I Want My Inflatable Airplane

From the good folks at AvWeb, a story about the Swiss ultralight design that’s something like a cross between a hang glider and a powered parachute — and also bears a family resemblance to my ultimate fantasy aircraft, the Goodyear Inflatoplane. This was an otherwise conventional airplane which happened to have wings and a fusalage made out of inflatable rubber. The idea was that if one of your pilots bailed out behind enemy lines you could drop this to him and he could blow it up and fly it to safety. (Then, presumably, use it as a pool toy once he’d gotten back home.) Like many of the coolest ideas in aviation, it was a long way from practical. Here’s what it looked like:

If nothing else, one imagines that the crashes would be less than catastrophic.