3The Flying Flea
Would you fly in a plane designed by a man hellbent on convincing the world that flight science was a scam? Of course you would, because flying is awesome. If you don't believe us, look no further than the story of Henry Mignet (we recommend the linked site mostly for the far-out background music).
During WWI, he convinced a friend of his in the French Air Force to let him taxi a plane (the driving portion of a flight before takeoff). For most people, this would be enough. For Mignet, it was not. He decided to add a little bit of the ol' "let's gun this and see if we can fly it" to the end of his taxi maneuvering. Not surprisingly, he crashed. This was the moment he decided flight science is a scam.
"I'll believe it when I see a plane that I didn't just set on fire."
To alleviate this, he designed his own "aircraft," dubbed it The Sky Louse and released the design to the public.
Mignet's original "Sky Kill PainCopter" was deemed impractical.
According to people that have actually built them, the Louse was basically a coffin with a motor on the front constructed from spare wood, nails, glue and a motorcycle engine. (Look for a KISS version to be available sometime next year.) Interestingly, the Louse contains none of the conventional features of an airplane such as rudder pedals or engine cowls. It does, however, contain an extra (albeit unnecessary) set of wings behind the cockpit.
Upon its release, the numerous people that built and tried to fly them (as if you wouldn't have) found that if they sent the plane into a steep enough nose dive, the Louse would lock into that position and crash. As far as why more than one person had to conduct this experiment, we have no idea.
2Better Off Wet
If you asked an old-school airplane designer to draw you a picture of an airplane, you would HOPE it looked like this:
And in fact that was made by designer Gianni Caproni, who designed perfectly normal and functioning planes... until he decided to throw all of his design experience to the wind and design a plane that looked like this:
There are many words that come to mind when looking at the picture above (Photoshop being among them), but we assure you, it's real. Rather than design a plane that resembled designs he knew worked, Caproni decided to build a plane that would allow us to laugh at him 88-years later.
Question: If you call a plane with two wings a bi-plane, what is a plane with nine wings called?
Built from a houseboat, Caproni intended for the Caproni Ca. 60 to transport 100 passengers back and forth across the Atlantic, something unheard of in the early 1900s. But still, Caproni had very few naysayers. Given his fame as a designer, it would have been like telling Henry Ford, "Honestly, that whole gas thing is probably a mistake."
Ford, seen standing behind the chair of a naysayer he's just choked out from behind.
Unsurprisingly, the Caproni Ca. 60 made only one flight. And by "flight" we mean "it lumbered its way to a cruising altitude of 60-feet before crashing to the ground and shattering just 15-seconds later." Somehow, Caproni survived. Even more impressive is the fact that his reputation pretty much came out intact also.