Strange Planes: Series 1

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[edit] General Information

Technology Documentary hosted by Luke Swann, published by Discovery Channel broadcasted as part of DC Wings series in 1990 - English narration

[edit] Cover

Image: Strange-Planes-Series-1-Cover.jpg

[edit] Information

Strange Planes have odd shapes, interesting tales. From the highly successful series "Wings" on The Discovery Channel comes the six-volume series "Strange Planes." For aviation buffs, this collection is an insightful look at the history of aircraft, sometimes amusing, sometimes bizarre and at times astonishing, yet always interesting. The efforts of aircraft designers, whether resulting in failure and folly or remarkable achievement, are chronicled into one-hour episodes. The flights of fancy portrayed in the STRANGE PLANES collection represent both the triumphs and the follies of pioneers taking aviation to--and sometimes beyond--the edge of technical feasibility and human imagination. There are a few of the many strange and bizarre forms that aircraft design has taken on the road to the future. Some of these designs were revolutionary in their day but now are not so weird as they seemed. "Strange Planes" portray the fanciful or eccentric plus the blind alleys of aviation. There is a fascinating story behind every one of these radical designs, and each is an entertaining salute to man's ingenuity, and determination to reach for the sky. The "Strange Planes" series was produced in Australia and aired as part of The Discovery Channel's most highly rated series, "Wings," during its initial airing. Directed by Luke Swann; Executive Producer Phil Osborn; Network Projects Ltd Production

[edit] Drones, Midgets, Mutations

From the German SC-1262 and the 1930s drone controlled by wires connected to a telephone and Hitler's ominous V-1 to ultra-lights and one-man rocket packs.
A tribute to human ingenuity, this episode recounts the astonishing stories behind some of the most outlandish aviation creations. Included are many varieties of drones - unmanned aircraft, mutants - planes adapted to secondary purposes, and midgets.
Drones, Mutants and Midgets can't be judged by appearances alone. Composed of brand-new innovation, these planes represent the best technology has to offer.
Drones refers to unmanned aircraft and encompasses everything from radio-controlled air vehicles to aerial torpedo "bugs."
Mutants are planes that fulfill secondary purposes. Pint-sized experimentals like midgets are also remembered. Despite their unusual fa├žades, these strange planes have carved out a special place in history.

[edit] Parasites

From the launching and retrieving of planes by dirigibles in the early 1900s to piggy-backing and today's space shuttle.
Piggybacking one plane on another is not an impossible ambition, as shown by the success of the Space Shuttle. However this episode documents that the pursuit of this ambition has been long and challenging.
Nicknamed for their ability to hitch a ride, parasites represent enormous technological breakthroughs. Used for everything from faster mail service to extra escorts, parasites have evolved. Being able to ride on a mother craft extended these planes' potential.
In the beginning, Curtis fighters hid inside dirigibles. Later, parasite aircraft launched out of giant bombers to protect the plane. Now, the space shuttle itself counts as a parasite.
Strange Planes offers a detailed history of these life-saving inventions.

[edit] Eyes in the Sky

From a picture taken aloft by Wilbur Wright in 1909 and the first use of an observation aircraft in 1911 to the U2, AWACS and spy satellites, including the SR71 "Blackbird," regarded by many as the finest plane ever built. It flew from Los Angeles to Washington's Dulles Airport in 62 minutes.
From the observation balloons of the Civil War to modern electronic surveillance aircraft, the secret world of spyplanes is examined.
Designed specifically for undercover reconnaissance, the U2 serves as the greatest example of strange spy planes. Flying under the radar and out of missile range, the U2 was a boon to American warfare. It flew higher than any plane had before and sported lengthy, graceful wings.
"Strange Planes: Eyes in the Sky" takes a look at the people behind covert operations and the inventions that hid in the clouds.

[edit] Giants

From dirigibles like the Hindenberg and Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose, touching all the major milestones along the way, up to the C5 Galaxy, Fat Albert, and the U.S.S.R.'s giant AN 124.
From dirigibles to the huge jets of today, this episode traces the story of aviation's most mammoth aircraft. From the full-bellied dirigibles to passenger jets, large-sized planes have come a long way. The Hindenburg--the largest aircraft ever flown--the Flying Boat, the disastrous Barling Bomber, the Boeing StratoCruiser and Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose all have a place in the history of huge planes.
Air-inflated craft were popular for a time, even serving in World War I. But, cumbersome construction and navigational limits made them difficult to use. Still, armies needed a way to transport large crews and supplies over enemy-infested waters. Along came the Spruce Goose. Weighing over 400,000 pounds, the enormous plane was an engineering miracle that fulfilled transportation needs.
Built for civil and and military uses these amazing planes stun the imagination with their vast size. With names such as 'Fat Albert' and 'Pregnant Guppies' these giants of the skies rank with the world's strangest aircraft. Included are B36, B52, and B1 bombers plus AN 124, the giant from Russia.

[edit] Vertical

From the Bell XV3 and XV15 to the Hawker and Harrier, a recounting of the planes that leap into the sky without a runway and some that were supposed to but didn't.
This episode tells the fascinating story of attempts to design airplanes that could be launched straight up into the air.
The history of aviation tells some unbelievable tales. None are more far-fetched than the ideas behind Vertical Take-Off.
Frustrated with the need for runway space and the often cramped conditions of war, aircraft designers got clever. Using tilting wings and engines, jet nozzles and the aircraft itself, vertical take-off was a favorite theory.
In several cases, the planes did actually fly. The Osprey, with its tilting rotor, took flight in the 1980s. As did the French tail-sitter, back in 1959. Even more interesting are the plans that were made, but failed.

[edit] Strange Shapes

STRANGE SHAPES presents the most remarkable shapes ever sent into the air.
From an early Flying Wing at Northrop in the 1920s that didn't work to one that does, the Stealth Bomber. Also includes other remarkable shapes such as the Flying Pancake and the Tailless Fighter.
Aviation oddities featured include planes with backward wings, moving wings, small wings and even no wings at all; planes with backward engines that "pushed" instead of "pulled", planes with engines that pushed and pulled, planes with huge tails and planes with no tails.
Strange Shapes concentrates on the unusual forms that often grace the engineer's drawing board.
Eliminating the fuselage on aircraft was an interesting idea that didn't come to fruition. However, the concept of a smaller, more aerodynamic plane did.
Out of this idea, the Flying Wing was born. Seen in everything from the 1929 Halten Meteor, to the modern-day Stealth Bomber, this smooth design works.
Aircraft seen include Flying Wings, Bell X5, XP 57 "Bat", SR71 Blackbird, F7 Cutlass, "Lifting Bodies", X24 and X29.

[edit] Screenshots

[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L4
Video Bitrate: 2 018 Kbps
Video Resolution: 704x544
Display Aspect Ratio: 1.294
Frames Per Second: 25.000 fps
Audio Codec: AC3
Audio Bitrate: 192 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 2
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 46 min - 54 min
Number Of Parts: 6
Part Size: 734 MB - 863 MB
Source: DVD
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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