International airlines, seeking to get first place in the rankings, never tire of enhancing their services. Some airlines are known to be the best in the world and there are Airlines considered as the top airlines around the world. But on what basis do you think the airlines are ranked “biggest”? The largest airlines can be defined in many ways, which include the number of passengers carried through the airline, the profits earned per year, the number of countries served by the airline, and the fleet size which refers to the number of aircraft operated by the airline. Fly with us to explore the 8 top airlines around the world in this article. There is a lot of interesting information here. Top 8 airlines around the world It is always questioned which airline is the most dominant airline in global travel, but the size of the companies is measured according to several factors. In general, US airlines occupy the first spot in the rankings: American Airlines - America In 2019, American Airlines, founded in 1926, generated sales of approximately $ 43.7 billion. Domestically, it is the leading airline in the United States in terms of yearly passenger numbers. In the same year, more than 65 million passengers were transported to destinations around the world in more than 50 countries. With 1789 planes, The largest fleet in the world belongs to American Airlines. This includes 328 Boeing 737s as well as 418 Airbus A320 family aircraft - including the A319, A320, and A321. Headquarter in Dallas, Texas. Delta Airlines - America It is the oldest airline still operating in the United States and is the second top airline around the world in terms of passenger numbers. The world’s second-largest fleet belongs to Delta Airlines, with a fleet of more than 850 aircraft, mainly Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. It flies to more than 300 destinations in about 52 countries. Headquarter in Atlanta, Georgia. United Airlines- America It is one of the oldest airlines in the United States and has grown to become one of the largest airlines in the world in terms of revenue and fleet size. It has a fleet of 1,229 aircraft, most of them Boeing 737s, in addition to 183 Airbus A320s, with 96 Boeing 777s. Covering about 60 countries through more than 250 destinations in Asia, America, and Europe. Headquarter in Chicago Lufthansa - Europe The German airline "Lufthansa" is one of the largest airlines in Europe in terms of passenger numbers, the number of employees, and fleet size, as it owns a fleet of more than 400 aircraft flying to 200 destinations. Lufthansa is one of the five founders of the Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance. Headquarter in Cologne, Germany Southwest Airlines - America Southwest Airlines is the world's largest low-cost airline, due to its dependence on the Boeing 737s, making the repair of every part of the aircraft easy. This company was established in 1967. The airline's aircraft fly to nearly 100 destinations on 750 planes, it carried 157 million people on international and domestic flights in 2017. Headquarters in Dallas, Texas, USA. Air France - Europe Air France has a fleet of 545 planes that fly to 314 destinations in 116 different countries through 2,200 daily flights. Most of its aircraft is Airbus. In 2017, the airline carried more than 100 million passengers, making it the leading European long-haul flight carrier. Headquarter in Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. Ethiopian Airlines The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has ranked Ethiopian Airlines as the largest airline in Africa, according to the number of passengers carried, destinations served, fleet size, revenues, and profits. As its revenue in 2017 was around $3.7 billion. It has transported more than 13.3 million passengers in the 12 months to the end of May 2019. Ethiopian Airlines, which was founded in 1945, provides regional and international passenger and cargo services to more than 83 destinations. Headquarter at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. China Southern Airlines It is the largest Chinese airline in terms of its fleet of approximately 616 aircraft - including the giant Airbus A380. It is the only carrier in China to have the A380 as part of its fleet, as well as 213 Boeing 737s and 281 Airbus A320s. Located in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province. ** This is not a complete list of the largest airlines in the world. In every country, there are many distinguished airlines. Also, this list can change from year to year as some companies can develop, while others suffer some difficulties, such as the airlines affected by Covid-19. 2020 is considered the worst year for the aviation field, due to the Coronavirus outbreak and travel restrictions. Consequently, the world's airlines are suffering many losses. To compensate for these losses, several large airlines have lowered prices for their services to the public. This is in addition to reducing the number of employees or salaries, fleet sizes, canceling expansion plans, etc. Today, airlines around the world are trying to resume business to return to normal. Read More These are the best low cost airlines in the world Luxurious flights: The best airlines in the world
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There are thousands of useful apps for pilots, from flight training and weather briefs to calculators and games. Modern digital technologies have had a massive impact on the work of pilots. Now, it is possible to keep most of the essential logs, advanced weather apps, and data logging apps in just one device! Due to the booming technological advances in mobile solutions, pilots can save their time by obtaining information about flights and airports and even receiving warnings with just a few clicks of the buttons on their smartphones. Take a look at one of the most advanced mobile apps which can help pilots with their daily tasks. The list below contains top apps for pilots, the ones we see in use most often, and they are worth considering on any pilot's tablet device. 1.ForeFlight This is one of the apps that provide pilots with a wide range of services such as flight planning, charts, document management, flight logging, weather, airport information, artificial vision, and more. The unique feature of ForeFlight is the Trip Assistant, which takes the trip planning experience to another level. Trip Assistant quickly measures complete door-to-door flight time, including information about gas stops, airport driving, and flight times. Unfortunately, this app is only available on iOS devices such as the iPad or iPhone and not for android devices. 2. The AOPA Magazine App The magazine app supported by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) gives simple access to digital editions of the AOPA Pilot and Flight Training magazines. AOPA Mags app is available on Android and iOS devices. The app is free, but you must be a member of AOPA and have a digital magazine subscription to access its content. The AOPA Mags app provides the latest space-related news and interesting content to their main audience - the Flyers. 3. Garmin Pilot Available on Apple devices, this app is the perfect portable companion for flight crews. Plan a trip by accessing comprehensive global weather data like TAFs, SIGMETs, METARs, NOTAMs, and live lightning data. The Garmin Pilot app helps to easily present a trip plan by saving the information to the cloud. The user does not need to re-enter the same information if they are using a different device. Also, the app allows users to view electronic checklists. Pilots can choose or manually type in aircraft data into the Garmin Pilot. Once the device establishes a wireless connection to the aircraft, the app transfers the up-to-date database directly to compatible avionics systems within a few moments. 4. MyRadar This free app is simple, yet fast and easy to use. MyRadar displays a redundant NEXRAD radar for the entire US that's easy to zoom in - perfect for pre-test weather briefs. It even includes some nice added flying features, like TFRs, AIR / SIGMET overlays, and path overlays based on N numbers. We've seen everyone from airline pilots to paraglider pilots use this app. 5. FlyQ InSight Forget any kind of trouble finding information about airports. FlyQ InSight combines airport information, flight planning, weather conditions, and even fuel prices in one mobile app. The augmented reality flight and space app provides the possibility to use your phone's camera as a device to find airports. In addition, FlyQ InSight displays information about the nearest airports within seconds of scanning the area around you. The app is available on iPhone and iPad devices. 6. CloudAhoy This app is an excellent choice for flight instructors and post-flight debriefing. CloudAhoy collects flight information, including airport data, weather, aircraft log, and other important data. The main focus of CloudAhoy is to analyze various data sources and turn them into background information. CloudAhoy is available on all mobile devices and desktop devices. 7. LogTen Pro This app is powered by Coradine Aviation, and also it is considered as one of the most advanced electronic logbooks that is available on a mobile device. Experience fast flight recording and detailed flight time analysis. Moreover, LogTen Pro monitors all incoming flights and warns the pilot of any potential issues. LogTen Pro is available on iOS devices. 8. RosterBuster RosterBuster makes it easy to track your aviation career with statistics about your flights and duties. Also, the app allows you to check all necessary information like KCM, Wx, METAR, TAF, and NOTAM for any airport in the world. Moreover, RosterBuster supports more than 500 airlines. RosterBuster is available on Android and iOS devices. 9. ForeFlight Passenger This is a free app is one of the best apps for pilots and it is a companion app to the main ForeFlight EFB app, it answers a common question such as "When will we get there?", and it simply answers due to the location of the plane, altitude, path, and remaining time when the app is connected to another device in the cockpit that's running ForeFlight. Definitely worth a try if you travel a lot with the same passengers. Also, Read: Captain pilot: A glimpse into the life of pilots Become the next one: Famous Arab pilots
There is no doubt that the potential of solar flights and solar powered airplanes has gained momentum with the completion of Solar Impulse 1 and 2, the outcomes of the eponymous solar airplane project. However, the usage of solar flights is not a too-recent trend in aviation. Sure, the ongoing modern global direction towards renewable and clean energy has helped accelerated its progress, but the fact of the matter is that the first successful solar powered flight to ever take place happened more than 4 decades ago. And we say successful because reports of early attempts to fly aircraft using electricity date back to the 19th century. Here, we demonstrate the history of solar aircraft from the date of the earliest known successful solar flight till today, as well as the foreseen future of this field. Mauro Solar Riser Although Mauro Solar Riser was the first manned airplane to do a solar flight, it is not the first solar powered airplane to fly in history. On 4 November 1974, AstroFlight Sunrise took off unmanned from Bicycle Lake in California state. The earliest prototype of AstroFlight successfully completed 27 flights. Four years later, on April 29, 1979, Mauro Solar Riser, manned by its eponymous designer Larry Mauro, took off from Flabob Airport in Riverside, California to become the first manned solar aircraft to ever fly. How did Mauro Solar Riser work? The aircraft was powered by a 3.5 hp Bosch motor connected to a 30V nickel-cadmium battery pack which was in turn charged by photovoltaic solar panel array installed on its top wing to provide 350 Watts. Manufactured by Ultralight Flying Machines, Solar Riser was capable of flying for 3 to 5 minutes after having its cells charged for 1.5 hours; the aircraft’s speed could reach up to 32 kilometers per hour. Solar One: Even though the first Solar One aircraft was produced in December 1978, four months before the take-off of Mauro Solar Riser, it did not take off before June 1979. With the total production cost of 16,000 euros, the most expensive component of Solar One was its 750-solar cell array whose value alone mounted up to 6,000 euros. Piloted by Ken Stewart, Solar One took off in its first successful attempt on 13 June 1979 where it flew at 65 kilometers per hour for around 1.2 kilometers. The second flight for Solar One took place on the same day, where it was manned by Bill Maidment who flew it at its maximum speed, 78 kilometers per hour. How did Solar One work? Solar One had four Bosch motors installed - each with a power of 1 hp, which were wired to a 24-cell battery pack charged by the aforementioned solar cell array. Solair 1: A made-in-Germany solar aircraft, Solair 1 utilized 2,499 solar cells with a capacity that ranges between 2.4hp and 3.0hp. The first trip of the first prototype of Solair took place on 21 August 1983, and it lasted for 5 hours and 40 minutes. The prototype is now displayed in the German Museum in Munich. ERAST: Over the 90s, NASA has launched many lesser-known solar empowered aviation ventures and projects as a part of its Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology program (ERAST). With the aim of developing low-cost unmanned electric airplanes to take out science missions like communication support and atmospheric studies at altitudes of more than 60,000 feet, ERAST produced several solar-empowered aircraft. The first outcome of the program, Pathfinder, has set a record for an altitude of solar-empowered airplanes in 1995 by flying at 50,000 feet for 12 hours. Two years later, Pathfinder broke its own record by flying at 71,530 feet. In 1998, Pathfinder Plus broke the record of its predecessor by achieving an altitude of 80,000 feet. Helios, the last model developed by ERAST two years before its termination in 2003, traversed the sky at an altitude of 96,963 feet. Solar Impulse - the Present and Future: In the recent rise of and need for clean energy, the Swiss project known as Solar Impulse was launched in 2003 by Swiss engineer André Borschberg and balloonist Bertrand Piccard; the program’s objective was to develop single-seated fixed-wing solar powered airplanes that have the ability to circumnavigate the globe. Test Flights: Solar Impulse 1, the first prototype of the project, completed its first test flight in December 2009 covering a distance of 350 meters about 1 meter above the ground. The flight’s goal was to test the aircraft’s specifications. The real test for Solar Impulse 1 came around four months later, on April 2010, when Marcus Scherdel piloted it for 87 minutes at an altitude of 1,200 feet. In the following months, the prototype succeeded in making the first trip in which it charged its batteries within the flight (May 2010) as well as completing its first overnight trip which lasted for 26 straight hours at an altitude of 8,600 meters, setting the record back then as both the longest and highest manned solar powered flight to be made. First International Flight: Almost one year later, on 13 May 2011, Solar Impulse 1 took off from Switzerland towards Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, in its first international flight. The trip spanned 13 hours where the airplane traversed a distance of 630 kilometers with an average speed of 50 kilometers per hour and an average altitude of 1,800 meters. Madrid - Rabat: The first intercontinental flight for Solar Impulse 1 took place on June 2012 when the solar powered airplane flew from Madrid, Spain to Rabat, Morocco in a 19-hour flight. Specifications of Solar Impulse 1: Solar Impulse 1 utilized 4 electric motors powered by 4 Lithium-Ion batteries, each with a capacity of 7.5 kilowatts; the batteries were charged by 11,600 solar cells installed on the aircraft’s upper wing. The airplane’s speed could reach up to 70 kilometers per hour, with an endurance of 36 hours and a maximum altitude of 12,000 meters. Solar Impulse 2: In 2011, the Solar Impulse program began working on building its second eponymous aircraft and completed it in three years. Solar Impulse 2 featured many advanced technologies and specifications that were not in its predecessors like an autopilot system and an oxygen mask, enabling the airplane to fly at an altitude that can reach up to 12,000 feet. As for performance specifications, Solar Impulse 2 was considered a significant leap forward for solar powered airplanes. The aircraft has a maximum speed of 140 kilometers per hour, almost double that of Solar Impulse 1. This was made possible by the aircraft’s upgraded power plant which comprised four electric motors connected to four lithium-ion batteries charged by 17,248 solar cells installed on its 72 meters long wing. Test Flights: Solar Impulse 2’s first take-off occurred in 2014, where it reached an altitude of 1,700 meters and traveled at an average ground speed of 56 kilometers per hour. In October of the same year, Solar Impulse 2 completed both its first night flight and its first flight at maximum altitude. World Circumnavigation: Between the years 2015 and 2016, Solar Impulse 2 headlined the global aviation industry news when it embarked on a round-the-world circumnavigation which started on 9 March 2015 and concluded on 23 July 2016. Over the course of 490 days, the solar powered Solar Impulse 2 traveled an accumulated distance of 43,000 kilometers in a total flight time of 550 hours (22 days and 22 hours) during which it produced 11,000-kilowatt hours. In the tour, Solar Impulse 2 traveled across 18 cities located in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America and over two oceans (the Pacific and the Atlantic) and three seas (the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, and the Arabian Sea). Sure enough, Solar Impulse’s circumnavigation has broken 19 records, including the Longest Solo Flight in an Airplane which was set by the aircraft’s flight from Japan to Hawaii, piloted by André Borschberg. Future of Solar Impulse: In 2016, the program announced its plans to develop a third Solar Impulse airplane that would be able to accomplish some of the tasks usually done by satellites. It is still unclear when we should expect to see the new prototype. Advantages of Solar Powered Airplanes: 1- Environment-friendly: Clearly, the biggest advantage of solar powered flights, and the factual main purpose of developing them is that they depend on a clean form of energy that causes zero harm to the environment. 2- Free Energy Source: Solar energy is a clean, free, and renewable source of energy, which gives it a grand advantage over fossil fuel. Disadvantages of Solar Powered Airplanes: 1- Weather Dependency: Though this is true for all types of aircraft, weather changes impact traditional flights to a less extent than it does solar powered flights. While the weather can delay the schedule of traditional aircraft or make flying it a more difficult task, solar powered aircraft will not be able to fly except in specific weather conditions - especially in long-distance flights as it would need to recharge while it is up in the air. 2- Expensive Equipment: While the energy source in itself is essentially free, the equipment and technologies required to harness and utilize solar energy are extremely expensive considering the scale on which it would need to be used to fly single-rider aircraft, let alone the commercial-use airplanes. Conclusion: The shift towards renewable energy sources generally, and in the aviation industry specifically, is indeed a positive step towards preserving the environment and decelerating climate change. However, solar powered airplanes have a very long way to go before they can act as a complete alternative for fossil fuels. That being said, solar aircraft in its current and predicted future forms, can still be useful in fields like atmospheric research and communications. We can always use less consumed fossil fuels.
Until May 2019, a total of 8,845 aircraft belonging to the Airbus A320 family have been sold and delivered, and a total of 8,439 of said aircraft are still in service. This makes the A320 the fastest-selling jet airliner family in the world, as well as the best-selling single generation aircraft program. The A320 family has proved popular with both legacy airlines and low-cost carriers, but why is that? Out of all the aircraft in the world, what makes the A320 that special? Why is it that popular? Let’s learn more about the most commonly used airplane in the world and find out. Meet the family members Manufactured by Airbus, the A320 family are commercial passenger twin-engine jet airliners that can accommodate up to 236 passengers. The family comprises the A318, A319, A320, A321, and the ACJ business jet. After the introduction of the A320neo (new engine option), the A320 became known as A320ceo (current engine option). The most widely spread aircraft family in the world, an A320 takes off or lands every 1.6 seconds. The versatile family can take off and land anywhere, and that’s why it has been to every continent in the world. Airbus A318 The A318 is the smallest member of the Airbus A320 family in terms of size and passenger capacity, it can carry up to 132 passengers. The aircraft may be smaller than other family members, however, it is the largest commercial airplane certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for steep approach operations, which allows the plane to take and land at airports such as London City. Airbus A318 shares a common type rating with all other A320 family members, which allows A320 certified pilots to fly the aircraft without the need for further training or other certificates. Airbus A319 A shortened-fuselage family member, the A319's wingspan is wider its overall length. The aircraft can carry up to 160 passengers. Up until 2019, the Airbus A319 has been in service with 108 operators. And due to its shorter fuselage and sleek design, it is the most popular Airbus A320 family member to be operated as a private jet. The A319 shares a common type rating with other family members, no further training or other certificates needed for type-rated pilots to fly it. Airbus A321 The Airbus A321 is a stretched fuselage variant of the A320 family. With an impressive length that exceeds 44.5m, the A321 is the largest variant of the A320 family. Airbus A321 aircraft are in service with more than 100 operators, with American Airlines and China Southern Airlines operating the largest fleets. Just like A318 and A319, A321 shares a common type rating with the rest of the family, allowing pilots to fly the aircraft with no extra training. Airbus A320 launched in 1984, the A320 made its first flight with launch customer Air France in 1987. Technically, The A320 has two variants, the A320-100, and the A320-200, but in fact, Only 21 A320-100s were ever produced. The main differences between the two variants are wingtip fences intended to minimize drag and increase wing efficiency and also the A320-200 features more fuel capacity. In a nutshell, the A320 is a medium-range, single-aisle jet designed to compete in the 130 to 170-seat market. New technology The most renowned aspect of the aircraft is the adoption of fly-by-wire, which is a technology that was previously reserved for high-performance military jets and the supersonic Concorde. Fly-by-wire technology replaces the physical cables and pulleys used to control older generation aircraft with computers that interpret and relay the pilot's input to the plane's control surfaces. Another new technology used in the aircraft is flight envelope protection, which is a safety system designed to prevent the aircraft from flying beyond its performance capabilities. And one of the most useful innovations in this plane was that Airbus launched cockpit commonality for Airbus with this aircraft. Since the launch of A320, Airbus started to unify its cockpits designs to be similar in operation. That is why pilots to transition between different Airbus models with the same Type Rating. Best exploitation of space The A320 Family features a great storage option; the A320 is the only single-aisle aircraft that is able to load large containers on the lower deck. Add to that the outward-opening cargo doors and large cargo compartment cross-section, and you get the best possible design to maximizes the usable cargo volume. In addition to that, the airplane cabin boasts large overhead storage bins which are capable of holding eight bags instead of the standard five. This makes the aircraft a favorite among all airlines, it gives them the best option to transfer passengers and cargo together. The main competitor The main competitor to the A320 would be the Boeing 737. It is noteworthy to mention that if we looked at the total number of aircraft sold the 737 would be the most globally sold airplane in aviation history. However, the 737 was launched two decades before the A320. Since the A320 was launched in 1984 until now, it has outdone the Boeing in sales. From 1984 to 2019, the A320 has outsold the 737 by 438 planes. To learn more about training for Airbus A320 see also: TYPE RATING
Engineers sometimes design and build an unusual aircraft for some reason or another, to prove a point, to research aerodynamics, or to see if it would fly better than a usual one. These weird airplanes are often seen as a novelty or a quirky invention, then they are documented and usually forgotten. Unlike normal airplanes, the focus on these unusual aircraft is often not practicality. The focus is mostly on testing a new theory to see if it would work, sometimes the theory does not work well and the aircraft does not fly at all, and sometimes it does but the cost is too high to experiment more on the subject. Such planes always end up in some sort of an aviation museum, kept as a novelty for the generations to come. Let’s take a look at some of the strangest airplanes that have ever flown in the skies. Some of these unusual aircraft did not fly for long, but they have all been tested, and all of them could indeed fly. Nemuth Parasol [caption id="attachment_2112" align="alignnone" width="949"] Nemuth Parasol[/caption] In 1934, students at Miami University decided to build this aircraft to demonstrate that a circular wing could indeed fly a plane. One prototype was made and tested, the unusual aircraft did, in fact, fly decently, and the circular wing provided a dreamy parachute-like landing. But the project did not go any further. Too bad as the Nemeth Umbrella Plane looked like a hybrid between a helicopter and a flying saucer. EDGLEY OPTICA [caption id="attachment_2114" align="alignnone" width="949"] EDGLEY OPTICA[/caption] Intended for low-speed observation work, this unusual aircraft was designed as a cheaper alternative to helicopters that allows for better vision with a focus on slow-flying capabilities. The British inventor John Edgley designed and built the original prototype in 1974. He then started his company, Edgley Aircraft Limited with a small team, the first one flew in 1979. Thanks to its weird design, the airplane has been nicknamed bug-eye. Nonetheless, this same bizarre design is what gives it a 270° panoramic vision and almost vertical downward vision. Plus, the cockpit canopy design allows photography through the panels. The small airplane barely has enough space for two passengers in addition to the pilot. It is considered the quietest powered aircraft in the world. Antonov An-74 [caption id="attachment_2116" align="alignnone" width="949"] Antonov An-74[/caption] Nicknamed Cheburashka after a famous animated character, the large engine intake ducts of the aircraft certainly do look like oversized ears. The plane, which has been operating since 1977, offers more than cute looks, it is capable of operating in harsh weather conditions in polar regions. It is one of the few planes that can operate in the Arctic and Antarctic environments. This is due to some helpful gadgets featured in the plane like wheel-skis landing gear and de-icing equipment. If you are looking for an airplane that can land well on ice, you can charter an Antonov An-74 from an air charter service. Sikorsky S-72 [caption id="attachment_2117" align="alignnone" width="949"] Sikorsky S-72[/caption] This experimental hybrid, titled Sikorsky X-Wing after the Star Wars fighter, is a mix of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft. It was developed by Sikorsky Aircraft. The airplane was designed and built to combine the speed of a jet with the vertical takeoff abilities of a helicopter. However, the program, which was started for pure research purposes, was canceled in 1988. Rutan Boomerang [caption id="attachment_2118" align="alignnone" width="949"] Rutan Boomerang[/caption] Designed and built by Burt Rutan, The Rutan Model 202 Boomerang is a multi-engine aircraft designed to combat engine failure because even if one of the engines failed it would not become dangerously difficult to control the aircraft due to asymmetric thrust. This gives a very distinct appearance to the airplane. Two fuselages, one bigger than the other, with wings facing forward, this is indeed one unusual aircraft. It may look very bizarre, but the asymmetrical design allows the Boomerang to fly faster. And the plane was never intended for commercial use anyway, the 5 place light twin was intended for personal transportation. The Boomerang is simply a very unique private plane. Lockheed Martin P-791 [caption id="attachment_2119" align="alignnone" width="949"] Lockheed Martin P-791[/caption] Is it an airship? Is it an airplane? No, it’s the Lockheed Martin P-791! This aircraft is built for sustainability, it can fly longer routes for less fuel. this Hybrid Airship burns less than one-tenth the fuel of a helicopter per ton, and can easily land anywhere. That is why the producers of the technology hope that it will replace jeeps and trucks in sending cargo and transferring people to remote areas with no airports. This aircraft may look weird, but according to the company, it is faster and cheaper than land and sea transportation systems, especially for remote areas with little to no infrastructure. 377PG: The Pregnant Guppy [caption id="attachment_2120" align="alignnone" width="949"] 377PG: The Pregnant Guppy[/caption] Built from parts of Boeing airplanes as well as some new parts, the Pregnant Guppy is designed and built to carry irregularly shaped cargo for NASA. The designer of this unusual aircraft, John Conroy, had the idea when he heard that it takes 18 days for NASA to transfer space shuttle parts. He built the aircraft from parts of other planes, tried it, and then sold it to NASA. This type of aircraft is called Frankenplane because it is made of parts of other airplanes. Actually many people thought the project was ridiculous and the Guppy would never land safely. But to their surprise, the plane continued to work so well that a successor was designed and built, Super Guppy! Super Guppy features a 25-feet high, 25-feet wide, and 111-feet long cargo bay. This simply means that the aircraft boasts 39,000 cubic feet of usable space. Short SKYVAN [caption id="attachment_2121" align="alignnone" width="949"] Short SKYVAN[/caption] Built for function with total disregard for aesthetics, people have often made fun of this general-purpose aircraft, they have called it names like “Flying Shoebox” and “The Shed”, but the Skyvan has definitely proven value over the years. The plane that took its first flight in 1963, is still used today for transferring cargo and passengers. The 19-seat aircraft features a van-like large rear door for loading and unloading freight. This makes it very efficient for short-haul flights, sky diving activities and much more. Dornier Aerodyne [caption id="attachment_2122" align="alignnone" width="949"] Dornier Aerodyne[/caption] This unusual aircraft looks like the rear part of an airplane as if someone has cut an aircraft in half and only left one half. Bizarrely though, it can fly! The weird invention was tested, it was remotely controlled and flew without a pilot. The first flight took place on 18 September 1972. The wingless aircraft was designed by Alexander Lippisch. According to Lippisch, with the right amount of thrust, a modified Aerodyne might be capable of supersonic flight. He never got to test that theory though as the project was stopped. To learn more about unusual aircraft see also: Giant airplanes: the biggest airplanes in the world References: https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/g1420/17-bizarre-aircraft-we-love-and-the-stories-behind-them/ https://www.aircharterservice.com/aircraft-guide/cargo/antonov-ukraine/antonovan-74 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgley_Optica https://interestingengineering.com/meet-the-guppy-and-the-largest-aircraft-in-the-world https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_SC.7_Skyvan https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/products/hybrid-airship.html
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