Before The F-35 and Harrier, There Was The 60’s XV-5
How Crazy Is That Thing?
It’s crazy to think that just 15 years after the end of World War II, planes like these were already in existence. Before we had nothing but propeller driven aircraft with radial or inline engines. Once the jet age hit however, innovation grew exponentially.
In 1961, the United States Army asked for an aircraft that was capable of V/STOL or vertical and/or short take-off and landing. A company by the name of Ryan Aeronautical answered the call and within a year had the XV-5 Vertifan prototype in the air.
Out of the two prototypes, none survived and sadly both test pilots perished.
As you’ll see, it was quite impressive, especially for those times. The plane had engines in both of its wings, one in the nose as well as two in the back for forward propulsion. There are of course a lot of similarities of V/STOL capable planes of today, but that’s how things work. Someone has to pave the way for future innovation.
The whole montage is about 13 minutes long, so we recommend you fast forward about 8 minutes in when the pilot gets in the cockpit and takes off. It is interesting to view the whole thing however. Although it’s silent, the film shows all the moving parts of the plane which are incredibly impressive.