The World’s Strangest AIRPLANE (Dec, 1930)

The World’s Strangest AIRPLANE

WHAT is most certainly one of the strangest airplanes ever built is shown on this page and on this month’s cover of Modern Mechanics and Inventions. The plane, which its designer, Paul Maiwurm of San Diego, California, has ailed the Fly worm, will have no propellers to pull it through the air. Instead, it will depend on a barrel-like tube between the wing and the fuselage, fitted with spiral fins which, when the tube is rotated rapidly, are expected to act like a screw in forcing the craft through the air. Both forward thrust and upward pull are expected to be provided by this unique method. The tube, which is six feet in diameter, will he powered by an 80-horsepower air-cooled motor. The pilot and passengers sit in a fuselage shaped like an airfoil. Lateral control is secured by a conventional rudder. It is expected that the plane will be completed and test flights made sometime in the near future.

9 comments
  1. KD5ZS says: May 3, 20109:48 am

    Just a ducted fan– in this case a piston driven fan.

  2. Rick Auricchio says: May 3, 201010:05 am

    And even then, the idea of that screw-shaped “fan” seems silly. A conventional fan in the duct would be much more efficient. (Or perhaps the artist got it wrong.)

    It appears this idea is following that of Henri Coanda’s 1920s work.

  3. Buddy says: May 3, 201010:56 am

    Internal and external spirals on a rotating barrel – with just 80 Hp pushing it! I doubt this did anything but kick up a lot of dust. If there was only one point of contact inside between engine and tube, as opposed to some kind of planetary gear, then you can add a lot of metal and sparks besides the dust as output.

    I could see maybe some safety advantage if he got rid of the outside spiral. The thing looks like a portable whole animal meat grinder.

  4. Firebrand38 says: May 3, 201010:57 am
  5. John Savard says: May 3, 20102:58 pm

    Henri Coanda’s work? I happened to have run across mentions of the “Coanda Effect” recently in discussions of supposed secret military research on antigravity and flying saucers.

    Myself, I was just reminded of the Archimedian screw – and thought that this was essentially equivalent to a propeller, even if a propeller would have better impedance matching to the job it had to do.

  6. NefariousWheel says: May 4, 20106:52 am

    Too inefficient – too much rotating surface area that does not contribute to thrust. Drag costs power.

    Looks pretty though, doesn’t it? They were trying, though, and hindsight is always 20:20.

    Good design has a lot to do with economy – the more economical the design, generally, the more effective the result.

  7. Tim says: May 4, 20108:57 am

    Looking at old airplane designs, it seems like often there was little to no engineering involved; just wild ideas that skipped the drawing board and went straight to “working” model – often with disasterous results.
    I guess it was risks like that (and a few workable ideas) that caused aviation to grow so fast.
    Just compare the airplane of 1903 to one even 30 years later; and in less than 40 years after the Wrights’ first flight we had the DC3, P47, etc.

  8. Firebrand38 says: May 4, 20102:45 pm
  9. Buddy says: May 4, 20105:54 pm

    @8 – He actually built it and it taxied on the runway? Good for him!

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