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Planes are some of the most beautiful pieces of machinery ever built. But some of them are just the opposite. These are the ugliest planes ever made.
Anyone who’s into aviation has been to an aeronautical museum or has even just walked through the terminal at the airport knows how gorgeous planes can be. And while that’s true for most of them, some planes are true eyesores that not even their mother could love. Okay, that might not make sense when talking about inanimate objects, but you get the point.
The ugliest planes ever made are:
- M-15 Belphegor
- Airbus Beluga
- Bristol Freighter
- Curtiss-Goupil Duck
- CASA C-212
- Westland Hill Pterodactyl Mark V
- ATL-98 Carvair
- General Aircraft Fleet Shadower
- McDonnell XF-85 Goblin
- Boeing X-32
- Breguet 763 Deux-Ponts
- Sud-Est SE 100
There have been some truly ugly planes in the history of aviation. Some were designed for military purposes, others for commercial transport. But all of them share one thing in common: they're not exactly easy on the eyes! In this article, we'll take a look at some of the ugliest planes ever made. Keep in mind that "ugly" is subjective, so you may not agree with all of our choices. But we guarantee you won't be able to forget these aircraft!
As much as we love aviation and everything related to it, even we here at SkyTough can recognize when a plane isn’t exactly good looking. But to many, it can even be a little bit endearing just how ugly some of these planes can be. After all, being known as the best at something — even if that something is being ugly — is still better than not being known at all.
Why Makes a Plane Ugly?
When it comes to aesthetics, airplanes are not exactly top of mind. But that doesn't mean they can't be ugly! In general, an ugly airplane is one that is bulky, disproportionate, or just plain weird-looking. Sometimes an aircraft can be beautiful and elegant, but if it's not functional then it's not really doing its job, now is it?
That said, I fully understand that something being "ugly" is purely subjective, and beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. So while you may not agree with all of our choices for the ugliest planes ever made, I think you'll at least appreciate why we think they're ugly!
So with that in mind, let's take a look at some of the ugliest planes ever made!
What Are the Ugliest Planes Ever Made?
Touted by many as the single ugliest plane ever, the M-15 Belphegor was a Soviet bomber aircraft designed in the late 1950s and made its first flight in 1973. It was intended to be a long-range nuclear bomber, but it was never actually put into service. The Belphegor was huge and ungainly, with a wingspan of nearly 200 feet and a length of over 150 feet. It had a crew of six and could carry up to 24 tons of bombs. But its most striking feature was its massive "humpbacked" fuselage, which earned it the nickname "The Hunchback".
Unfortunately for the M-15 Belphegor, this wasn't a striking feature because of great it looked. The Hunchback was actually the result of a design flaw! The hump was created because the fuselage needed to be lengthened to accommodate the plane's six engines. But instead of just making the fuselage longer, they decided to add a big hump in the middle. As a result, the M-15 Belphegor was not only ugly, but also aerodynamically unstable.
Needless to say, it never saw service and was quickly forgotten... until now.
The Airbus Beluga is a large transport aircraft designed for carrying oversized cargo. It's based on the earlier A300-600ST (Super Transporter) aircraft, which itself was nicknamed the "Beluga" because of its resemblance to the white whale. The current version of the Beluga, the BelugaXL, entered service in early 2016.
The Beluga is huge, with a length of almost 60 meters and a wingspan of nearly 64 meters. It can carry up to 53 tons of cargo, and its main deck has space for five standard shipping containers side-by-side. The BelugaXL can even carry two 747 engines! But its size isn't the only thing that makes it ugly. It also has a very strange-looking "bulbous" nose, which is necessary to house the cargo hold. As a result, the Beluga looks more like a whale than ever... and not in a good way.
The Bristol Freighter was a British twin-engined transport aircraft that was first flown in 1945. It was designed as a replacement for the earlier Bristol Type 170 Freighter and entered service with the Royal Air Force in 1947. A total of nearly 200 Freighters were built, and they saw service with military and civilian operators all over the world.
The Freighter had a crew of two and could carry up to 16 passengers or six tons of cargo. It had a wingspan of just under 100 feet and was almost 70 feet long. But its most distinctive feature was its "double-bubble" fuselage, which earned it the nickname "Double Bum". The double-bubble design was supposed to give the aircraft more internal space, but it just made it look strange and ugly.
The Curtiss-Goupil Duck was a torpedo bomber designed for the United States Navy during World War I. It was one of the ugliest planes ever made, with its bulky body and short wings. It was also known for being slow and difficult to fly. The Duck was only used for training purposes and was later replaced by the Grumman TBF Avenger.
This aircraft was so strange looking and resembled an insect spreading its wings if you looked at it from the front. The weirdly-shaped wings were also a problem since they did not offer much lift, making the plane very slow. The Curtiss-Goupil Duck was used in training exercises during WWII but was quickly replaced by a better aircraft.
The CASA C-212 is a twin-engine turboprop transport plane that was designed and built by the Spanish company, CASA. It first flew in 1971 and is still in production today. The C-212 has been used by both military and civilian operators all over the world. It is known for its boxy shape and large cargo door.
While the CASA C-212 might not be as ugly as some of the other planes on this list, it definitely has an interesting appearance. Its large cargo door and boxy shape make it look more like a freight plane than a passenger plane. The C-212 has been in production for over 40 years and is still used by militaries and civilians all over the world.
Westland Hill Pterodactyl Mark V
The Westland Hill Pterodactyl Mark V was a British single-engine biplane that was used for training pilots during World War I. It was nicknamed the "Flying Coffin" because of its small size and poor visibility from the cockpit. If you were looking at it for the first time, you might even think that the plane wasn't finished being built. as it looks almost incomplete because of its size and shape.
What really makes the Pterodactyl Mark V so ugly is the weird body and fuselage. Because of how tiny it is, the cockpit is almost hidden from view. This made it very hard for pilots to see where they were going, and it also made anyone who looked at it realize just how weird this plane truly looks!
The ATL-98 Carvair was a large cargo plane that was used by the United States Air Force during the 1960s. It was designed to carry vehicles and other large cargo items. The Carvair was based on the Douglas DC-four and had a unique design. It had a wide body, a bulbous nose and cockpit area, and short wings, which made it look like a flying boxcar.
While the Carvair might have been good at carrying cargo, it definitely wasn't winning any beauty contests. Its boxy shape and short wings made it look more like a freight plane than anything else. The Carvair was only used for a few years before being replaced by more modern aircraft.
General Aircraft Fleet Shadower
The General Aircraft Fleet Shadower was a British twin-engine maritime patrol plane that was used during World War II. It was designed to be able to take off and land on short runways, which made it perfect for use on aircraft carriers. The Shadower had a very strange shape, with a long nose and nearly flat, straight wings. It also had a weird number of windows, which made it look like a flying house.
The Shadower's strange shape and many weird features made it one of the ugliest planes ever made. If you asked a preschooler to draw an airplane, what they come up with might look a little bit better than this airplane! On top of being ugly, the Shadower was also known for being difficult to fly and having several mechanical issues.
McDonnell XF-85 Goblin
The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin was a jet fighter that was designed to be used as an escort for bombers during World War II. It was small and had short wings, which made it look more like a toy than a real plane. The Goblin also had a very strange shape, with a large cockpit and a small fuselage.
While the Goblin might have looked cool (in a weird way), I don't think you'll find too many people calling it a beauty. This plane was designed to be an escort for bombers during WWII, but it never saw any combat. The Goblin was eventually scrapped and is now known as one of the ugliest planes ever made.
The Boeing X-32 was a jet fighter that was developed for the United States Air Force during the 1990s. It was designed to be a multi-role fighter and was intended to replace the F-15, F-16, and A-12 aircraft. The X-32 was not selected by the Air Force and only two prototypes were ever built.
The X-32 has been criticized for its ugly design, which has been compared to a duck, a pelican, or a beaver. The plane's large nose and small cockpit have also been ridiculed. Despite its ugliness, the X-32 was praised for its performance and handling in some instances, although it has long since been forgotten by most and replaced with much more advanced aircraft.
Breguet 763 Deux-Ponts
The Breguet Deux-Ponts is a twin-engined, long-range airliner that was first flown in 1949. It was designed to be used on routes between France and its colonies in Africa. The plane became infamous for its crashes, with six planes being lost in accidents between 1950 and 1954.
The Deux-Ponts has been called one of the ugliest planes ever made due to its unusual design. The plane's tail and elevator are what really sets the 763 apart. Instead of rising up and being a continuance of the fuselage, the tail is almost another entire set of miniature wings with two vertical tails sticking out at the ends, which give it a distinctive look. The Deux-Ponts were eventually replaced by more modern aircraft, and only a handful still exist today.
Sud-Est SE 100
Rounding off our list of the ugliest planes in the world is the Sud-Est SE 100. This French plane was designed and built by Bloch and made its maiden flight in 1949. It was intended to be a short-haul airliner but only three were ever built. But don't worry, even though few people even know about this plane, we still found out about it and are here to bring it to your attention so you can check it out.
One reason for this may have been its ungainly appearance — it had an oversized fuselage that was supported by two sets of booms and struts. The wings were also very small in comparison to the rest of the plane, giving it a disproportionate look. The Sud-Est SE 100 never went into commercial service and was eventually scrapped in 1957.
So there you have it, our list of the top 12 ugliest planes ever made! We hope you enjoyed reading about them as much as we enjoyed writing about them. We might have to do the opposite and write about the 12 prettiest planes next. So if that interests you, be sure to check back. In the meantime, explore all of the other articles on the site. You'll never run out of content at SkyTough!