Friday, March 2, 2012

Strange Aircraft

I heard a noise that one usually hears accompanying a fighter jet aircraft at high speed. But when I looked up on this clear sunny day I was unprepared for what I saw because the wings were way too short for even any fighter jet that I had ever seen before. So, I figured it must be some new plane the military is working on. It had extremely short wings with a very long fuselage and was painted dark gray but the fuselage seemed almost as long as a passenger jet plane that could carry about 75 passengers. So I didn't know what to make of it. I was wondering how a plane with such short wings could even take off the ground at under 250 to 300 mph unless it was going to rocket straight up into the sky with wings that short and stubby. But I thought that if it is designed for supersonic flight maybe that would be what it would have to do. Just to be matching a cruising speed under 400 miles per hour it likely was in slow flight with the nose up. So, I wondered just how fast you would have to land in something like that to not crash it.(probably very fast).

When I put the following into Google: "Fast grey jet plane with stubby wings" this is what I got:

fighter aircraft is general term for any aircraft that is designed to engage another aircraft in combat - pursuit aircraft are fighters designed for speed to be able intercept other aircraft such as intercepting bombers before they reach their target or "racing" to provide support - because pursuit aircraft have to be built to be faster than other aircraft, in the past they had to compromise agility and controlability for speed - modern jet fighters like the F-22 are capable of both speed and agility and therefore there is not enough difference to have a separate category of pursuit fighter
the P-38 lightning of WWII was a very fast pursuit fighter, at least 2 are known to have hit the sound barrior in a dive (though they were destroyed doing so) but they were definitely not very agile with those twin props and booms - the peak of performance in pursuit fighters was the F-104 starfighter that was little more than a very large jet engine with short stubby wings and was incredibly fast - but it was very hard to control and fly and land - but it was designed to intercept Russian bombers before they could reach the USA and it did that very well
The terms "pursuit" and "Fighter" were used by the US to describe aircraft types for the same role. The Army used the term "Pursuit", which was a term used by the British. The Navy used the term "Fighter" and the aircraft were assigned to fighter squadrons, known as VF (meaning Heavier-than-Air Fighter). Eventually, the Air Force adopted Fighter.

It looked like none of these aircraft in the "full size image" above but it looked the most like: LM F-16C even though that wasn't it either.


Anonymous said...

I don't know if this is your video on Youtube or not, but it seems to match what you're discribing.
I saw the video and went googleing for an "airplane with extremely long fuselage and short wings" then your question came up.
Hope this helps.

intuitivefred888 said...

The fuselage is the right length but what I saw had wider stubby wings but this is the closest to what I saw yet.

This looks like an extremely experimental design of an airplane. In order for it to fly with wings this thin the wings likely would have to be angled. I can't imagine why someone would design something like this unless it was to make it solar powered to reduce drag for efficiency. So you would put solar cells on all the upper surfaces of the plane and wings to gather solar power. There are videos of a swiss solar powered plane that could take off and fly with 2 passengers on board. However, from the sound of the plane I saw it was jet powered. I reminded me a little of the Bell X-1 because the wings looked a little like that but the fuselage was more long and stretched out.