The French are known to the aviation world for producing some of the strangest, perplexing, deeply questionable, and unapologetically French designs imaginable. Here are 10 of their least desirable aircraft:
10. Leduc 022
This plane was an attempt to develop an interceptor plane powered by a ramjet and a perfect example of a plane designed with the main priority placed on the engine.
Pilots were placed in the ram part of the ramjet with the cone directly in front of the engine. The position of the cockpit also restricted the pilot’s vision because of the steel nose cone in front of their face. Though innovative, the design didn’t really catch on.
9. Bréguet 1050 Alizé
This chunky aircraft was operated as a carrier-based and anti-submarine aircraft by the French Navy.
With its thick-set fuselage, stubby wigs with protruding nacelles, as well as a tail fin so big, the plane didn’t have the most flattering proportions. Its single turboprop engine wasn’t going to break records, either.
8. Amiot 143
Designed to specifications drawn up in 1928 which included the requirement to strap a small house in the underbelly, this plane didn’t enter full service until 1935 when it was already obsolete.
The French built 138 of these monstrosities and even saw service during WWII.
7. SNCASE SE.100
This plane was an oddity in a lot of ways. Not only did it look like a flying croissant with a set of wings bolted onto it, but it also had an insanely potent armament at that time and a very strange-looking undercarriage.
6. Loire 130
The 130 had a squat, thick-set, flat-faced design, and when looked from the side, had a face that resembled a hog nose snake.
Created as a reconnaissance seaplane, the 130s served aboard most French capital ships by the end of the 1930s. While not the most pleasant to look at, they were deployed in the most remote theaters of the Second World War.
5. Sud-Est Grognard
While it looked like the aerial equivalent of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, this plane did have reasons for its weirdness. For instance, it was powered by two jet engines stacked on one another.
This was handy since it kept the thrust line in the middle of the plane even with the loss of one engine.
4. Blériot 125
Designed in the 1930s, this plane was an attempt to reinvent the design of commercial aircraft. But it looked like someone took a flying boat at stuck wheels on it.
It was built to accommodate twelve passengers in a bulbous twin fuselage and was offered as a sleek alternative to the blocky designs that dominated the 1920s.
3. Arsenal-Delanne 10
This plane was an example of tandem wing design; one pair of wings was installed in a high-mounted gull wing configuration at the center of the fuselage and the other was installed at the tail.
However, WWII curtailed its development, and the solo example was captured by the Germans who completed the construction and took it to Germany for testing. No further examples were built.
2. Potez 75
With an open cockpit, fixed landing gear, and a 40 hp v8 engine, you might initially think that this design was from the late 1920s or early 1930s. But this plane was actually built in 1953!
Designed to be a low-cost support plane, it hoped to be a cost-effective solution for the support of the colonial air units of France. However, it turned out to be a flo with a top speed of only 275 km/hr.
1. Farman F.120
The three-engine, box-like, thick-winged, and ludicrously proportioned looks of this plane take the top spot in this list.
First flown in 1923, this plane was a result of a desire to build a compact but reliable transport that could be used as a bomber as well. The plane only saw active use for six years but gained a lot of attention because of its bulky appearance.