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Other than a swing wing, what types of variable geometry have flown?
20 votes

Going waaay back to the Wright Flyer, aircraft were originally controlled by warping the wing. Literally yanking on the edges of the wing to twist it and induce a roll. In a few years this technique ...

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Has there ever been a plane not controlled from the nose?
17 votes

Adding to the excellent existing answers, flipping through my copy of The World's Worst Aircraft (because we've learned putting the pilot anywhere but the nose is a terrible idea), I find some... umm.....

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What happens when all electrical systems in a helicopter fail?
15 votes

It turns out you picked a particularly susceptible helicopter. Unlike other helicopters which are still largely mechanical, the EC135 has digital engine control. The simplest solution is to pick a ...

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Why are special aircraft used for the carriers in the United States Navy?
11 votes

The needs to operate on a carrier are different than the needs for a land based aircraft. They are subtle, but significant. As others have pointed out, the F-35 attempted to address these issues and ...

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Why did the YF-23 never enter service?
11 votes

The YF-23 lost the Advanced Tactical Fighter program to the YF-22, however it has not been made public why. The ATF evaluation is still classified and details about the YF-23's performance are not ...

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Why are military drones shaped so strangely?
7 votes

For single engine pushers with a canopy, when a pilot bails out of a manned aircraft they might hit the prop or intake at the rear of the aircraft. This requires either special provisions for ejecting,...

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Why is mid-air refueling worth it? (or is it at all?)
4 votes

I'll build on @HenningMakholm's excellent answer. Mid-air refueling brings lots of cost-benefits beyond the obvious "make planes go farther". First, tankers can provide operational flexibility and ...

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