Aviation history, as one visitor to this site commented, is full
of milestones and millstones. Here you will not see anything as successful as
the SR-71 Blackbird, the Harrier
or the venerable DC-3. Most of the following aircraft were outstanding in some
way, all the same, and went nowhere in most cases because of ill-timing or questionable
- British Cabinet, optimistically for 1943, asked for a study into what airliners
Britain should build post-war. Bristol's response, the immense Brabazon,
virtually an airborne ocean liner, incorporated innovative features and spacious
luxury for passengers. It claimed to be the country's largest land plane, designed
to fly from London to New York.
SAUNDERS-ROE SR.53 & SR.177 - A 1953
proposal for a mixed-power interceptor was developed by Britain for the RAF and
Royal Navy. A short-sighted political decision decreed that Britain's last manned
fighter would be the Lightning. This reduced the service use of what could
have been a most flexible aircraft to uneconomical production numbers.
AVRO ARROW - Avro
Canada produced, at the end of the 1950s, one of the most advanced interceptor
fighters of its time, capable of becoming the country's main defence fighter.
The government instead decided it would rely on a surface-to-air missile whose
warheads were four years from completion.
BAC TSR.2 - In almost every respect the TSR.2
advanced low-level attack and reconnaissance aircraft was ahead of other aircraft
in the same category, and it looked capable of holding its own for decades. One
view, from its homeland, was that unfortunately, it was born in the wrong country.
BOEING 2707-200 SST - As jet airliners proliferated,
designs for supersonic airliners for transatlantic and other long haul passenger
routes were produced in Europe and the USSR, and the US joined the race with a
Mach 3 design. The Boeing SST concept was developed from a far-sighted company
project of the 1950s.
NORTH AMERICAN XB-70 VALKYRIE
- The Valkyrie represented a massive quantum leap in structures and aerodynamics,
and was designed to replace the B-52. Only two prototypes were built, at a cost
of $1,500M, making them among the most expensive aircraft built to that time,
in the late 1960s.
SUKHOI T-4 (SU-100) - Seen as a Russian XB-70,
the SU-100 was a supersonic bomber design with state-of-the-art features, and
which introduced a fly-by-wire control system. Technical difficulties left the
SU-100 as a single complete prototype and two incomplete aircraft.