10 Totally Bizarre Airplane Photos
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Aviation has captured our imagination for centuries (think: Icarus), but airplanes as we know them have only been around since the Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903. Within a decade, aircraft were employed in World War I — and the pie-in-the-sky tinkering has never stopped. In fact, airplanes are so much a part of our pop culture that they appear not only in movies, songs and TV shows, but in food, fashion, and architecture.
The weird photos below have no particular focus other than that they illustrate moments when our fascination with planes, well, flew off the deep end.
Aliens? Nope, Just Mechanics
American mechanics carrying propeller hubs casings on their heads in January 1939. Behind them is a Douglas DC-3 in the colors of Trans World Airways.
Because a Jet Is So Much Less Conspicuous than a Water Tank
Santokh Singh Uppal’s airplane water tank in Punjab, India, photographed in November 2015. It’s meant to look like an Air India Boeing 747-400, and, well, it sort of does.
Who Needs a Jetway When You Have a Cyclops?
American rocker Alice Cooper in the arms of his pet cyclops at the airport in London on September 9, 1975. He had just arrived in a Convair CV-440 piston-engined airliner, behind him.
Gymnasium in the Sky
American football player, wrestler and World War II secret agent Joe Savoldi trains aboard a plane, in Los Angeles, California. The Italian-born athlete led quite an amazing life, including daring cloak-and-dagger wartime operations with the OSS, the predecessor of the CIA.
Board the Plane and You’ve Arrived
Cleaners head for a Boeing 737-200 deactivated airliner used as a hotel at the Con Con seaside resort, near Viña del Mar, Chile.
Bring a Few Balls
Stuntwoman Gladys Roy was killed in an accident in 1927, but before that, she was known for feats such as playing tennis this way (or trying to — we can’t imagine this rally went on for long.) Ivan Unger of the “Flying Black Hats” is her opponent. Frank Tomac is the pilot who keeps the plane at 3,000 feet.
Just Plane Fashionable
A family of three covered with aviation and aerospace badges and knitted-plane sweaters at the Farnborough airshow in England.
Redefining Plane Food
Character bentos or kyaraben are elaborately decorated and arranged Japanese lunch boxes. To amuse children, the characters come from popular TV shows, movies, animation favorites, and cute animals.
No Mistaking Which Way Is Up
The SNECMA C450 Coléoptère was an experimental French jet airplane from the 1950s that could take off and land vertically, but was marred by serious defects that made it essentially impossible to use. The prototype was destroyed in an accident that badly injured the test pilot, and that was it for the bizarre plane whose name was French for “beetle.”
Still a Dream: Flying Bicycles
Hard to believe that a mere 40 years after this weird and clearly unflyable idea appeared in 1921 England, humankind would send its own into space and back. We’ve come far in the science of flying, but flying bicycles? Those haven’t happened yet.
Featured photo by Bettmann / Getty Images
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