Looking at this soviet-like aircraft:

enter image description here Source

It looks like a turbine engineer team met a biplane aerodynamicist team to create this strange aircraft! More over, it appears the two big pottery pieces are actually tanks.

What is the story and the use of this jet aircraft?

  • 12
    $\begingroup$ Despite looking like toilets, I'm fairly certain the tanks are not pottery. :) $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Dec 6 '16 at 1:28
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @egid, these were considered "bog standard" at the time. :) $\endgroup$
    – Wossname
    Dec 6 '16 at 8:18
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ From the source page the image caption is 'Samolot PZL M-15 Belphegor (fot. Autor)' - indicating it's a PZL M-15 Belphegor. (Yeah, I know there's already an accepted answer, but it was fairly simple... Didn't even need to be able to read Polish. :/ ) $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Dec 7 '16 at 15:25
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ did you grab this from me off of Facebook? I posted it there yesterday. $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Dec 7 '16 at 17:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ identical image facebook.com/groups/41407135412/permalink/10158045611150413/… $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Dec 7 '16 at 18:27

It is the Polish PZL M-15, as you can read in the image if you zoom in. From Wikipedia:

The aircraft was designed in Poland in response to a Soviet requirement for a new agricultural plane.

Agricultural airplanes fly slow and having a shorter span increases the number of (air)fields you can land on. That's probably why they decided using a biplane design.

The two tanks outside the fuselage could have several reasons:

  • Placing the chemicals further away from the turbine and pilot
  • Reduce the bending moment at the wing root
  • Shorter pipes between the tank and the spray nozzles

All this, of course, at the cost of a lot of drag. As explained in the image source page, fuel consumption was three times larger than other agricultural airplanes and it had a really bad maneuverability.

The jet engine was a requirement dictated by Aeroflot, who wanted to use the same type of fuel for their passenger and agricultural airplanes.

  • 18
    $\begingroup$ The silliest part is that they could have simply used a turboprop... $\endgroup$ Dec 5 '16 at 23:42
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ another reason to put the tanks there is to make for shorter pipes between the tanks and the spray nozzles. This was a pretty large aircraft for a crop duster, meant for the very large fields at Soviet collective farms, so needed a high capacity or it'd have to reload too often. $\endgroup$
    – jwenting
    Dec 6 '16 at 7:05

That's a Mielec M-15 Belphegor, the world's only jet powered biplane. A jet agricultural aircraft, manufactured by PZL Mielec in Poland for Soviet agricultural aviation. For its strange looks and noisy engine it was nicknamed Belphegor, after the noisy demon.


  • 17
    $\begingroup$ World's only production jet powered biplane. Others exist $\endgroup$ Dec 5 '16 at 20:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Portions of this answer appear to be plagiarized from Wikipedia. $\endgroup$ Dec 6 '16 at 14:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Depending on the definition of "jet", Coandă-1910 can be counted as one. A biplane, naturally. $\endgroup$
    – Agent_L
    Dec 6 '16 at 17:04

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