Germany’s Podracer-esque Bomber: Blohm & Voss P 170

YouTube / IHYLS

The Blohm & Voss P 170 bomber is one of Blohm & Voss’s strange aircraft designs in a sense that strongly resembles the pod racers from Star Wars.

The P 170

Measuring 13 meters long and 16 meters wide, the P17 would have a very unique-looking three-engine layout, one in the center and one in each wing tip. 

Each propeller would be powered by a BMW 801 engine with around 1860 hp a piece, bringing the projected top speed of around 510 miles per hour.

Two Wing-Mounted Propellers  

The two wing-mounted propellers would rotate in opposite directions to boost performance. This would have two effects- one intended and one potential.

The first effect would be the reduction of the negative effects of an engine’s torque as the engine causes the propeller to rotate in a given direction and opposite rotational force is generated. 

Having the wingtip propellers rotate in opposite directions would create opposing rotational forces that would ideally negate each other. A second potential effect would be a reduction in drag.

Issue With Weight Distribution

Because of the wing and engine placement, the majority of the plane’s weight was located at the very front of the fuselage and ahead of the wing itself. This would end up making the plane terribly unbalanced and front-heavy.

To help balance the weight, the cockpit had to be placed at the very back of the fuselage, far behind the wing. In fact, it’s the entire cockpit placement that really adds up to the entire Star Wars pod racer vibe. 

The pilot would be sat in the main cockpit, the one furthest back. Meanwhile, the co-pilot/observer/bombardier would be seated further up the fuselage in a more cylindrical-looking glass.

Other Oddities

When you view the plane’s tail from the top, nothing looks out of the ordinary. However, if you view it from the side, the tail, there’s no vertical fin or rudder.

Instead, of having a normal vertical fin or rudder, the P17 has two- one on each wingtip at the tail of the engine. For the P170’s weapons, it had no weapons to speak of, instead outfitted with either one thousand kilos of bombs in a standard load, up to 2,000 kilos in an overloaded state, or 12 rockets into bunches of six. These are located on the wings on either side of the fuselage.

Never Made

The reason why the P 170 was never made apart from the inherent weirdness of its design, was most likely because of the increasing prevalence and testing of jet engines. 

Although jet aircraft wasn’t introduced yet in 1942 when the P170 was designed, testing on them had been increasingly more prevalent. For something so unconventional as the P170, it would have to blow its potential competition out of the water for it to be even considered. Because even in the most optimistic predictions it wouldn’t likely outperform jet aircraft.

One Off Project? 

IHYLS’s Youtube channel, he says that the design would be overly quirky and that it would likely have taken a long time to test and iron out kinks he believed that the plane’s development would have taken until the war ended and by then better planes were made. 

Inevitably, the P170 would likely be only what it is today, another weird design from Blohm & Voss.