Britain’s Top 10 Ugliest Aircraft

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Over the last century, several stunning aircraft graced the skies above Britain, but there have also been somef planes that didn’t look quite as good. 

Here’s a top ten list of Britain’s ugliest aircraft: 

The Vickers Vulcan

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Designed in the 1920s, the Vulcan was created as an eight-passenger airliner, but at first look, it felt that Vickers designers couldn’t figure out if they were designing a plane or an airship. 

Built for efficiency and reduced cost, it only had one engine and its two-blade propeller looked comically small in comparison. 

Ad Scout

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The Ad Scout looked so unstable and it flew as badly as it looked. After it was canceled, the designer went to Blackburn claiming to have “improved” the design into what would turn out to be the really unsightly Blackburn triplane. 

Fairey Gannet

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This aircraft was as ugly as it was successful. The Gannet was the chunky darling of the Fleet Air Arm and had a long and fascinating service life operating for 25 years between 1953 and 1978. 

Miles Aerovan

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This plump-looking plane was designed in 1944 as a twin-engine, short-range, low-cost plane. The aircraft was extremely popular- the demand for it after the war skyrocketed. It was used to transport everything from furniture to food to livestock.

Nimrod AEW3

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The Nimrod AEW3 was a proposed early warning aircraft in the 1980s but turned nothing but a series of problems. It had its issues from the beginning, and it wasn’t much of a looker, either. It turned out to be an over-budget, overbuilt, comically bulbous plane. 

Handley Paige Heyford

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Entering service in late 1933 to early 1934, this jacked-up abomination was obsolete pretty much from day one. Despite this, 125 of these unflattering bombers were delivered. 

The plane was designed for nighttime bombing with a maximum speed of just 142mph. Its service life was destined to be brief- they were phased out between 1937 and 1939. 

Blackburn R-1 Blackburn

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Designed as a fleet spotting and reconnaissance aircraft, it had a deep slab-sided fuselage dictated by its large W-12 Napier Lion engine. 

While it looked atrocious, it did its job pretty well for eight years and built in fairly respectable numbers for its time.

Handley Page 115

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When viewed from the side, the placement of the engines and cockpit looked misaligned during construction, and nothing properly lined up. 

However, there was also a reason behind this as it served as a test bed in evaluating the handling of delta-wing aircraft at low speeds and high angles of attack. That’s why it’s the only jet-powered plane with a fixed landing gear. 

Supermarine Nighthawk

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Ironically, the Nighthawk would come from a company that would produce one of the best-looking aircraft- but not this one. 

Completed in 1917, this quadruple swept-wing claimed to have a top speed of 75 mph. The prototype barely managed 60 mph and took over an hour to reach 10,000 feet. The Nighthawk was truly one ugly beast, and thankfully, only one was ever built.