .(image credit.

anime alternative- ...8?@CR< #I8C6)or the modern version of "stewardessEs flight dance" see this series of .

3ave a good flightG .

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lick to enlargeG ..

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lick to enlargeG .

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6abenien.ourtesy. 6ee more his site ..

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#his kind of activity was called "$ir!6trip" in %raniff International ads- .

too -" .(ilots were happy.

(originally #ranscontinental S Western $ir" .

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(an$merican- .

(image credit..heelah" .

.(image credit.heelah" .

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(image credit.heelah" *igh "tyle of -lying by 4ritish Airways %ritish $irways 8useum displays a great collection of vintage airliners and interior shots. (thanks for the tip by (atti Cvans.2 ! /0** for %?$. including a glimpse of %?$.lick to enlarge images.2s. .. who herself was an airline stewardess from /0. stewardessesE attire in '2s and .J%ritish airways" .

/0=2- (image credit.%ritish $irways 8useum" 8eal on #W$.(lan =0" .(images credit.

2s- (image credit.8ore #W$ in the . /0'=- .5uciens" Cmilio (ucciEs 4emini + collection for %raniff $irlines.

(image credit.stylecouncil/" 3ere is a picture from the Russian "$eroflot" airline from the same era- .

(image credit.clashmaker" and in modern days- 6n the beginning. ...

Rare shots from the start of commercial aviation in the late &2s and +2s- .

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no less. With the same groovy! dressed stewardesses.. think about how space travel was imagined at the time.(ossibly the secret of their charmL (images credit..$ 6pace ?dyssey" offers us a glimpse of the uniform of a (an $m stewardess on a moonliner- .durga'''" 8Atrapolating same beauty into space If you think airline travel was glamorous in these days. "122/.

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bittercinema" .(images credit.

bittercinema" Cn:oying the "(layboy" maga9ine- .6erving 8eals on the "$ries" 6pacecraft- (image credit.

(image credit- bittercinema"

Russian 6pace 6tewardesses from the =2s-

sss Additions to P"A and "outhwest files #his picture shows (6$ uniforms in /0'; (too bad for the dotted pattern, the photo was printed on the back of a ticket"

(image credit- southerncalifornian"

7ust (assing by... (6outhwest $irlines"

(image courtesy .ltraswank"

)ast!forward to the modern times-

5ooking forward to see some beautiful faces on your favorite airlineL 3ere are some modern ads that seem a bit unrealistic,lick to enlarge.

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)ethi Maraduman" Another helping of good old times to brighten up your wee$end "#here was something in the air in the early years of commercial aviation.".. perhaps more glamorous stewardesses. $nd once againG #his is (art + of our eAtremely popular collection (start with (art / here"F send us more stories and photos of the wonderful . in any case.. itEs worth savoring once again. (erhaps more eAcitement.(image credit...

flight eAperiences you had ! this time around we also feature a few modern eAamples of attractive flight attendants. 5etEs keep the skies full of smiles and beautyG .

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noL ! .6omewhat creepy.

(image credit.2- .8odern 8echaniA" @elta $ir 5ines flight attendant uniforms in /0.

(image courtesy @elta $ir 5ines" .

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(image via" .

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8odern 8echaniA"on the right.age credit. d d by Cmilio (ucci. (image via"(acific 6outhwest $irlines esig re going to give you "a lift" ! .%raniffEs stewardess uniforms.

. promotions.(image via .. but the image they convey is worth eAperiencing- . or eAhibition events. films. #he girls shown here are not stewardesses in real life.reative(ro" 7ot really stewardesses: but a good show: nonetheless #he following images are taken either from the advertisements.

.lick to enlargeG ! (original unknown" .

.lick to enlargeG .

(image via" .

.ertificates for crossing the ocean in an airplane ! issued by early airline companies- .Certificate of a great eAperience! Airline Passenger Certificates.read a detailed article about uniBue collectorEs item.

"TW.)273 certificate awarded for crossing the great -tlantic Bcean on behalf of ?ing 0eptune himself" ( .

like in this "survival bag" demonstration- ...6ometimes a stewardessE pretty face was hidden.

(image via 8odern 8echaniA" .intage >Aeroflot> "ection Russian hostesses from the /0'2s right through to the /0*2s (and some modern shots" ! .

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@mitry" .oulthard.(images via 7ohn .

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kraine ! .$ero6vit company. .

%elorus ! .%el $via company.

Russia ! and a photo from the recent air show in 8oscow- .8ost images are courtesy @mitry $ir hostesses in Mursk.

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.(image via" Interesting hats of Tatar $irways (top". and Morean $ir crew :ust landed- .. Cl $l airlines in Israel.

(images via" M58 hostess crew is having a picnic (sort!of" on a wing in $msterdam ! good timesG .

the image thatEs going to stay with you ! remember it every time you fly. of courseG ! .. WhoEs going to tuck you in at nightL Why.. a pilot.(image via" )inally.

(image via" .

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