What Is The Coolest Aircraft To Ever Fly But Never Reach Production?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Quora.com is a question-and-answer site where content is written and edited by its community of users. Occasionally we syndicate content from the site if we think it will interest TPG readers. This article originally appeared on Quora.com in response to the question, What is the coolest aircraft to ever fly but never reach production?
In my mind, there can only be one answer to this question: The North American XB-70 Valkyrie, the planned American triple-supersonic strategic bomber. Its unique downward-foldable wing tips explored a principle called compression lift to achieve its high lift-to-drag ratio at high supersonic speeds. Not only did it have bad-ass performance, it looked absolutely stunning.
Two examples were built, one of which tragically crashed in June 1966. There are a lot of things I could write about this amazing aircraft, but there are already several good answers here on Quora already detailing its history — the Wikipedia article about theis a good start for further reading.
The AMD-BA (now Dassault Aviation) Super Mirage 4000, essentially two Mirage 2000 glued together. Double the MTOW (32 tons), double the thrust 19 tons with two M53 engines), more fuel and payload capacity. To give you an idea of the size of the aircraft, you could fit a Mirage 2000’s terrain following nose radar (the Antilope 5) into a fuselage pod that looked tiny compared to the Mirage 4000. Obviously, it was a performance beast and was a serious challenger for its main competitor at the time, the F-15. Both were interesting Saudi military planes, but due to political maneuvers, the Super Mirage never made it through. As for the national market, the French Air Force didn’t want it for budget reasons. However, the Super Mirage’s legacy lives through the Rafale, which is a fantastic aircraft in every respect.
Featured image of the Super Mirage 4000 prototype courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees