The Bizarre Airplane Design that Shook Up Aviation

Bizarre Airplane Design

In the 1960s, a tailless double delta wing aircraft was more of an unproven technology than an audacious undertaking. But although the design lacked historical knowledge, the ambitious Swedish engineers at Saab pursued it with determination. Unsurprisingly, when the J 35 model was finalized, the airframe encountered numerous problems during its initial service life. Due to its unstable nature, the double delta configuration made it difficult to land, requiring manual stabilization during such attempts. Little did the Swedish know that the challenge would provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity to discover a maneuver not yet known to any other nation – the Cobra. As the test pilots entered an uncontrollable stall at high alpha, they unexpectedly learned how to control it by quickly negating the angle of attack to counter the suspension. The maneuver turned the airframe into its own air brake, reducing its speed instantaneously.

Credit Dark Skies