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Unique Aeroplanes

Old 21st Mar 2022, 10:05
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Unique Aeroplanes

I was taking a group at a museum yesterday, and a young lad asked me "what do you think is the most unique aeroplane?". If we exclude the last-remaining of a line, and say just "one-offs", what are your thoughts? My own reply was the "Spruce Goose". Do we limit it to ones where the aircraft remains intact, or can we throw in the Brabazon and so on? This could raise a few "unknowns".
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 10:26
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I suppose the Spruce Goose was really just a larger version of what had gone before. Perhaps it could be something that has unique attributes...?
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 10:55
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TSR-2 gets my vote. Only 1 flew I recall
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 12:13
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Herod..... Apologies for being a pedant. You cannot qualify the word "unique" i.e. "most unique" is incorrect. Unique means, one off, on its own, alone. If there is more than one it is NOT unique, less than one means it is only part of one: incomplete.

When it comes to aircraft types there are some obvious examples of truly (hey, fell into the trap myself !!!) unique examples. Spruce Goose would certainly qualify, as would the Reid & Sigrist Desford. Then there will be some that are unique, in that they have a "one off" engine installation but there will be other airframes with different engines.

Sometimes a particular Mark of a design will be a "one off, unique". The de Havilland 106 Comet 3 was unique but of course there were others Comets of different Mks.... While we are on de Havilland aircraft, the deH 81 Swallow Moth & deH 92 Dolphin were both unique.

Last edited by Planemike; 21st Mar 2022 at 12:58.
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 12:23
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How about the Myasishchev M-50?

Two engines with reheat and two without, as well as mounting engines on the wingtips. I think it is the only one to have those two features. Plus they only made one working example.
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 16:55
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Features have nothing to do with uniqueness.
A unique aeroplane is a one-off, and there must be/have been hundreds, if not thousands in that category. All unique.
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 17:16
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Saro Princess..only 1 flew, another 2 were built but cocooned for 15 years
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 17:34
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Planemike. My apologies; you are of course quite correct (or perhaps that shouldn't be qualified either. It's either correct or not). Vernacular I suppose.
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 18:22
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The Beardmore Inflexible was pretty impressive, built by Glasgow shipbuilders it was certainly unique.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beardmore_Inflexible

Only a wheel survives.
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 20:17
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Might I be even more pedantic and suggest that the term "unique" (at least as in how question was asked) might refer to an unusual design and not that only one was made

BV 141 for instance
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 20:31
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Cranfield A1?
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Old 21st Mar 2022, 21:53
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Fairey Rotodyne
Absolutely unique
There are a few bits left at Weston-Super-Mare.
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 08:49
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"There are a few bits left at Weston-Super-Mare."

I wondered what the noise was when I was there last year........................
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 08:57
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo View Post
Features have nothing to do with uniqueness.
A unique aeroplane is a one-off, and there must be/have been hundreds, if not thousands in that category. All unique.
Your definition of unique is certainly unique.

Merriam-Webster
Unique adjective
\ yu̇-ˈnēk \
Definition of unique
1: being the only one
2a: being without a like or equal
b: distinctively characteristic
c: able to be distinguished from all others of its class or type

Cambridge
Unique
adjective
UK /juːˈniːk/ US /juːˈniːk/

Being the only existing one of its type or, more generally, unusual, or special in some way.

Oxford
Unique adjective
/yuˈnik/
  • Being the only one of its kind.
  • Very special or unusual.
  • Unique (to somebody/something) belonging to or connected with one particular person, place, or thing.
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 11:20
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Geez - I think we all know what we're trying to list here, can we move on from the pedanticism?
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 11:40
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I always think the Blohn & Voss BV 141 as being a unique asymmetrical design.
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 15:03
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Well.... the linguistics do have a place in this discussion so that we are all aware of what it is we're discussing... at least, that's my view! Without them, you may end up with one of those 'which is the best' discussions where no-one states what it is that makes it the best.

Unique aircraft... The Rutan Voyager gets my vote for its capability and achievement.
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 16:10
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AN225.Dream.
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 16:19
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One springs to mind especially: the Edgley Optica. I've no idea what the designers had had but I'll have the same. Double.
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Old 22nd Mar 2022, 17:44
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Caspian Seamonster




For for the purists:

noun, plural air·craft.
any machine supported for flight in the air by buoyancy or by the dynamic action of air on its surfaces, especially powered airplanes, gliders, and helicopters.
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