In days of old, when knights were bold, dozens of new types of aeroplane flew each year. By the 1990s one new type flew every five years if you were lucky, and was so well promoted, that you were bored of the damned thing before it even entered service. Like rare, commercially unsuccessful vinyl ’45s, these less than universal aeroplanes have a special appeal all of their own. This fine kedgeree of obscure ’40s aircraft share two things: obscurity (or just plain weirdness) and a long, awful or boring name. Speaking of which, my favourite uninspiring aircraft name is the Aviation Traders Accountant.
Let us enter the charity shop of history, ignore the smell of death and dust, and see what we can buy for £4.
10. Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express
Why take the guns off a plane in a war, not to mention putting seats where the bombs are supposed to be?
9. North American P-82 Twin Mustang
Before Photoshop, aircraft manufacturers had to actually make insane ‘planes. A P-82 was produced when one P-51 egg was fertilized by two P-38 sperm.
8. Marinens Flyvebaatfabrikk M.F.10
It’s kind of like a Swordfish only made in Norway.
7. Canadian Car and Foundry FDB-1
Holy shit, eh!
Do not click here as it leads to more dangerously addictive aviation top tens, including: The 10 Best fighters of 1985, 10 Worst carrier aircraft of all time and the ten best fictional aircraft. I repeat, do not click or you’ll lose ten minutes when you should be working.
6. Stampe et Vertongen SV.5 Tornado
Wasn’t this kite on here once before already? The original Tornado was also useless above 30,000 feet.
5. Lockheed XP-58 Chain Lightning
4. Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
3. General Aircraft Fleet Shadower
I am a monster- please kill me master, it hurts to live!
2. Consolidated XP4Y Corregidor
We didn’t say it had to fight in the war, it just had to be from around that time. Corregidor iswhere
1. General Airborne Transport XCG-16
Proper ‘Popular Science’ cover looks, but there isn’t even an engine. Was later used as a microphone by Buddy Holly.
Bonus aircraft: 11. McDonnell XJHJ Whirlaway
By Stephen Caulfield & Joe Coles
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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
The bizarre story of Britain’s advanced cancelled Planet Satellite here.
Follow my vapour trail on Twitter: @Hush_kit
Guide to surviving aviation forums here
You should also enjoy some more of our articles: There’s a whole feast of features, including the 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.