Unusual Airplane Designs



Sukhoi SU-47 (1997, 2 produced): Russian experimental fighter aircraft featuring an unconventional forward swept wing/canard configuration. Forward swept wings provide greater maneuverability over conventional wing shapes. A similar American aircraft is the earlier Grumman X-29, which was also experimental.



Antonov An-72 (1977): Soviet transport aircraft. The unconventional placement of the engines benefits from the Coandă effect (which I won’t pretend to fully understand) – the exhaust air flowing over the top of the wings increases lift, resulting in less runway distance required to take off.



Aero Spacelines Super Guppy (1965, 5 produced under both variants): Cargo aircraft made from a modified C-97J, designed to carry large payloads, such as other planes (NASA T-38’s shown).



Blohm and Voss BV-141 (1938, 13-28 produced): German WWII era reconnaissance aircraft, most striking for its asymmetric shape. The position of the cockpit allows for greater downwards visibility, which would be beneficial for the aircraft’s role. The much more conventional approach would be simply to use two engines, such as on the much more widely produced Focke-Wulf Fw-189.



NASA AD-1 (1979, 1 produced): Experimental aircraft built by NASA to test the viability of an oblique wing. The wing would start off normally, but could rotate once in flight.. The oblique wing reduces drag in a similar manner as variable sweep wings (F-111 shown), but the oblique wing has the benefit of reduced complexity (since there is only one moving joint as opposed to two), as well as reducing the shift in the centre of gravity and lift of the aircraft as the wing moves compared to a more typical variable sweep wing.



North American F-82 Twin Mustang (1945, 272 produced): The American military piston powered fighter aircraft, designed as a long range escort fighter. The F-82 was designed to escort B-29 bombers on missions ranging over 3200km as part of the planned invasion of Japan. Japan surrendered before any F-82’s entered service, although F-82’s did see active service during the Korean war.



Beriev Be-200 (1998, 9 produced): Russian amphibious firefighting, search and rescue, and maritime patrol aircraft. Mounting the engines above the wings greatly reduces the amount of water spraying into the engines. You can see this approach used on many other amphibious aircraft such as the Consolidated PBY Catalina.



Scaled Composites Proteus (1998, 1 produced): A one-off high-altitude high-efficiency aircraft designed by the legendary Burt Rutan (who could easily fill up a post of his own). The aircraft has an all composite air frame, greatly reducing its weight. The Proteus has set several altitude records, topping out at over 63,000 feet (double the typical cruising altitude of commercial airliners) and can fly at that altitude for ~18 hours.



NASA M2-F1 (1963, 1 produced): The M2-F1 was one of NASA’s many experimental unpowered aircraft built in the 60’s and 70’s to test the concept of lifting body aircraft, which typically lack wings and generate most or all of their lift from the airframe itself. These tests were mostly geared spacecraft re-entry. Being unpowered gliders, these test vehicles had to be towed into the air, including by a Cadillac convertible on at least one occasion. The SNC Dream Chaser is a modern example of such a lifting body, which is currently in competition for NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract.



San Bernardino: Another Saudi Arabia Terrorist Attack

15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.  28 pages of the 9/11 commission report regarding Saudi Arabia’s links to the attack were redacted and have never been made public.  This is probably because the Saudis likely financed most of the attack–a fact that would not look good for American leaders who enjoy a cozy relationship with the House of Saud.  After all, Osama Bin Ladin was a wealthy Saudi man who decided to murder innocent Americans.

20150119tu-Diplomacy-US-President-George-W-Bush-holds-hand-with-king-saudi-arabia-6446422Saudi Arabia, of course, was never held responsible for their terrorist activity in connection with 9/11.  I am sure their cozy relationship with the Bush family has nothing to do with any of it.

With the recent attacks in San Bernardino, we learn that terrorist Tashfeen Malik was radicalized in–you guessed it–Saudi Arabia.  This time around, some are calling for the Saudis to be held accountable for their documented funding of terrorists who are obsessed with killing Americans.  With Obama being nearly as cozy with the Saudis as Bush, however, I will not hold my breath.

Perhaps we can ask the UN human rights council, headed by human rights leaders in Saudi Arabia, to investigate.

The Chicago Police Officer Charged with the Murder of Laquan McDonald

10 p.m. Oct. 20, 2014.

At about 10 p.m. on October 20, 2014, Officer Jason Van Dyke of the Chicago Police Department responded to a call regarding a man with a knife acting erratically.

When Officer Van Dyke arrived at the scene, he saw the suspect, Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old boy walking in the middle of the street with a small knife.  Other officers had reported that while McDonald had slashed the tires of their patrol car and otherwise had done some property damage, he had not attacked any of the officers.

Officer Van Dyke and an unnamed partner exited their patrol car in front of McDonald.  McDonald continued to walk in their general direction.  Officer Van Dyke drew his firearm and aimed it at McDonald.  McDonald continued to walk but did not take any action indicating he was about to attack Officer Van Dyke.  When McDonald was approximately ten feet away from Officer Van Dyke, the officer took a step towards McDonald and then shot at McDonald sixteen times.

McDonald was shot several times, fell to the ground, and in dash cam footage, it appears that Officer Van Dyke continued to fire when McDonald was on the ground.  McDonald died soon after.  Despite multiple officers being present at the scene, Officer Van Dyke was the only one who opened fire.

The nearby Burger King had several cameras pointed in the area.  Shortly after the shooting, several officers entered the restaurant, locked themselves into the security room and then deleted video footage of the incident from security tapes.

Over the next 13 months, Chicago residents protested and only begrudgingly, the Police Department released the dash cam video which appears to depict Officer Van Dyke shooting McDonald to death without McDonald taking any action to threaten Officer Van Dyke’s safety.

Officer Van Dyke was charged with murder and posted bail.  Shortly thereafter, the head of the Chicago Police Department was fired by the mayor.

Related article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/19/us/few-complaints-against-chicago-police-result-in-discipline-data-shows.html?_r=1

Dash Cam footage: