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Most Ugly Aircraft

In 1903 there really wasn’t a lot of stuff ‘lying around’, and no one really knew what an aeroplane should look like, hence the Darwin like approach. It still only took 66 years of development to get to the moon and back though.
This little sucker, along with a giant rubber band, was used to fire schoolkids into the air on their first solo flight, it’s Ugly, mostly aerodynamic and reasonably stable and was responsible for (covert)training of much of the Luftwaffe:
View attachment 549919
NB: note the lack of a second seat... ‘First Solo’ was frequently ‘First flight in an aeroplane’.
My school CCF had one of those.
 

Yokel

LE
Now for aircraft that only Communists could love:

Kamov Ka-25 Hormone

300px-Soviet_Ka-25_Hormone-C_%28cropped%29.jpg


What was the value in eliminating the boom and tail rotor, and instead having contra rotating rotors and a far more complex transmission drive and rotor head system? @Raven2008 any ideas? Surely the two sets of rotors make more noise - not helpful if your trying to hunt submarines.

Succeeded by the Ka-27 Helix

RIAN_archive_139612_Helicopters_on_deck_of_the_Novorossiisk_cruiser.jpg


The normal ASW ones did not even have a winch for SAR or things like Vertical Replenishment.
 
Now for aircraft that only Communists could love:

Kamov Ka-25 Hormone

300px-Soviet_Ka-25_Hormone-C_%28cropped%29.jpg


What was the value in eliminating the boom and tail rotor, and instead having contra rotating rotors and a far more complex transmission drive and rotor head system? @Raven2008 any ideas? Surely the two sets of rotors make more noise - not helpful if your trying to hunt submarines.

Succeeded by the Ka-27 Helix

RIAN_archive_139612_Helicopters_on_deck_of_the_Novorossiisk_cruiser.jpg


The normal ASW ones did not even have a winch for SAR or things like Vertical Replenishment.
Now for aircraft that only Communists could love:

Kamov Ka-25 Hormone

300px-Soviet_Ka-25_Hormone-C_%28cropped%29.jpg


What was the value in eliminating the boom and tail rotor, and instead having contra rotating rotors and a far more complex transmission drive and rotor head system? @Raven2008 any ideas? Surely the two sets of rotors make more noise - not helpful if your trying to hunt submarines.

Succeeded by the Ka-27 Helix

RIAN_archive_139612_Helicopters_on_deck_of_the_Novorossiisk_cruiser.jpg


The normal ASW ones did not even have a winch for SAR or things like Vertical Replenishment.
Size

If you look at the footprint of the whole aircraft it isn’t that much longer than the length of the airframe (ie: the rotor disc size).

If you are designing a helo to land on a small deck at the back of a fairly small warship, plus store the thing in a hanger that is as small as possible, then it would make sense.

Once they got it right I think they stuck with it, because, well why change it if it works?
 
Now for aircraft that only Communists could love:

Kamov Ka-25 Hormone

300px-Soviet_Ka-25_Hormone-C_%28cropped%29.jpg


What was the value in eliminating the boom and tail rotor, and instead having contra rotating rotors and a far more complex transmission drive and rotor head system? @Raven2008 any ideas? Surely the two sets of rotors make more noise - not helpful if your trying to hunt submarines.

Succeeded by the Ka-27 Helix

RIAN_archive_139612_Helicopters_on_deck_of_the_Novorossiisk_cruiser.jpg


The normal ASW ones did not even have a winch for SAR or things like Vertical Replenishment.

Smaller rotor diameter for a given amount of lift, so a more compact design. No t/r transmission to service/break/walk into, and more stable in the hover. Ideal for operating off ships.

edit: probably a complete barsteward to rig and track...
 
My school CCF had one of those.
Yep, ‘more fun than stripping and assembling a Lee Enfield a hundred times’,
Where’s the harm in firing 15yr old kids into the air, solo, with a giant rubber band?
sadly, I never got to fly one, though with a glide angle of 1:10 you need a decent winch launch to squeeze a circuit out of it.
 

wildbill99

Swinger
My school CCF had one of those.
So did we, but it soon became very clear that the only people who got to fly it were the officers (aka teachers) and the NCOs (aka teacher's pets). This meant that for most of us, the only 'pleasure' was to have to spend the afternoon doing all the work of extracting the disassembled glider from its shed, assemble it, spend several hours providing the muscle for the elastic launch rope and then take it all apart and put it away again. We developed two alternative strategies to deal with this:
- given that the launch mechanism consisted of a y-shaped elastic rope, with the base of the y attached to the glider and then two divergent ropes to be marched off with and stretched by teams of us plebs, we would agree between ourselves for one team to march off as hard as they could whilst the other sauntered off slowly. The result was a very asymmetric launch, the objective being to see if we could successfully 'convert' the glider and occupant through one of the rugby goal posts on the school playing fields that doubled as our launch site.
- alternatively draw lots as to who would be the clumsy one this week who, on extracting the glider from its storage shed for assembly, would 'accidentally' put his boot, fist, storage pole, etc. through the fabric covering of one of the wings - thereby ensuring the end of the day's activities!
 
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Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
Howard Hughes'
Hughes H-4 Hercules ( Spruce Goose; )
Not really ugly but a miracle it flew

1613479608958.png

1613479663294.png


Definitely not ugly. I saw this over thirty years ago at Long Beach in a huge purpose built hangar. It looked huge. In comparison to today's behemoths it's not overly impressive, but damn it's big for something built in the 40s. And pretty too, but not exactly a success story.

1613480141831.png
 
So did we, but it soon became very clear that the only people who got to fly it were the officers (aka teachers) and the NCOs (aka teacher's pets). This meant that for most of us, the only 'pleasure' was to have to spend the afternoon doing all the work of extracting the disassembled glider from its shed, assemble it, spend several hours providing the muscle for the elastic launch rope and then take it all apart and put it away again. We developed two alternative strategies to deal with this:
- given that the launch mechanism consisted of a y-shaped elastic rope, with the base of the y attached to the glider and then two divergent ropes to be marched off with and stretched by teams of us plebs, we would agree between ourselves for one team to march off as hard as they could whilst the other sauntered off slowly. The result was a very asymmetric launch, the objective being to see if we could successfully 'convert' the glider and occupant through one of the rugby goal posts on the school paying fields that doubled as our launch site.
- alternatively draw lots as to who would be the clumsy one this week who, on extracting the glider from its storage shed for assembly, would 'accidentally' put his boot, fist, storage pole, etc. through the fabric covering of one of the wings - thereby ensuring the end of the day's activities!
Either we went to the same school or we all thought alike :)
 
So did we, but it soon became very clear that the only people who got to fly it were the officers (aka teachers) and the NCOs (aka teacher's pets). This meant that for most of us, the only 'pleasure' was to have to spend the afternoon doing all the work of extracting the disassembled glider from its shed, assemble it, spend several hours providing the muscle for the elastic launch rope and then take it all apart and put it away again. We developed two alternative strategies to deal with this:
- given that the launch mechanism consisted of a y-shaped elastic rope, with the base of the y attached to the glider and then two divergent ropes to be marched off with and stretched by teams of us plebs, we would agree between ourselves for one team to march off as hard as they could whilst the other sauntered off slowly. The result was a very asymmetric launch, the objective being to see if we could successfully 'convert' the glider and occupant through one of the rugby goal posts on the school paying fields that doubled as our launch site.
- alternatively draw lots as to who would be the clumsy one this week who, on extracting the glider from its storage shed for assembly, would 'accidentally' put his boot, fist, storage pole, etc. through the fabric covering of one of the wings - thereby ensuring the end of the day's activities!

I saw "our" glider launched quite a few times, with the pilots indeed either the RAF Section OIC or NCO cadets who were being groomed for a life in light blue. The grunts pulling the elastic didn't seem to enjoy the exercise.

It was, I think, one of the reasons I preferred the RN section of the CCF.........
 

HE117

LE
So did we, but it soon became very clear that the only people who got to fly it were the officers (aka teachers) and the NCOs (aka teacher's pets). This meant that for most of us, the only 'pleasure' was to have to spend the afternoon doing all the work of extracting the disassembled glider from its shed, assemble it, spend several hours providing the muscle for the elastic launch rope and then take it all apart and put it away again. We developed two alternative strategies to deal with this:
- given that the launch mechanism consisted of a y-shaped elastic rope, with the base of the y attached to the glider and then two divergent ropes to be marched off with and stretched by teams of us plebs, we would agree between ourselves for one team to march off as hard as they could whilst the other sauntered off slowly. The result was a very asymmetric launch, the objective being to see if we could successfully 'convert' the glider and occupant through one of the rugby goal posts on the school paying fields that doubled as our launch site.
- alternatively draw lots as to who would be the clumsy one this week who, on extracting the glider from its storage shed for assembly, would 'accidentally' put his boot, fist, storage pole, etc. through the fabric covering of one of the wings - thereby ensuring the end of the day's activities!
Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall that there was a stand thingy that you could hang the glider on at the point of balance, and sort of "fly" it into the wind, or at least see the effect of the controls.. As a confirmed brown job, I used to watch the blue weedies dragging the thing up and down the sides of the pitches with mild amusement..

I can never recall it achieving more than a few inches of altitude..
 

Yokel

LE
Smaller rotor diameter for a given amount of lift, so a more compact design. No t/r transmission to service/break/walk into, and more stable in the hover. Ideal for operating off ships.

edit: probably a complete barsteward to rig and track...

So why has no Western designer or navy gone for coaxial rotors? Back when the SH-3/Sea King was designed, the Sikorsky designers had a blank sheet and as far as I know, a free hand to design what they saw fit?

Does having two large rotors not increase the noise level and downdraft?

It is still fugly.
 

wildbill99

Swinger
Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall that there was a stand thingy that you could hang the glider on at the point of balance, and sort of "fly" it into the wind, or at least see the effect of the controls.. As a confirmed brown job, I used to watch the blue weedies dragging the thing up and down the sides of the pitches with mild amusement..

I can never recall it achieving more than a few inches of altitude..
On one of our asymmetric launches it did obtain enough altitude to be well above the crossbar if not quite high enough to have cleared the top of the posts. Sadly the pilot managed to steer it just enough to (barely) pass to port of the posts.
 

tiv

LE
Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to recall that there was a stand thingy that you could hang the glider on at the point of balance, and sort of "fly" it into the wind, or at least see the effect of the controls.. As a confirmed brown job, I used to watch the blue weedies dragging the thing up and down the sides of the pitches with mild amusement..

I can never recall it achieving more than a few inches of altitude..
You me this?

Dagling.jpg
 
So why has no Western designer or navy gone for coaxial rotors? Back when the SH-3/Sea King was designed, the Sikorsky designers had a blank sheet and as far as I know, a free hand to design what they saw fit?

Does having two large rotors not increase the noise level and downdraft?

It is still fugly.
Downdraft is proportional to lift, rotor diameter is limited by the requirement to keep the rotor tips subsonic, so for more lift, you need more blades in the disc (eg CH53) or blades with a greater chord (UH 1), or more rotors (Chinook). Each has its advantages and disadvantages, such as weight, complexity and performance. As for noise, you don’t need the ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ to know there’s a UH1 coming your way... Helicopter noises are often distinctive, but have one thing in common - there’s a lot of it, helicopters don’t fly, they beat the air into submission.
Fugly? Too right...
Here’s Sikorsky’s latest (coaxial rotor), the S97 ‘compound’ helicopter:
C567A2B2-02D4-4823-B681-A96F18870725.jpeg

and the Kaman K-Max:
05F5717C-FB3E-4D77-A945-B20B582A42D9.jpeg

which is pure Bauhaus - designed to place cable car pylons on the sides of Swiss mountains, rock solid in the hover, amazing visibility for the pilot and Fugly as...

ETA: 2 unmanned versions operated in Afghanistan with the USMC delivering freight (6000lb at a time) autonomously.
 
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Yokel

LE
The Kaman Sea Sprite was not exactly a looker either!

latest


Okay if it kept the hostile submarine from you, collected your mail, or flew you ashore to have your dodgy appendix removed you can be forgiven for looking at it warmly, but it has the lack of appeal that a thick girl does. The Americans never gave it a Naval Flight Officer or allowed it to operate outside of the parent ship's control.
 
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