The Good, the Bad and the Weird: Strange Planes

How does aerial refueling work? What about unmanned drones? Take a close-up look at planes the Wright brothers never dreamed of in this Discovery playlist.

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Strange Places: Superfortress Air to Air Refueling

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn how the B-29 Superfortress was refueled in the air during World War II.


On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn how the B-29 Superfortress was refueled in the air during World War II.
1:55

Strange Places: Superfortress Air to Air Refueling

This strange plane had a porous wing design meant to reduce air drag, ultimately it was too expensive. Learn more about this experimental aircraft on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:46

Strange Planes Shorts: X 21A Experimental Aircraft

In 1929 the famous Question Mark was refueled in the air 43 times making air-to-air refueling a reality. Learn more about aerial refueling on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:14

Strange Planes: Aerial Refueling

Without air-to-air refueling, missions over North Vietnam could not have been flown. Learn about the significance of air-to-air refueling in the Vietnam War on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:38

Strange Planes: Aerial Refueling in the Vietnam War

A mutant of the B-29, this Aero Spacelines carrier can transport other planes even rockets in its interior. Learn more about this giant plane on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:20

Strange Planes: Aero Spacelines

In World War II, it became clear that the ability to rain bombs onto an enemy was only useful if the enemy did not control his airspace. Learn more about aerial battles during World War II on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:21

Strange Planes: Air Supremacy in World War II

In the late 1940s, air-to-air refueling first had to be tested on the ground before pilots risked their lives in the air. Watch footage of early ground tests on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:40

Strange Planes: Air to Air Refueling Ground Tests

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," watch a test trial of the Boeing KC-97 Stratotanker as it attempts to refuel a jet in the air.
2:47

Strange Planes: Air to Air Refueling Test

Most aircraft go through several stages during their production lives. Learn about these mutations on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:35

Strange Planes: Aircraft Mutation

As the height of planes increased, new emergency ejection methods had to be created. Learn more about autogyro ejection systems in this clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:07

Strange Planes: Autogyro Ejection System

On Discovery Channel's "Weekend Wings," learn about the missions of the B-36 Peacemaker and why it was required to put sleeping quarters inside the plane for its crew.
0:44

Strange Planes: B-36 Peacemaker Missions

During WWII England faced an onslaught of Nazi U-boats and had to devise ways to stop them or be conquered. Learn more on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:53

Strange Planes: Battle of the Atlantic Strategies

The main focus of the Bell X13 experiment by the U.S. Air Force was reaction controls for jet aircraft. Learn more in this video from Discovery Channel's series, "Strange Planes."
2:25

Strange Planes: Bell X13

In this clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," meet the Bell XP-77, a lightweight craft that was designed to be faster and more economical than other fighter planes.
2:54

Strange Planes: Bell XP-77

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about blimps and battleships, two warfare machines that have been left behind.
2:09

Strange Planes: Blimps and Battleships

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," discover how normal planes become airborne off a short boat deck.
2:37

Strange Planes: Catapult Planes

In the 1950s, the U.S. military's attempt to build a flying saucer led to the creation of the Avro Car. Learn more about the construction of the Avro Car on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:50

Strange Planes: Construction of the Avro Car

The history of the Cuban missile crisis is explained. President John F. Kennedy addresses the Soviet threat and orders a naval blockade around Cuba. Learn more in this clip from Discovery Channel's series, "Strange Planes."
2:05

Strange Planes: Cuban Missile Crisis

These obscure planes never made it to full production. Learn more about some discarded flight oddities in this segment from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:57

Strange Planes: Discarded Flight Oddities

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about early designs for bomber planes, such as the Barling Bomber, which were developed during World War I.
1:26

Strange Planes: Early Bombers

Learn more about the evolution of U.S. Navy sea planes in this video from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:56

Strange Planes: Early Sea Planes

Learn how the early seaplanes were utilized as a valuable naval tool on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:56

Strange Planes: Early Seaplanes

During WWI the United States saw the development of the first flying bomb. Learn more about this plane on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:26

Strange Planes: Early Target Drones

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn how the development of aircraft carriers brought about the end of battleships.
1:02

Strange Planes: End of the Battleship Era

The Question Mark aircraft was one of the first used to experiment with air-to-air refueling. On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about the first trial runs of the Question Mark.
1:15

Strange Planes: Evaluating the Question Mark

It wasn't until the Vietnam War that the demand for an agile, economical fighter arose. Find out how the F-16 Fighting Falcon answered the call in this clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:02

Strange Planes: F16 Fighting Falcon

The Fisher P-75 Eagle fighter plane was a mutt, comprised of parts from other models. Watch this clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes" to find out why this strange plane never really took off.
2:55

Strange Planes: Fisher P-75 Eagle

In the 1950s the United States military attempted to build a space age aircraft called the Avro Car. The Avro Car was a failure, but it led to the creation of the hovercraft. Learn more about the Avro Car on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:01

Strange Planes: Flaws of the Avro Car

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," the need for air-to-air refueling gave a new set of considerations to the design of fuel systems and fuel storage.
2:49

Strange Planes: Fuel Storage Made for Aerial Refueling

Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology consists of an advanced jet core which can be altered for various testing. Learn more about this technology on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:33

Strange Planes: Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology

Developed in the 1950s, the Hiller VZ-1 Pawnee, or Hiller Flying Platform, was developed to give soldiers a new form of personal transport. Learn more about the Hiller Flying Platform on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:28

Strange Planes: Hiller Flying Platform

The Hover Rig was a test aircraft that was ultimately unsuccessful. Learn more about the design of this vertical take off fighter on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
0:40

Strange Planes: Hover Rig

On Discovery Channel's "Weekday Wings," discover some of the first pusher helicopters to ever take to the skies such as the Huey Cobra.
2:38

Strange Planes: Huey Cobra and Pusher Helicopters

Aerial refueling might be a daily routine, but it is never an easy task. Watch as a military jet is refueled on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:28

Strange Planes: In Flight Refueling Procedures

The most interesting plane mutations occur within the same type of plane, generally to fill new roles or to use new technologies. Learn more about plane mutations on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:33

Strange Planes: Interesting Plane Mutations

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about the important invention of the steam powered catapult and how it led to the development of more effective jets.
2:59

Strange Planes: Invention of the Steam Catapult

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," the Japanese kamikaze fighters exacted a deadly toll on U.S. fleets in the Pacific during World War II.
1:15

Strange Planes: Japanese Kamikaze

Air-to-air refueling becomes extremely cumbersome when the two planes are not matched in speed. Learn more about air-to-air refueling on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:38

Strange Planes: Jet Struggles to Get Aerial Refueling

The Vought OS2U Kingfisher seaplane was a useful aircraft until WWII rolled around. Find out why the Kingfisher became obsolete in this video clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:49

Strange Planes: Kingfisher Holdout From Another Era

A plane launched by rubber band? Discover how catapult float planes were launched and became a fixture on U.S. battleships in this video from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:30

Strange Planes: Launching Catapult Float Planes

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," watch and learn about the early methods used for launching seaplanes.
1:30

Strange Planes: Launching Seaplanes

The first tests of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle were carefully gauged so as to best mimic the real gravity conditions that astronauts might face on the moon. Watch the LLRV test flight in this clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:05

Strange Planes: LLRV Test Flight

On Discovery Channel's "Weekday Wings," the Cheyenne helicopter design was unique for its day in that it had a pusher propeller to boost high speed performance.
2:56

Strange Planes: Lockheed Cheyenne

The directors of the Lockheed X-7 project give insight into the evolution of pilotless planes. Learn more about pilotless planes on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:58

Strange Planes: Lockheed X-7 Project

Extensive tests were done to ensure the X-7s success in warfare. Learn more about the X-7 on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:59

Strange Planes: Lockheed X-7 Trials

The Lunar Landing Research Vehicle was a vital link in the technological chain that made lunar landing a reality. Learn more about the LLRV in this episode of the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:52

Strange Planes: Lunar Landing Research Vehicle

Watch as the labor of creating the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle pays off in this clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:27

Strange Planes: Lunar Landings

Once air-to-air refueling became mainstream it permeated every corner of the United States Air Force. Learn more about aerial refueling on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:39

Strange Planes: Military Aerial Tankers

While airships had a fantastical type charm to them, as the years went by engineers very slowly realized they were totally unnecessary. Learn more about airships on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:54

Strange Planes: Military Airships

The United States Navy was forced to create its own air-to-air refueling methods on account of carrier space limitations. On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," watch as a Navy jet attempts to refuel in the air.
2:04

Strange Planes: Navy Aerial Refueling

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about the origin of the modern aircraft catapult and how its inception is tied to the early discoveries of the Wright Brothers.
2:05

Strange Planes: Origin of the Modern Catapult

The modern aircraft carrier has its roots in early catapult float planes launched from battleships. Watch this clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes" for more details.
0:53

Strange Planes: Origins of the Aircraft Carrier

Even the first airplanes used catapulting methods to get their cumbersome crafts into the air. Unearth the origins of the modern catapult in this clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:05

Strange Planes: Origins of the Modern Catapult

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about the features and the many uses of the OS2U Kingfisher aircraft.
2:49

Strange Planes: OS2U Kingfisher

Not all drones were completely successful. In this clip find out what type of designs seemed unworthy on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:02

Strange Planes: Private Piloted Drones

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," Germany's Dornier Do 335 "Arrow" and the United States' XP-56 Black Bullet are chief examples of rare pusher-powered fighters of World War II.
2:11

Strange Planes: Pusher Powered Fighters

The Ram Jet had no moving parts and a theoretical infinite power output. Learn more about the Ram Jet on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
0:35

Strange Planes: Ram Jet

The Vietnam conflict clearly illustrated the necessity of air-to-air refueling. In 1972 alone, the tankers flew 194,687 refueling missions. Learn more about air-to-air refueling in the Vietnam War on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
0:42

Strange Planes: Refueling Tankers

These useful scout drones have changed modern reconnaissance forever. Learn more about these planes on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:48

Strange Planes: Scout Drones

Designers of aircrafts have experimented with several ideas from the completely collapsible wing powered balloon to the jet pack. Learn about some of these ideas on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:32

Strange Planes: Single Person Air Travel

This plane had a variety of roles to play including its ability to mutate into a trailer. Learn more about the Boeing Spotter Plane on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:04

Strange Planes: Spotter Plane

On Discovery Channel's "Weekend Wings," learn about the role air attacks played in winning World War II.
1:19

Strange Planes: Strategic Bombing in World War II

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress has some of the most impressive mutations to develop from one aircraft. Learn more about these mutations on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:59

Strange Planes: Superfortress Mutations

Despite their disposable nature, target drones must be well built and designed. Learn more about target drones on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
0:35

Strange Planes: Target Drones Design

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," discover the principal strategy the United States used in defending against the relentless Japanese kamikazes.
0:58

Strange Planes: Techniques for Combating Kamikaze

In the 1950s, the United States military attempted to build a flying saucer called the Avro Car. But when the vehicle reached the testing phase it was clear that it was more fitted to be a hovering jeep. Learn more on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:32

Strange Planes: The Avro Car Testing and Development

Watch the very first test flight of the Avro Car -- the United States military's flying saucer -- on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:43

Strange Planes: The Avro Car's Maiden Flight

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about the critical Battle of the Atlantic during World War II.
1:33

Strange Planes: The Battle of the Atlantic

The Bell Pogo was intended for use on the first moonwalk. Find out why the peculiar two-man craft was never adopted in this video from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
0:56

Strange Planes: The Bell Pogo

In spite of its celebrity status, the Bell Rocket Belt never became a practical military reality. Watch this clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes" to see the Rocket Belt in action.
2:28

Strange Planes: The Bell Rocket Belt

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about the Bell X-22A, a prototype aircraft that had a ducted fan system that allowed it to liftoff like a helicopter.
0:54

Strange Planes: The Bell X 22A

On Discovery Channel's "Weekday Wings," learn about the Custer Channelwing a prototype pusher aircraft that utilized a curved surface duct to channel air from the leading edge of the wing and into the pusher propellers at the rear.
0:56

Strange Planes: The Custer Channelwing

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about the development and design of Charles Zimmerman's experimental aircraft, the Vought V-173.
2:36

Strange Planes: The Design of the Vought V173

In the 1950s, the Canadian and United States government, along with the Avro Company, attempted to build an aircraft that could climb vertically and fly at the speed of sound. Learn more on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:24

Strange Planes: The Development of the Avro Car

As the jet age set in, piston engineered aircraft with propellers were phased out. One of the casualties was the Vought XF5U "Flying Pancake." Learn more about the F5U on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:30

Strange Planes: The End of the Vought XF5U

As the aircraft became more advanced, it was clear that newer methods for launching them at sea had to be made. Learn about the early attempts at making an aircraft catapult on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
0:53

Strange Planes: The First Catapults

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about the first rockets that were made in the 1920s and the famous German V-1 Flying Bomb.
3:00

Strange Planes: The First Rockets

The flying boom is a retractable tube that a tanker aircraft uses to refuel other aircraft in flight. It is what makes air-to-air refueling possible. Learn more about the flying boom on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:51

Strange Planes: The Flying Boom

During testing of the parasite airplane, the Goblin, the pilot crashed into the trapeze, resulting in an emergency landing. Learn more about this dangerous operation with Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:37

Strange Planes: The Goblin Disaster

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about the KC-135, a tanker aircraft designed by Boeing that is used for air-to-air refueling.
1:41

Strange Planes: The KC 135 Stratotanker

This adventurous modern era plane has military applications-- as an ambulance, spotter and communications aircraft. Learn more about this plane on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:06

Strange Planes: The Mango

On Discovery Channel's "Weekday Wings," learn about the XB-35 and YB-49, two Northrop flying wing prototypes, once thought to revolutionize aircraft, but now are only part of aviation folklore.
1:42

Strange Planes: The Northrop XB35 and YB49

The oblique-wing concept remains an oddity and has yet to be fully proven. Watch this video from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes" to learn more about this concept.
2:17

Strange Planes: The Oblique Wing

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about steam catapults and how they are critical in helping jets take off from an aircraft carrier.
1:31

Strange Planes: The Steam Catapult

During World War I, the United States saw the development of the first flying bomb. Learn more about these target airplanes (Target Drones) on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:57

Strange Planes: The Target Drone

The German V1 spawned the cruise missile era of the post war years. Learn more on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:21

Strange Planes: The V1

On Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," learn about the features and purpose of the Vought OS2U Kingfisher seaplane.
2:20

Strange Planes: The Vought OS2U Kingfisher Seaplane

Although promising on the drawing board, the Vought XF5U "Flying Flapjack" World War II prototype proved less than capable. In fact, full power was needed just to get the craft into the air. Learn more about it on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:12

Strange Planes: The Vought XF5U Flying Flapjack

On this webisode of the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes," watch as this massive twin rotor helicopter bites the dust in a crash test.
1:05

Strange Planes: Twin Rotor Helicopter Crash Test

The Vought V-173, also known as the "Flying Pancake," was a prototype that showed potential for high speeds, but was restricted by engines that were grossly underpowered. Learn more about the Vought V-173 on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:19

Strange Planes: Vought V173 Prototypes

The Rocket Belt was amazing, but it didn't sell well because of its 21-second flight duration. Learn more about Moore's Rocket Belt in this clip from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
2:52

Strange Planes: Weldon Moore's Rocket Belt

The importance of winning aerial battles was realized after World War II. This led to the development of better and faster jet engine fighters. Learn more about aerial combat on Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes."
1:25

Strange Planes: World War II Air Combat

The XF-84H was a propeller jet hybrid that never saw combat. Watch this video from the Discovery Channel's "Strange Planes" to see it in action.
3:00

Strange Planes: XF-84H

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