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
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!
KT-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
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
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
War and peace and stupidity in the nuclear age.
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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 www.suburban-poverty.com
Even weirder with the An-225, it would appear from looking at the photo that all of the bogies are different. Unbelievable.
I can’t believe that the ludicrous hydroplane Grumman Goose http://atomictoasters.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Hydrofoil-Grumman-2.jpg and overly squidgy air-cushion equipped XC-8 Buffalo http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/Visschedijk/7012L-1.jpg are missing from this list. Otherwise: excellent work. Carry on.
Those are fantastique undercarriages my friend. Listing involves some ugly choices but from that pain comes an opportunity to learn:
Whaaaat? B-58 didn’t make this list?