French "Beetle" experimental aircraft of the 1950s


27 Responses to “French "Beetle" experimental aircraft of the 1950s”

  1. bcsizemo says:

    He did realize ramjets actually have to get up to speed to function properly right?

    • I am sure he did. Isn’t that the idea for this aircraft? The ducted fan pushes it to altitude and the ramjet ignites, probably in a dive. I have seen pictures of a similar US navy aircraft. This one had counter rotating puller props. It landed on its tail and it worked.

  2. GTMoogle says:

    Even helicopters can land safely without power… This thing?  Noooo thank you.

  3. Ramone says:

    Dark Roasted Blend did a nice round-up of “tail-sitter” craft a few years ago and the coleoptere is among them:

  4. mtdna says:

    Vive la technologie Français!

  5. Ipo says:

    This French guy’s motorcycle broke in the desert, so he made this airplane out of it  … 

  6. Ashen Victor says:

    “Still, it was quite an attention-grabber, even making it into the comic Tintin.”

    Not the comic Tintin, but the magazine.
    Tintin was drawn by Hergè while Tintin Magazine was the result of several authors, including Uderzo, Will Eisner, Edgar Pierre Jacobs or Vandersteen. 

  7. airshowfan says:

    The Coleoptere was only one of many tail-sitter designs… And tail-sitters were only one of many configurations explored in the history of VTOL research. It’s a very interesting history, full of creative designs. For a six-minute overview of the field (a Pecha-Kucha talk), I would recommend

  8. interesting bit of trivia, Zborowski was part of Werner von Braun ‘s rocket team during WW2 and  allegedly also involved in the “Nazi flying saucer” project

  9. Stefan Jones says:

    Looks like something from a Gerry Anderson production.

  10. hakuin says:

     so would fly-by-wire have made it work?

  11. Susan Carley Oliver says:

    I think it’s beautiful, reminiscent of both Firefly’s “Serenity” and the Dyson bladeless fan. 

    I don’t get why there’s all this French machine hate; for the longest time they were the only folks outside of the US to have a space service capable of boosting objects into orbit, and don’t forget – the Paris Air Show has historically been one of the most prestigious aircraft events.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      I think it’s beautiful, reminiscent of both Firefly’s “Serenity” and the Dyson bladeless fan.

      Or perhaps a hair dryer.

      • cdh1971 says:

        Vacuum-cleaners originally were dual purpose – when the current was reversed they were used as blow dryers – blowing the hair dry without heat.

        Much like the  brute-force blow dryers that use no heat, only hurricane-speed winds – used at many self-serve dog grooming joints.

        The French plane covered in this posting would make an excellent blow dryer for a Clifford type dog or perhaps Babar’s woolly throw-back cousins.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          “In 1965 Frigidaire introduced the “ride-aire” refrigerator that you hooked up to the blower port on your vacuum cleaner to make it easier to move.”

    • I don’t get why there’s all this French machine hate

      Even French engineers do it. One such engineer introduced a bunch of us to their new application and said here is our new app, and because we are French, it is very complicated.

  12. I’m a big fan of wacky and experimental aircraft, so I’m always stoked to see something I’m unfamiliar with.

    My favorite itty bitty wacky plane has to be the XF-85 Goblin.  It was designed as a “parasite fighter” that was attached to the underside of B-29s and B-36s.

  13. Volker says:

    Sure not the best aircraft, but truly a fancy and futuristic design

  14. GeekMan says:

    Funny: in the insect world, beetles are notoriously terrible flyers. 

    • Culturedropout says:

       Apparently not just in the insect world.  “Briefly and unexpectedly” are not typically good things where high-performance aircraft are concerned.  But it was actually canceled because they knew all the other aviators would laugh at them.

  15. Another bizarre aircraft of note was the Blohm & Voss BV 141.  Built for reconnaissance, its asymmetrical design was intended to give pilots a nearly panoramic view.  Apparently it performed quite well, but was shitcanned by the Luftwaffe for aesthetic reasons.

  16. Warren says:

    Fascinating thing, this – though the plural of aircraft is aircraft, not aircrafts.

  17. Gimlet_eye says:

    The huge problem with tailsitters is landing: the pilot has to transition from horizontal flight to vertical hovering, then, while facing up and on his back, look over his shoulder as he decreases power to land. That’s the sort of thing that makes even top test pilots sweat.

  18. jimh says:

    I really like how it gained public notoriety and captured the imaginations of so many while essentially being a non-starter. Form over function!

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