From the highly successful series "Wings" on The Discovery Channel comes the six-volume set of videos "Strange Planes." For aviation buffs, this collection is an insightful look at the history of aircraft, sometimes amusing, sometimes bizarre and at times astonishing, yet always interesting.
The efforts of aircraft designers, whether resulting in failure and folly or remarkable achievement, are chronicled into one-hour cassettes, $19.95 each or a boxed set for $119.70. This collection was produced by Atlas Video, Bethesda, Md. (1-800-999-0212), in association with The Discovery Channel and is scheduled for release Friday.
The "Strange Planes" series was produced in Australia and aired as part of The Discovery Channel's most highly rated series, "Wings," during its initial airing.
The six titles in the collection are:
"Giants" From dirigibles like the Hindenberg and Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose, touching all the major milestones along the way, up to the C5 Galaxy, Fat Albert, and the U.S.S.R.'s giant AN 124.
"Parasites" From the launching and retrieving of planes by dirigibles in the early 1900s to piggy-backing and today's space shuttle.
"Drones, Mutants and Midgets" From the German SC-1262 and the 1930s drone controlled by wires connected to a telephone and Hitler's ominous V-1 to ultra-lights and one-man rocket packs.
"Eyes in the Skies" From a picture taken aloft by Wilbur Wright in 1909 and the first use of an observation aircraft in 1911 to the U2, AWACS and spy satellites, including the SR71 "Blackbird," regarded by many as the finest plane ever built. It flew from Los Angeles to Washington's Dulles Airport in 62 minutes.
"Vertical" From the Bell XV3 and XV15 to the Hawker and Harrier, a recounting of the planes that leap into the sky without a runway and some that were supposed to but didn't.
"Strange Shapes" From an early Flying Wing at Northrop in the 1920s that didn't work to one that does, the Stealth Bomber. Also includes other remarkable shapes such as the Flying Pancake and the Tailless Fighter.