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Alcor Duo-4, Duo-6, and C-6-1 Transports - Designed by Allan Lockheed, the Alcor series of aircraft had a unique engine installation, clean lines, and good performance. Unfortunately, the C-6-1’s avoidable destruction caused the company’s closure.
Alexeyev KM Ekranoplan (Caspian Sea Monster) - In the early 1960s, Rostislav Alexeyev and the Soviet Union experimented with ekranoplan (wing-in-ground effect) vehicles. This work led to the KM (Korabl Maket), the longest and heaviest aircraft of its time.
Alexeyev SM-6 and A-90 Orlyonok Ekranoplans - The A-90 Orlyonok was an ekranoplan (wing-in-ground effect) vehicle designed by Rostislav Alexeyev in the Soviet Union. Three production machines were built and served with the Soviet Navy in the 1980s.
Arsenal VB 10 Heavy Interceptor Fighter - Started before WWII, the development of the French Arsenal VB 10 was delayed throughout the war. Powered by tandem-engines, the aircraft flew after WWII, but it was outperformed by other aircraft, especially jets.
Arsenal VG 30-Series (VG 33) Fighter Aircraft - Stemming from the VG 30 series of aircraft, the Arsenal VG 33 was perhaps France’s best fighter at the start of World War II. However, not enough of VG 33 aircraft existed to have any impact on the war.
Beardmore Inflexible / Rohrbach Ro VI Transport - At the time of its first flight in 1928, the Beardmore Inflexible was the largest aircraft in the world. The experimental transport tested all-metal, stressed skin construction and flew well, but it was underpowered.
Beech Aircraft Company XA-38 Grizzly - The Beech XA-38 Grizzly was a fast and powerful ground attack aircraft. However, its R-3350 engines were needed for the B-29, and its roll was already being fulfilled by other aircraft.
Bellanca 28-92 Trimotor - The Bellanca 28-92 was designed as a long-distance aircraft. Although it participated in two Bendix Trophy races, the aircraft never found an enthusiastic owner or the support it needed.
Bolkhovitinov S-2M-103 Sparka - The Bolkhovitinov S-2M-103 Sparka was a unique fast-attack aircraft with tandem engines and contra-rotating propellers. The Soviet aircraft first flew in 1940, but technical difficulties and WWII led to its abandonment.
Bugatti Model 100P Racer - The Bugatti 100P was designed to set the 3 km absolute world speed record for landplanes and was arguably one of the most beautiful aircraft ever built. WWII prevented the aircraft from being finished.
Caproni Ca.90 Heavy Bomber - When it was first flown in 1929, the Caproni Ca.90 bomber was the world’s largest landplane. The aircraft set six payload records but did not find favor with the Italian Air Ministry.
Coandă 1911 Monoplane - Romanian Henri Coandă’s 1911 aircraft utilized wing warping and two 70 hp (52 kW) Gnome rotary engines coupled to a single propeller. It was one of the first twin-engine aircraft to fly.
Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-14/A Fighter - The turbosupercharged Commonwealth CA-14 was Australia’s attempt to turn the outclassed Boomerang fighter into an aircraft that could meet the enemy on equal terms.
Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-15 ‘Kangaroo’ - During WWII, Australia worked to create an indigenous fighter aircraft to compete with the best from other nations. The Commonwealth CA-15 achieved this goal but was completed too late to serve a useful roll.
CTA / ITA Heliconair HC-I Convertiplano - Designed by Germans and built in Brazil using an American engine, British wings, and Swedish propellers, the CTA/ITA Heliconair Convertiplano tiltrotor VTOL aircraft was unique in many ways.
Curtiss XF14C Carrier-Based Fighter - The Curtiss XF14C was an experimental fighter originally planned with the Lycoming XH-2470 engine. A Wright R-3350 with contra-rotating propellers was substituted, but the aircraft did not meet expectations.
Curtiss XF6C-6 Page Navy Racer - Based on a standard Curtiss F6C-3 Hawk biplane, the XF6C-6 monoplane was specially designed as a pylon air racer. Flown by Capt. Arthur Page, the aircraft had a commanding lead when it crashed during its first race.
Curtiss XP-40Q Fighter - The XP-40Q was a final attempt by Curtiss to extend the life of its P-40 fighter design. While it was a good aircraft, the XP-40Q was on par or outclassed by other fighters already in production.
De Havilland DH.91 Albatross Transport - The de Havilland DH.91 Albatross was an elegant, pre-WWII airliner and mailplane of wooden construction. After short careers, the mailplanes were pressed into service as transports during WWII.
Dekker-Fokker C.I Rotary Propellers - After designing windmills, Dutchman Adriaan Dekker turned his attention to developing an efficient rotary propeller blade system for aircraft. Tests were started, but WWII prevented further development.
Deperdussin-de Feure Model 2 - The Deperdussin-de Feure Model 2 was designed by Georges de Feure and built in France in 1909. The unique aircraft featured a canard design, contra-rotating propellers, and movable wings to alter the center of pressure.
Douglas XA-26D and XA-26E Invaders - The Douglas XA-26D and E were improved versions of the Douglas A-26B and C, respectively. While the aircraft had a top speed of 403 mph (649 km/h), the end of WWII brought the program to a close.
Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster Attack Bomber - The Douglas XB-42 was an innovative aircraft designed to maximize performance. Although impressive, its performance fell short of expectations. The end of WWII and new jet aircraft made the project obsolete.
DuBois-Riout Ornithopter - Ornithopters are aircraft that use flapping wings to achieve flight. French engineer René Riout built his first full-size ornithopter in 1913. Although impressive, the machine was not a success.
FIAT AS.8 Engine and CMASA CS.15 Racer - Powered by the 2,250 hp (1,678 kW) FIAT AS.8 V-16 engine, the Italian CMASA CS.15 racer was intended to set a new world speed record for aircraft, but WWII prevented the aircraft from being completed.
FIAT CR.42 DB Fighter - Powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 601 engine, the FIAT CR.42 DB was the fastest biplane ever built. However, the aircraft was outclassed by contemporary monoplane fighters.
Fisher (General Motors) P-75 Eagle Fighter - The Fisher XP-75 was an ambitious attempt to create a world-class WWII fighter utilizing many existing components. In the end, it was a complex and expensive aircraft with mediocre performance.
FMA IAe 30 Ñancú - The IAe 30 Ñancú was a high-performance, twin-engine fighter built in Argentina. First flown in 1948, the aircraft performed well and had much potential, but it was outclassed by jet aircraft.
Fokker F.XX Zilvermeeuw Transport - The Fokker F.XX Zilvermeeuw was the last wooden aircraft and last trimotor built by Fokker. First flown in 1933, the sole example served with KLM and was then sold to the Spanish Republicans.
Ford 15P Personal Aircraft - The tailless Ford 15P was the Ford Motor Company’s last attempt to create an aircraft that would appeal to everyone—a Model T of the air.
Hawker Fury I (Sabre-Powered) Fighter - At 483 mph (777 km/h), the Napier Sabre-powered Hawker Fury MK I was one of the fastest piston-powered aircraft ever built. First flown in 1946, the stunning Fury I never entered production.
Hawker Tempest I Fighter - The Hawker Tempest I was a mid-World War II attempt to make a premier high-altitude fighter. Although the aircraft’s performance exceeded expectations, engine issues prevented its production.
Heinkel He 119 - The Heinkel 119 was designed by the Günter brothers and exemplified their belief in streamlining. Powered by a DB 606 engine, the pre-war aircraft did not find a niche in a reconnaissance or bomber roll.
Hughes D-2 - Howard Hughes kept his D-2 aircraft hidden away. The aircraft’s roll changed several times and included fighter and attack. Control issues plagued the prototype, but a redesign led to the XF-11.
Hughes XF-11 Photo-Reconnaissance Aircraft - The Hughes XF-11 was the last fixed-wing aircraft built by the Hughes Aircraft Company and the aircraft that nearly killed Howard Hughes. WWII was over by the time prototypes of the specialized aircraft flew.
Kawasaki Ki-64 Experimental Fighter - The Kawasaki Ki-64 was an experimental fighter that employed tandem engines and evaporative cooling. More pressing priorities during WWII resulted in the aircraft not being repaired after it was damaged by a fire.
Kawasaki Ki-78 (KEN III) - The Kawasaki Ki-78 was a high-speed research aircraft and possible world speed record contender. First flown in 1942, the aircraft experienced numerous difficulties, and its performance did not live up to expectations.
Kirkham-Williams Seaplane Racer (1927) - The Kirkham-Williams Racer was a privately funded aircraft built to compete in the 1927 Schneider Trophy Contest. Piloted by Lt. Al Williams, developmental issues prevented the racer from competing.
Koolhoven FK.55 Fighter - The Koolhoven FK.55 was an attempt by the Dutch to create a world-class fighter. However, the prototype was not as impressive as the mockup, and the start of World War II prevented further development.
Kyushu J7W1 Shinden Interceptor Fighter - The Kyushu J7W1 Shinden was an unconventional pusher fighter with a canard layout. The Japanese aircraft showed potential, but World War II war ended before the design was proven.
Latécoère 631 Flying Boat Airliner - Conceived during the golden age of flying boats and delayed by WWII, the French Latécoère 631 arrived in the middle of the propliner era. A series of fatal accidents led to its withdrawal from service.
Lun-class / Spasatel Ekranoplans - The Soviet Lun-class ekranoplan was a missile-carrying, fast-attack craft built in the late 1980s. Only one machine was completed, but attempts were made to convert the design for Search and Rescue service.
LWF Model H Owl Mail Plane / Bomber - The LWF Model H Owl was a large, trimotor aircraft intended as a mail plane, transport, or bomber. Despite being repaired after a few crashes, the Owl was scrapped in 1923, after interest in the aircraft waned.
Martin XB-51 Attack Bomber - The Martin XB-51 was a unique, three-engine, swept-wing attack bomber built just after WWII. While its performance exceeded expectations, the aircraft was not selected for production due to shifting priorities.
Martin-Baker MB2 Fighter - The MB2 was the first fighter from the Martin-Baker Aircraft Company. Developed long after its specification was issued, only the prototype was built, but it did inspire additional aircraft from Martin-Baker.
Martin-Baker MB3 Fighter - The Martin-Baker MB3 was truly a world-class fighter aircraft. Tragically, company co-founder Captain Valentine Baker died when the aircraft crashed.
Martin-Baker MB5 Fighter - The Martin-Baker MB5 was developed by a small British firm toward the end of WWII and was one of the finest piston-powered fighters ever built. Due to advancing jet technology, only a single prototype was completed.
McDonnell Aircraft Corporation Model 1 - The McDonnell Model 1 was an unorthodox high-performance fighter. The 1940 design proved too advanced and did not progress beyond the design phase. However, it did inspire the McDonnell XP-67.
McDonnell Aircraft Corporation XP-67 Fighter - As proposed, the McDonnell XP-67 was a high-performance, long-range fighter with unparalleled armament. Design changes and underperforming engines resulted in an aircraft inferior to those already in service.
Mitsubishi Ki-83 Heavy Fighter - The Mitsubishi Ki-83 was a high-performance heavy fighter. First flown in November 1944, the aircraft may have been the most advanced built by Japan, but it was too late for WWII.
Myasishchev M-50 / M-52 Bounder - The Myasishchev M-50 was the Soviet’s counter to the supersonic B-58. First flown in 1959, the aircraft was never fitted with its intended engines. It was later cancelled along with the M-52 variant.
Napier-Heston Racer - The Napier-Heston Racer was built to set the 3 km absolute world speed record for landplanes. The Sabre-powered aircraft was damaged during its first flight and was never repaired, as WWII altered priorities.
Navy-Wright NW-1 and NW-2 Racers - The Navy-Wright racers are unusual in that different versions of the aircraft competed in landplane and seaplane events in the early 1920s. The aircraft were fast, but their Wright T-2 engines proved to be very unreliable.
North American Aviation NA-98X Super Strafer - The North American NA-98X was an upgraded B-25 bomber designed to be a high-performance ground attack aircraft. Sadly, its pilot pushed the aircraft too far and paid the ultimate price.
North American XA2J Super Savage Medium Bomber - The North American XA2J Super Savage was a medium bomber designed for carrier operations. Competition from more capable aircraft and issues with its Allison T40 turboprop engines led to its cancellation.
Northrop N-23 Pioneer and N-32 / YC-125 Raider - In the late 1940s, Northrop built a utility trimotor to haul passengers and cargo in and out of short and undeveloped airfields. Put into production as the YC-125 Raider, only 23 were made.
Pander S.4 Postjager Trimotor Mailplane - The Pander S.4 Postjager was an attempt to break KLM’s monopoly on air mail delivery to the Dutch East Indies. The aircraft was also entered in the MacRobertson Race, during which it was destroyed.
Piaggio P.119 Experimental Fighter - The Piaggio P.119 was a World War II-era experimental fighter built in Italy. The aircraft had an unorthodox configuration with an air-cooled radial engine installed in the fuselage behind the cockpit.
Piaggio P.16 Bomber - First flown in 1934, the Piaggio P.16 was a trimotor bomber intended for the Italian military. More promising alternative designs led to only one aircraft being built.
Piaggio P.23M Transport Prototype - The Piaggio P.23M was an Italian aircraft meant for transatlantic flights. The aircraft featured push-pull engines and a watertight fuselage for an emergency water landing, but it crashed in 1935 on its first flight.
Piaggio P.7 / Piaggio-Pegna Pc 7 Schneider Racer - Piaggio P.7 / Piaggio-Pegna Pc 7 was the most radical of all the aircraft built for the Schneider Trophy Contest. However, its technological challenges were not overcome, and the aircraft never flew.
Republic XP-47J Superbolt Fighter - The Republic XP-47J was a high-performance fighter prototype based on the P-47 Thunderbolt. The aircraft recorded a top speed of 505 mph (813 km/h) in level flight.
Republic XP-69 Fighter - Republic’s XP-69 fighter was one of the company’s few liquid-cooled engine aircraft designs. Trouble with the Wright R-2160 Tornado engine kept the XP-69 from being built.
Republic XP-72 Super Thunderbolt / Ultrabolt Fighter - The Republic XP-72 could have been one of the greatest piston-engine fighters ever built. However, because of jet aircraft and the end of World War II, the P-72 never entered production.
Riout 102T Alérion Ornithopter - Designed by René Riout and built in 1937, the Riout 102T Alérion was one of the most advanced ornithopters ever built. But like practically all flapping-wing aircraft, it was not successful.
Rumpler-Loutzkoy-Taube Aircraft - Boris Loutzkoy’s power system was the first to employ coaxial propellers that rotated in the same direction. Installed in a Rumpler-Loutzkoy-Taube aircraft in 1912, the system was not a success.
Savoia-Marchetti S.64 and S.64 bis - The Savoia-Marchetti S.64 was an Italian aircraft designed to set distance and endurance records. In 1928, the aircraft set a record for flying 4,763.82 miles (7,666.62 km) nonstop from Italy to Brazil.
Savoia-Marchetti S.65 Schneider Racer - The unorthodox Savoia-Marchetti S.65 was intended to win the 1929 Schneider Trophy Race for Italy. Unfortunately, the aircraft crashed and took the life of Tommaso Dal Molin.
Short S.14 Sarafand Flying Boat - Built to outperform the Dornier Do X, the Short S.14 Sarafand was powered by six 825 hp (615 kW) Rolls-Royce Buzzard engines. First flown in 1932 and proving to be easy to fly, only the prototype was built.
Short Swallow / Silver Streak - The Short Swallow (or Silver Streak) was the first all-metal aircraft built in Great Britain. Made from duralumin, an aluminum alloy, the aircraft helped prove the merits of aluminum’s use in aircraft.
Skoda-Kauba V4, SK 257, and V5 - The Skoda-Kauba V4 and SK 257 were a series of high-performance trainers built in Czechoslovakia during WWII. Inspired by V4 and SK 257, the V5 was a fighter design that was not built.
Sud-Est (SNCASE) SE 580 Fighter - Designed around a 24-cylinder engine, the French Sud-Est SE 580 fighter was one of the last piston engine fighters constructed; the jet age would leave the project unfinished.
Sud-Ouest (SNCASO) SO.8000 Narval - The French, post-WWII SO.8000 was intended to cover fighter, interceptor, and ground attack roles. First flown in 1949, the unique pusher fighter proved to be unstable and was outclassed by jet aircraft.
Supermarine Spiteful and Seafang Fighters - The Supermarine Spiteful and Seafang were new fighters based on the Spitfire and designed with a laminar flow wing for greater speed. Only a small number were built, and they did not enter service.
VEF I-16 Light Fighter Aircraft - Designed by Kārlis Irbītis, the VEF I-16 was the only monoplane fighter designed and built in Latvia. The Soviet and German invasions of Latvia during WWII prevented the aircraft from being developed.
Vickers Type 432 High-Altitude Fighter - The Vickers Type 432 was a high-altitude fighter designed to intercept German bombers over Britain during WW II. However, the threat of widespread German high-altitude bombers never materialized.
Vought V-173 Flying Pancake (Zimmer’s Skimmer) - Charles Zimmerman believed a low-aspect ratio, flying wing aircraft with a discoidal planform would offer many advantages, like very short takeoffs and landings. The Vought V-173 proved him right.
Vought XF5U Flying Flapjack - Designed by Charles Zimmerman, the Vought XF5U-1 was a high-performance, low-aspect ratio, flying wing fighter. The aircraft required technology beyond what was available and never flew.
Wedell-Williams Model 45 Racer - The Wedell-Williams Model 45 Racer had the potential to be a record-setting aircraft. However, the unrelated deaths of several people involved with the aircraft prevented it from being fully developed.
Williams Mercury Seaplane Racer (1929) - The Williams Mercury Racer was a privately funded aircraft slated to compete in the 1929 Schneider Trophy Contest. Due to being very overweight, the finished racer was unable to takeoff.
Yakovlev Yak-3 VK-108 Fighter - During WWII, an 1,850 hp (1,380 kW) VK-108 engine was installed in a Soviet Yak-3 fighter. The combination created a high-performance aircraft, but the engine proved to be very unreliable.
Yokosuka (Kugisho) R2Y1 Keiun - The Japanese R2Y1 Keiun was a high-speed reconnaissance aircraft that was partly inspired by the German He 119. The aircraft suffered an engine fire on its first and only flight.