The Strangest Airplanes To Have Ever Been Built

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Douglas X-3 Stiletto

Image source: nationalmuseum.af.mil

The Douglas Aircraft Company constructed the X-3 Stiletto. This sleek and pointed tapered nose aircraft implemented the first use of titanium in its structure.

The Stiletto design tested whether the aircraft could take-off, reach a high-altitude, speed at Mach 2, and land all on its own power.

In 1952, the Stiletto flew at the Edwards Air Force Base in California. The flight lasted around twenty minutes. Bill Bridgeman, the original pilot, operated this aircraft for a total of 29 flights.

These tests labelled the Stiletto extremely underpowered and hard to handle. The Stiletto didn’t provide aerodynamic success as planned, but it did add knowledge used in other aircraft like the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter.

The Stiletto resides in the United States Air Force Museum.

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