The Airplane-Boat, Complete With Magical Hula Hoop
Conceived in 1936 and entering service around 1940, the German Blohm & Voss BV 138 (aka "The Flying Cog") was a vehicle with a crippling identity crisis. Was it a boat? Was it a plane? Was it definitive proof of extraterrestrial intelligence? Well, it was at least the first two -- you might hear it called either a flying boat or a floatplane, perhaps depending upon whether it happened to be floating or flying at the time.
German Federal Archives
"What about an 'airboat'?"
"No, I have a way more redneck idea for that one."
And would you like to know how you can make this bubble-eyed, floating contradiction look even more like something sketched on the back of a grade-schooler's notebook? Give it three overhead engines, like a whirling triceratops. Oh, and slap a hula hoop around the entire thing, because who doesn't like hula hoops?
But It Totally Worked!
The BV 138's main mission was reconnaissance, and it excelled at that mission by being the first flying boat maneuverable enough to avoid becoming soggy Swiss cheese at the first sign of an enemy machine gun, as well as trouncing the range of its nearest competitor, the American PBY Catalina. This extended range gave the craft the ability to report American positions to skulking U-boats.
Like you using the living room mirror to cheat at Battleship.
Surprisingly, the aforementioned hoopified version was simultaneously the most batshit and the most impressive variant. The BV 138 MS was stripped free of weapons to make room for that crazy hula hoop, which was actually a degaussing coil designed for the purpose of skimming over the surface of the water and exploding naval mines with the magic of magnetism so that the boys of the Kriegsmarine could live to hear a saliva-flecked speech another day.
Also, it could double as a UFO.