The coleopter might not have been intended for spaceflight, but this colorful concept from a group of French-German researchers reflects a distinctly 1950s optimism about the future of space exploration. Instead of using wings, the coleopter employed a circular extension serving as the outer part of the jet engine while helping the aircraft achieve level flight, as well as vertical ascent and landing. During takeoff, the coleopter would rise straight up like a rocket before alighting itself for cruise mode. To land, it would reposition itself vertically again.
Researchers came up with four models that could be used for either leisure or combat: A guided missle (called "the Ogre"), a pilotless interceptor, a light ground-attack plane, and a three-seat private private, pictured left.
Read the full story in "Why You May Fly in a Barrel"