3D Robotics

Book recommendation: The World's Worst Aircraft

I noticed this book on the bargain shelf of Barnes and Nobel and picked it up--I haven't been able to put it down since. It's a terrific romp through 150 of the worst aircraft designs in history, but what it really is a catalog of all-too-common engineering errors, such as:

  • Solutions looking for problems (such as jetpacks and the Hillar hovering sniper platform)
  • Engineers designing planes with no sense of what pilots wanted
  • Dependencies on exotic fuels that aren't available
  • The "Gillette problem" of adding more wings than the last guy, including some crazy 8-wing things
  • Delivering so late that the need is gone.
It's beautifully illustrated and very funny, thanks to the sparking writing of Jim Winchester. And the stories are hilarious. Here's my favorite passage, about the ME 163 Komet, an experimental German rocket plane:

"The fuels in the Komet were highly corrosive and would dissolve organic material (such as the pilot). To avoid this, the pilots would wear special asbestos-fiber suits"

Kill you now or kill you later ;-)

Highly recommended!

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  • Do modern pylon racers end in spectacular fatal crashes too? :)
  • The geebee ws a leading edge design for one purpose: pylon racing. I would like to see this plane up against the stuff they race today. It might shock you.
  • The Caproni seemed to be trying to make a deadlier GeeBee, : )
    I like the Goblin myself, talk about tricky landings.
  • my favorite selections on this book.... Caproni Stipa (1932) and Christmas Bullet (1918) jajajajajajajajaja what where they thinking?????
  • The problem the Nazis had was over engineering everything which greatly reduced production of everything. Slave labor was for menial and labor intensive tasks not engineering and mechanics. Had the NAZIS not been so nit-picky they would have had 10 times as many tanks and aircraft and the world history would be much different today. We are very lucky that they were anal retentive, genocidal maniacs,
  • 3D Robotics
    The ">GOV" that Jack was referring to were the Nazis. The Komet was a WWII German aircraft.
  • And they made it home. We have come a long way, and we're still here!
  • Jack, Stop knockkkin the >GOV. They put men on the moon before you crapped your /.,??><<>
  • Wanna ride a tank full of hydrazine hydrate built for the lowest bidder by slave labor?
  • You made me go get this book. Great stuff!!!! Thanks.
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