The 10 most bonkers undercarriages


As the internet heaves under the combined weight of a billion pointless top tens, we decide to make matters worse.

What goes up must come down.  And what you come down on matters, not just for size or number of wheels either.  Points are awarded for ingenuity in this rubbery gallery of the most bizarre landing gears not created by the ale-raddled brain of Heath Robinson.

10. Antonov An-225

Antonov 225

Seven pairs aside for the main gear on this six-engine monster.  That’s what I call landing gear, people.  Did we say it’s not always about numbers?  Sometimes too much is just enough.

9. Convair F2Y Sea Dart


Twin hydro-skis.
 Water operations can be tricky, but sweet sufferin’ crap, it’s like some kind of crazed robot insect!

8.  Lockheed Constellation/C-121


Legs right up to her neck: excuse us if we stare a little Baby, we just can’t help it.

(Ed. That’s more than a little creepy Stephen)

7.  Grumman F4F-3S Wildcatfish


More struts than some biplanes, less climb, less mph.  Who’d go and wreck a perfectly cute, perfectly good naval fighter like this?  Aviation is a lot like life, sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Those floats are longer than the fuselage.

6. Junkers Ju-87 Stuka


Look, if  you really must machine gun defenceless refugee columns while flying with a fixed undercarriage at least let it have some sexy Art Deco fairings on it. (Stephen! This is in extremely poor taste)

5.  Boeing B-52 Stratofortress


There is always, always, a reason to put the BUFF someplace in a top ten flying machines list.  If you can’t find one, make it up!
 Now, most aircraft can land crab-wise by a few degrees to suit wind conditions.  This thing’s main gear is designed to crab 15 degrees, and there’s, like, a ton of it.  Eight huge main wheels and two little outrigger wheels under each wing.  Vintage undercarriage porn bonus: X-15 nose gear.

 (Again Stephen, getting a little creepy, Ed)

4. Tanks for the memories!

Soviet glider tankKT-40, sometimes called the A-40, sometimes called the Flying Exemplification of All Mental Illnesses.  
Okay, we made that nickname up – but if you’d been there in ’41 comrade, you’d have pretty much tried anything too.

3. Arado Ar 232 Tausendfussler

Arado 232

What, are you blind?   Oh, and it means centipede, the perfect machine for not flying anywhere near enough supplies into a kessel some place.

2. Blackburn B.20

Blackburn B20

Retractable-hulled flying boat. 
You know, before you mock an aeroplane you should look up how many people got hurt or killed testing the prototype.
 Quite how Blackburn got given some many contracts is beyond me.

1. Experimental tracked main gear fitted to a Convair B-36 Peacemaker

B-36 tracked main gear

War and peace and stupidity in the nuclear age.

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Have a look at 10 worst British military aircraftSu-35 versus Typhoon10 Best fighters of World War II top WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes. Was the Spitfire overrated? Want something more bizarre? The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians. 

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Stephen Caulfield cleans limousines around the corner from what was once the Avro Canada plant.  He appreciates writing, art, aeroplanes and the tragic nature of modernity in pretty much equal parts these days.  His blog is


  1. Biggles

    Even weirder with the An-225, it would appear from looking at the photo that all of the bogies are different. Unbelievable.

    • Stephen

      Those are fantastique undercarriages my friend. Listing involves some ugly choices but from that pain comes an opportunity to learn:

  2. Pingback: “Land rules don’t apply and the little nuts just don’t soak up all that booze”: A history of aviation by someone who knows nothing and hasn’t even googled it | Hush-Kit

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