A lot of people (especially people who are interested in history or airplanes) know who the Wright brothers are. They are the most well-known aircraft designer in history, and before they succeeded in making the first airplane, they failed numerous times. However, the Wright brothers aren’t the only ones who tried and failed. Lots of people from time and time again attempted to reinvent the airplane but failed.
The Fisher P-75 Eagle
It was made to be a symbol of victory. Its “75” was derived from a French weapon during WWI, the French 75-mm gun. The “eagle” is a symbol of America for its mascot is the bald eagle. The plane was made by combining multiple parts from different aircraft to make this one, but it didn’t perform as well as everyone hoped, which in turn became a huge letdown.
The Douglas DC-10
This is arguably one of the worst planes ever made. It was designed for the door to open outward, not inward, which made it difficult (or almost impossible) to close properly, which resulted in 55 accidents happening with lots of them involving deaths. Its terrible design caused different predicaments such as the door opening mid-flight, and a wing falling off during takeoff
The Bell FM-1 Airacuda
The Airacuda was introduced in 1937 and was thought to be an amazing aircraft for its innovative designs and features. The placement of its engines and guns made it easy to be used as a fighter jet. Sadly, the plane overheats easily, and its design made it hard for the gunner to escape, firing a gun from inside the plane also caused the inside to be filled with smoke.
The Vought F7U Cutlass
Known for its unique design which did not build a regular tail and used a non-traditional wing design. Though it was praised for its design, the Cutlass came with a lot of problems. It could reach high speeds, but it can’t reach high altitudes nor remain in the air for an extended period of time. It also didn’t have enough strength to reach a successful takeoff.
The Convair NB-36
In order to start a nuclear chain reaction, a nuclear reactor is needed, which is why the plane can only be used in controlled areas such as nuclear power plants. Despite its dangers, it was added to the Convair in the ’50s. which resulted in an airplane that is risky to fly, and had to follow its tracks in all 47 flights that it too
The PZL M-15 Belphegor
Created during 1972 in Poland, the Belphegor was the first biplane ever made. It was first made to be used as a crop duster, it was made with jet power, but it turned out to be more expensive than anyone would have thought. The PZL M-15 was entirely unique, with a twin-boom tail, a pair of over and underwings connected by struts, and 377-gallon tanks for chemicals.
The Wright Flyer
The Wright Flyer was created in 1899 from a complex four-year research and development program of Wilbur and Orville Wright. The Wright Flyer was described to be “The first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard.” It was also unable to last a minute in the air and was found to be difficult to navigate. It flew four times on December 17, 1903, but that was it.
The Harrier Jump Jet
The Soviet Union made the “Yakovlev Yak-38” which was inspired by the British navy. However, the plane didn’t live up to its standards. Whenever it was hot, the plane could only fly for 15 minutes, and even with better conditions, it could only fly for 800 miles even without weapons on board.The first flight of the Harrier was in 1967, two years before the man reached the moon
The Lockheed Martin VH-71
In theory, the plane was thought to have a good design. The plane was marketed by Agustawestland and Lockheed Martin in the United States in 2002. It was so promising that the Marine Corps suggested it be used as the President’s mode of transportation. Sadly, the price moved from $6.1 Billion to $11.2 Billion in just a few years, which wasn’t realistic.
The Bristol 188
It is always vital that you are at least on par with your competition, no matter what you sell or do. When Chuck Yeager invented the Bell X-1 in 1947, it inspired others to create a plane that mimics it. The British made the “Bristol 188” as their version of it. Sadly, it caused too many problems such as the fuel tank leaking during flights, and its inability to take off before it reached a ground speed of 300mph.
In 1901, Samuel Pierpoint successfully designed a plane that could fly for over a mile. He later created the first man-powered flight. The Aerodrome seemed promising with its 52 hp radial with a successful power-to-weight ratio, but it failed twice, landing in the Potomac River.
The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin
The Goblin was designed to be a parasite fighter. A small plane attached to a much larger plane, designed to be ejected mid-flight to aid in fighting enemy planes. Although this sounds promising, it didn’t do well for the enemy planes simply overwhelmed the Goblin.
The Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon
The U.S. Military had a lot of crazy ideas during the ’50s, and thanks to their huge budget, a lot of those ideas became reality. The Lockheed XFV-1 Salmon was created with the intention of taking off vertically, but this meant that it should also land the same way, which ended up in tearing the engine apart and destroying the plane.
The Grumman X-29
Between the ’80s and 90s, the U.S. Airforce obtained the Grumman X-29. Its forward-facing wings were made to give it better aerodynamics and a sleek look but made it impossible to fly properly. Even though different advanced agencies designed it, it still had major flaws. A Nasa employee even stated, “It was unflyable — literally — without a digital flight computer onboard, which made corrections to the flight path 40 times a second.”
The Baade 152
Built with the design of a bomber plane. This german plane had the perfect design for a bomber plane, but not for actual flight. Its test runs were failures and killed every crew member on board. The prototype was cancelled in 1961, and it is also the only aircraft made in East Germany.
The Rockwell XFV-12
By the 1970s, airplanes had been around long enough for the top of the line airline companies to make a design that wouldn’t mess up badly. However, when the Rockwell XFV-12 was made, that wasn’t the case. Even though it had a unique design and interesting features, it never got to fly.
The Tupolev Tu-144
Originally designed during the 70s, the Tupolev Tu-144’s prototype crashed and was a failure in the Paris Air Show. The team behind the plane attempted to fly it for 55 times before they retired the plane, never to be used again. Among its outstanding features were the swept-back wings of the “double-delta,” the “mustache” foreplans pivoting off the fuselage just behind the deck for enhancement during departure and landing and the lower “fall” part for the improvement of the team at departure and landing.
The Dassault Balzac V
This is another one of those ideas that sound promising on theory but are terrible in practice. The French-designed a plane based on the Mirage III. They wanted to create a plane that would take off vertically. Two pilots died during their test runs, but that didn’t stop them from trying again. Although the plane crashed again, thankfully the pilot was able to eject from the plane and survived.
De Havilland Comet
Even though the plane has a lot of positive features, its negative attributes heavily overshadowed its good ones. It even reached the point where the De Havilland Comet was the poster child of horribly designed aircraft. The engineers tried to rework the design but ultimately failed as none of the fatal events could be avoided.
The Devil’s Hoverbike
Are you aware that the popular hoverboards today were designed from U.S. military aircraft design from the ’50s? The Army designed a one-man chopper for their infantry to be able to hover into battle, this might sound good at first, but you have to take into account the powerful blades propelling you in the air located 4 inches from your feet, and you have to balance yourself above them.
The Christmas Bullet
Designed by Dr William Whitney Christmas, he designed a plane fully aware that the pilot will die if a certain altitude was reached. Christmas invited pilot Cuthbert Mills to test the plane. Mills then invited his mom to come and watch him fly the plane. As the plane was about to take off, the wings folded, making it impossible to fly, resulting in the plane crashing and Mills was dying.
The Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet
The plane was designed to be a rocket-powered interceptor made to shoot down enemy planes. It could accelerate from 0-100 mph faster than any of its competitor’s planes. Sadly, the plane has a small fuel tank, which is why it could only fly for about 3 minutes until it had to land for a refill. The fuel tank was a massive problem; it leaked a lot, which resulted in deaths.
The Italian Caproni created the huge aircraft in the 1920s, its original purpose was to carry a hundred passengers across the Atlantic Ocean, but it never made it past the country. The Noviplano also had a lot of technical problems, which made it work very poorly. The hideous plane had eight engines and nine wings, which obviously called for disaster.
The Blackburn Roc
This plane was designed to protect other planes from being shot by the enemies. The plane was shown to be too heavy to do its job, which is why the Royal Navy stopped producing it and won’t let it fly. Another aspect that caused the plane to fail is the materials used. It only managed to take down one enemy plane during WWII.
The Blackburn Botha
The Botha is believed to be Blackburn’s second horribly crafted plane. It had too many flaws such as the terrible view for the crew and the fact that they needed a fourth crew member due to how underpowered the plane is. The plane is also too heavy to fire torpedoes and was very difficult to fly, which resulted in many accidents.
The Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia
Known for being one of the worst passenger planes in history, lots of people believe that it has a weird design. One of its biggest flaws is that the plane has a turboprop engine that broke up mid-flight, killing 14 people. Despite this, it is still used today as a freight plane.
Created during WWI by the British Royal Flying Corps, the plane’s large range of fire for a machine gun made it stand out amongst its competitors. However, this wasn’t ideal for it left the gunman in a dangerous situation. The pilot was also in danger due to the placement of its propellers. Prompting a commander to say that it was “a hazardous machine from the passenger’s point of view.”
The Fairey Albacore
Designed between 1939-1943, the Albacore was made to replace the Swordfish for use by the British Royal Navy and Fleet Air Arm. Unfortunately, the pilots dreaded the plane and preferred the former plane, which led to its early retirement. But some even chose to fly the ill-constructed Fairey Albacore with an older aircraft, but although it could look beautiful outside it, there were a lot of technical problems.
Just like the entry before, its older model is more popular than this one. The Mikoyan-Gurevich-23, a Soviet fighter aircraft, was the first of its kind to come with a “look-down/shoot-down” radar. It had a smaller cockpit and a limited field of view. After the cold war, the MiG-23 was retired, but its predecessor is still in use today.
This aircraft has no technical problems; however, some problems can be noticed from the design of its construction. But according to an article, The Yak-42’s design was so horrible, that it is unbelievable that it was still being used in 2013. According to Sir Halffast, it was a misfortune for him to be able to fly in one. The entry door and the seats were terrible, and the stairway seemed like it would pop at any moment.
The Ilyushin Il-62
According to a pilot who goes by the name “For Sweden”, the plane still uses manual flight controls without any assistance to control the flight surfaces. He also added that the plane has a history of failed thrust reversers, resulting in engines exploding. In short, he told everyone how the “old school” Ilyushin Il-62 was and how it did not become high technology after all the years that followed his first flight.
The Brewster Buffalo
Known to be the first monoplane jet to fly for the U.S. Navy, it was a popular plane during World War II, but as the war ended, many countries started calling it the “Flying Coffin” due to its difficulty to maneuver. However, all the accidents and failures it had just proved to be an awful aircraft-no wonder why it was mentioned here.
The Tupolev TU-144
The Russian plane was the only to go for commercial use. Even though it can reach 1,200 mph, it also failed a lot. Which is why people go to great lengths to avoid flying on this plane. It was too unstable to feel comfortable in, and the plane was so loud that people had to pass notes to converse with one another. Its final flight was in 1978.
The ATR 72
Before the ATR 72 was retired, Alex Murel warned everyone not to fly on this plane. According to him, it was outdated, and the fleet is starting to fall apart. He also stated that 11 of the 508 planes were destroyed in crashes, resulting in 190 people dying. In short, it was a terrible experience for many passengers to travel with the ATR 72.
The Heinkel He-162
The plane almost broke records with its design and how easy it is to produce (which only takes 90s days). However, the plane was made of wood and the pilots were all teenagers, it was the type of plane that shouldn’t fly in rough conditions. The glue holding the wood together couldn’t withstand flying conditions. Thus it was only used from January until May of 1945.
The Fairey Battle
The Rolls-Royce Merlin piston-engined plane gave high hopes when it was designed for the British Royal Air Force in the ’30s. Sadly, the plane was too slow and heavy for it to work properly, and after only a week of use, about a hundred of these planes were shot. The plane was later retired by the end of 1940.
The Douglas TBD Devastator
The plane’s problem is huge; in fact, it was deadly for the pilot. It can only release a torpedo if the plane was flying straight at exactly 115 mph, which made it an easy target for the enemies. It managed to launch 41 torpedoes, with the successful shots being only six.
The LWS-6 Żubr
A plane’s appearance doesn’t indicate its efficiency unless you’re talking about this plane of course. It was crafted right before WWII, and it ended up being used for training purposes. The Soviet military captured four LWS-6 Żubr planes during the invasion of Poland. Sadly, the prototype eventually fell apart, bringing prospective Romanian buyers.
The Saab 340
Pilots say that this plane is one of the most uncomfortable planes in history. According to “BuckeyeFanFlyer” on Flyer Talk, the loud noise of the engine was bearable since you’d be sitting right next to it. This Swedish-built plane is still used today. One pilot even said that the next time he fled the aircraft, he would carry and wear the earplugs because of the noise from the engine next to the seat of the pilot.
This plane had so many issues that even the New York Times wrote about it. Most of the MD-80 aircraft are not very well checked and experienced by passengers who have already flown such an aircraft. The plane is very inefficient, slow, and barely had any personal space. Even though it was involved in many crashes that killed passengers, it is still being used by American Airlines and Delta.
The Bombardier Dash 8
A user on a blog said that the planes have loud propeller noise and that it cannot hold the luggage of the people on board for weight reasons. In addition to weight problems, the propeller blades produce a loud noise which never disturbs travelers. Which is why the solution is to carry less luggage, but the problem is that people who take these small planes, transfer from a 757 or other large ones.
An experimental plane made by the Germans during the end of WWII, The Komet had more speed capabilities compared to the other planes from the war. But it had some downsides. One of the major problems is that a pilot can barely stay on air due to difficulties in fuel, and because they must occasionally land for fuel, they were an easy target.
Known to be one of the worst planes ever created, it was known to have crashed and caught on fire while attempting to land in New Jersey in 1936. It was later discovered that the crash was caused by an electrostatic discharge which caused the gas to set on fire.
The British B.E.-2
The plane never stood a chance compared to the other ones. The flaws of this plane include terrible engine, difficulty in maneuvering, and an obstructed view for the pilot since the gunner was placed in front. The Germans easily shot down these planes during WWI, which proved to be useless.
A lot of people thought that the Starship would be an impressive plane, but it wasn’t. its carbon-composite construction and engineers were thinking it would be a success, but it turned out to be a flop due to how slow it was and how difficult it was to fly. In 1989, 53 of these were made, but only a few were sold.
The Hiller VZ-1
The concept of the plane is quite mind-boggling. It has a unique feature, and that was the only way the aircraft was controlled. There are no gears, but the pilot is expected to steer the plane with his bodyweight. Its highest speed was 16 mph, and everyone disliked it when they saw it in reality.
The Flying Dorito
In the 80s, Pentagon decided to fund the creation of this plane, unbeknownst to them, it was one of the most horrible investing decisions that they have ever made. The radar systems were incompetent, and there was nothing about it to be bragged about, and when the Department of Defense found out in 1991 that the planes will cost $165 million, Dick Cheney put an end to it.
It was the largest plane made from the U.S. until Spruce Goose came. It was so big in fact that it had the capability of hiding passengers inside. However, no company was able to make engines powerful enough for this during 1937, which is why the plane couldn’t reach more than 200 mph. They cancelled the plans for this plane and was only used in WWII as a cargo plane.