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  #1  
Old 03-22-2007, 12:44 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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What kind of plane is this?

I work under the flight path of the San Jose International Airport and saw a pretty weird looking plane.

It seemed to be about the size of a small 737, or maybe a little smaller. It had a long fuselage with what appeared to be a stubby canard in front. The wings were mounted far back, well past the midpoint of the fuselage. The two engines appeared to be "pusher" turbo-props, mounted on the empannage behind the wings. It had a "T" tail. I don't remember if there were windows down the fusalage or not.

Does anybody know what kind of plane this is?

Thanks,
J.
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  #2  
Old 03-22-2007, 12:47 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Piaggio P180 Avanti. Only it's quite a bit smaller than a 737.
  #3  
Old 03-22-2007, 12:51 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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More pics.
  #4  
Old 03-22-2007, 12:53 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
Piaggio P180 Avanti. Only it's quite a bit smaller than a 737.
No, that doesn't seem right. The plane I saw was much bigger, AND, I'm pretty sure the engines were mounted on the empannage, not the wings. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

J.
  #5  
Old 03-22-2007, 12:56 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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An Avanti 180, perhaps?

Bah, beaten by faster typists!

Last edited by gotpasswords; 03-22-2007 at 12:57 PM.
  #6  
Old 03-22-2007, 12:59 PM
brewha brewha is offline
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Could it be a Beechcraft Starship?
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:03 PM
brewha brewha is offline
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Here's a pic from the top.



ETA - I guess this probably isn't it, since there is no T-tail.

It would be a rare sight since there are only a handful flying.

Last edited by brewha; 03-22-2007 at 01:04 PM.
  #8  
Old 03-22-2007, 01:18 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jharvey963
No, that doesn't seem right. The plane I saw was much bigger, AND, I'm pretty sure the engines were mounted on the empannage, not the wings. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

J.
The Avanti matches every point except for size and engine location. Is it possible that from a distance and from a certain angle the engines appeared to be on the empannage? Was there anything nearby to give scale to the aircraft? If not, could it have appeared to be larger than it was?

There aren't that many canard-configured aircraft around. Here are some examples.
  #9  
Old 03-22-2007, 01:25 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewha
Here's a pic from the top.



ETA - I guess this probably isn't it, since there is no T-tail.

It would be a rare sight since there are only a handful flying.
No, that's not it. No T tail. Thanks for the suggestion.

J.
  #10  
Old 03-22-2007, 02:36 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is online now
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Were there any airline markings on it? I often see two-engined, dual propeller driven commuter airliners landing as I drive through LAX, which do have the T-tail, but have wing-mounted props.
  #11  
Old 03-22-2007, 02:47 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
The Avanti matches every point except for size and engine location. Is it possible that from a distance and from a certain angle the engines appeared to be on the empannage? Was there anything nearby to give scale to the aircraft? If not, could it have appeared to be larger than it was?

There aren't that many canard-configured aircraft around. Here are some examples.
Actually, I'm more sure about the size and the empannage mount than the canard. I see planes fly overhead all the time, and have a pretty good "eye" for the size of the plane. The front of the fuselage has "bulges" on the side, right where a canard would be mounted. I didn't actually SEE the canard, just the bulges, but assumed the canard was "stubby" and not visible from my vantage point.

I looked through the list of canard planes from the Wikipedia link, but the plane I saw is not shown there.

J.
  #12  
Old 03-22-2007, 02:48 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus
Were there any airline markings on it? I often see two-engined, dual propeller driven commuter airliners landing as I drive through LAX, which do have the T-tail, but have wing-mounted props.
I don't remember seeing any airline markings on it. If they were there, they were pretty subtle.

J.
  #13  
Old 03-22-2007, 02:50 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewha
Could it be a Beechcraft Starship?
That is what I was thinking of as well. IIRC there is only one left flying. The manufacturer wanted them all destroyed because the project almost bankrupted the comapny by itself. One man wouldn't give his up and it is the only one left.
  #14  
Old 03-22-2007, 02:52 PM
MonkeyMensch MonkeyMensch is offline
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I'm wondering if that DC-9 that was fitted with scimitar supersonic (or so) prop blades mounted to turboshaft engines is still flying? I'm googling like mad, but so far no joy.
  #15  
Old 03-22-2007, 02:57 PM
MonkeyMensch MonkeyMensch is offline
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Here's a prototype rendering though I'm sure the thing got built.
  #16  
Old 03-22-2007, 03:03 PM
MonkeyMensch MonkeyMensch is offline
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Too much doffe and being laid off leads to overly quick responses: No canards!
  #17  
Old 03-22-2007, 03:51 PM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyMensch
I'm wondering if that DC-9 that was fitted with scimitar supersonic (or so) prop blades mounted to turboshaft engines is still flying? I'm googling like mad, but so far no joy.
Actually, since he said that the plane might not have had canards, I'm leaning towards it being something from the McDonald Douglas/Boeing DC-9/MD-80/717 family of airliners, which IIRC are in the same size-range as a 737, and have turbofan engines mounted on the empanage with a T-tail. Having the engines on the back of the plane would also move the center-of-lift back, necessitating having the wings farther back as well.

The planes are sometimes used by freight-hauling services too, as well as the United States Air Force and Navy (only the Navy Reserves still fly the DC-9, which they call the C-9B Skytrain II, the Air Force retired their fleet of C-9A Nightingales back in 2005)

Of course, this raises the question, jharvey963, are you reasonably sure it had pusher-props and not simply turbofans mounted in that position?
  #18  
Old 03-22-2007, 04:26 PM
fiddlesticks fiddlesticks is offline
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If you saw this plane today or in the recent past, visit FlightAware and check out the airport activity for SJC and see what was landing/taking off at the time you saw the plane.
  #19  
Old 03-22-2007, 05:59 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader
Of course, this raises the question, jharvey963, are you reasonably sure it had pusher-props and not simply turbofans mounted in that position?
All I know is that I saw spinning blades at the rear of the engines. I can't say for sure if it was a prop or a turbofan.

J.
  #20  
Old 03-22-2007, 06:15 PM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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Check this sweet little beauty out. Very nice!
  #21  
Old 03-22-2007, 06:25 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phlosphr
Check this sweet little beauty out. Very nice!
Actually, I used to own a Velocity, though not as nicely painted. It was definitely a conversation starter. I flew it from Florida to Arizona. You can imagine the looks I got when I landed in Roswell, NM.

J.
  #22  
Old 03-22-2007, 06:48 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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Pretty unlikely to have both canards and a T-tail. Seeing as you didn't see the canards, we're best looking for a T-tail turbo-pusher.
  #23  
Old 03-22-2007, 07:12 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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The only two turbo-prop pusher T-tails I can find are these:

Embraer/FMA CBA 123 Vector,

or a NAL Sara.

The Sara isn't in production yet so it is more likely to be the Embraer although the Sara may have been on a demonstration flight.

Neither of these aircraft are anywhere near the size of a 737 though, turbo-props aren't normally that big.
  #24  
Old 03-22-2007, 07:30 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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Looking into it further it seems that only two Vectors were built.

Also there have been several P180 flights into San Jose recently. Are you sure it was a T-tail turbo-prop pusher? It seems that they are as rare as an honest politician.
  #25  
Old 03-22-2007, 07:39 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1920s Style "Death Ray"
Pretty unlikely to have both canards and a T-tail. Seeing as you didn't see the canards, we're best looking for a T-tail turbo-pusher.
Right last post, sorry for the spam session. Obviously I neglected the P180 when I made that comment about T-tails and canards.

I've been through Wikipedia's list of pusher prop aircraft. There were three with turbo-props and a T-tail. The Embraer Vector only saw two prototypes made and the Sara has recently made it's 100th flight. The P180 however, fits all of your description except for size and where the engines are mounted. Size is incredibly difficult to judge with no reference--was it similar size to a B737 or was it smaller and flying lower? The P180 also flies into SJC fairly regularly.

My vote is for a P180.

Last edited by Richard Pearse; 03-22-2007 at 07:40 PM.
  #26  
Old 03-22-2007, 08:43 PM
JRDelirious JRDelirious is offline
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Detail of the Unducted Fan Jet engine on the MD81 test aircraft:

http://www.b-domke.de/AviationImages/Rarebird/0809.html

The airplane would be a DC9 class jet with a T-tail. However there was only the one made, for the testing of the engines, almost 20 years ago and AFAIK they were dismantled when the testing finished and it was decided to just go with high-bypass ducted fans for the next-gen MD95.
  #27  
Old 03-22-2007, 08:44 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1920s Style "Death Ray"
Right last post, sorry for the spam session. Obviously I neglected the P180 when I made that comment about T-tails and canards.

I've been through Wikipedia's list of pusher prop aircraft. There were three with turbo-props and a T-tail. The Embraer Vector only saw two prototypes made and the Sara has recently made it's 100th flight. The P180 however, fits all of your description except for size and where the engines are mounted. Size is incredibly difficult to judge with no reference--was it similar size to a B737 or was it smaller and flying lower? The P180 also flies into SJC fairly regularly.

My vote is for a P180.
I understand your skepticism regarding the size. I am a pilot, however, and often watch the planes fly overhead. I'm pretty good at estimating size, and it was definitely bigger than the NAL Sara and Vector. I've even owned my own plane for a year. I'm quite confident that it was larger than these. The fuselage in front of the wings was also MUCH longer, which is why I interpreted the bulges on the sides of the front part of the fuselage as a canard.

It was also much bigger than the P180. I'm used to seeing unusual configurations in smaller airplanes flying into San Jose, and wouldn't have taken much notice of it had it been smaller. This one was remarkable because it was airliner size with a very unusual configuration.

Thanks for your efforts in trying to identify it.

J.
  #28  
Old 03-22-2007, 09:22 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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When did you see it?
  #29  
Old 06-23-2012, 12:49 PM
flyboy101 flyboy101 is offline
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I just saw the same plane!!! (6/2 012)

You won't believe it, but I just saw the same plane (now 2012). I have spent five hours on the internet searching for pics of this strange plane I saw. I even drew a picture of it so I wouldnt forget what it looked like... i have found NOTHING. I was about to give up and I came across this post.
I by a civilian airport and a marine air wing base. wonder if it is some kind of secret government serveilvance plane. I say this because the wings seemed to be straight high aspect ratio wings (thin and long) normally for high long range planes. Very rare in this type aircraft, normally reserved for experimental and government recon planes. I saw same as you!
The plane was white in color. It had a long narrow fuselage with a small straight rectangle "canard" on the tip of the nose (you said stubby - yes!). The wings were long and thin (straight out - no angle) about 3/4 of the way to the rear (looked like it was flying backwards because the tail is normally what is long). While it had sound no engines were visible on wings or nose. I could see the flat bottom of what may have been a t-tail but it ran along the bottom of the fuselage. I assumed it had one pusher prop mounted at the back because there was no other place it could have been. The one I saw seemed to have two small wingtip fuel tanks.
During my research to find what this was I never once found a pic. The closest thing I could find were the thin long wings of a glider or sail plane. No Canard plane had the canard molded directly in front, as part of the nose itself (not back at all) and did not have the long fuselage. I could go on and on about how strange this thing was. I have never seen anything like it, not even in my hours and hours of research. I'm glad I'm not the only one to see it!


___________________________________________________________

Quote:
Originally Posted by jharvey963 View Post
I work under the flight path of the San Jose International Airport and saw a pretty weird looking plane.

It seemed to be about the size of a small 737, or maybe a little smaller. It had a long fuselage with what appeared to be a stubby canard in front. The wings were mounted far back, well past the midpoint of the fuselage. The two engines appeared to be "pusher" turbo-props, mounted on the empannage behind the wings. It had a "T" tail. I don't remember if there were windows down the fusalage or not.

Does anybody know what kind of plane this is?

Thanks,
J.
  #30  
Old 06-23-2012, 01:19 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Are you sure yours wasn't the P180? Small nose-mounted canard; straight, unswept high-aspect-ratio wings; generally painted white. It even has a very small extra wing thingy mounted at the tail below the T-tail.
  #31  
Old 06-23-2012, 01:25 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Check this sweet little beauty out. Very nice!
Old thread, but our niece's husband is building one of these as we speak. He lives next to an airstrip and has a hangar-sized garage. Cool plane. Built his own engine and designed and built his own instrument panel. The guy is a major gear-head.
  #32  
Old 06-23-2012, 02:13 PM
flyboy101 flyboy101 is offline
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not the p180

Not even close to the p180, way to short. this plane is MUCH longer. Very long and thing. The only thing similar is the nose. Wings are different and engines are not on the wings like the 180.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Are you sure yours wasn't the P180? Small nose-mounted canard; straight, unswept high-aspect-ratio wings; generally painted white. It even has a very small extra wing thingy mounted at the tail below the T-tail.
  #33  
Old 06-23-2012, 02:25 PM
flyboy101 flyboy101 is offline
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Not even close to the p180, it is way to short it has engines on the wings. the plane I saw is MUCH longer. Very long and thin fuselage with engine as part of tail assembly. You can get the idea of it from the p180 in terms of the nose and wing position.... but only an idea of it. Hope I see it again.
  #34  
Old 06-23-2012, 03:29 PM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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This is going to sound incredibly condescending, given as you guys seem to be people who otherwise know their planes, but is there any way you were simply confused when looking at a CRJ900 (or, unlikely, given the lack of North American operators, a CRJ1000)?

The plane is very long and thin, with relatively straight wings for it's type that are set very far back. When the nose gear is extended, the doors are very visible and could look a bit like a canard.

Definitely a T-tail and at high speeds the unpainted metal nozzle of the CF34 engine *might* look like the rotor of a prop? With seating ranges of ~90 and ~100 seats respectively, the CRJ900 and CRJ1000 are kind of large, but somewhat smaller than the 737-200, which seats 97 in a typical two-class configuration.

It's an incredibly dorky plane to look at, especially if you are more used to seeing CRJ200s...even compared to the CRJ700, the 900 and 1000 look ridiculously long.
  #35  
Old 06-23-2012, 10:02 PM
flyboy101 flyboy101 is offline
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still a mystery

I appreciate your questions. Not seeing it for yourself must raise questions and doubts. However, the one I saw was flying very low and directly over my home. I got a really close look albeit directly underneath. The fuselage was very thin and very long. I would even say it was thin enough that it was most likely single pilot and any passangers would almost have to sit single file.
Today I went to our small airport and questioned some "in the know" management and showed them a hand sketched drawing and none of them were familiar with the aircraft and have not seen it on the flight line. Most likely it is an experimental plane... but the possibility still remains military recon. Today I must haved looked at two thousand pics online of all types of aircraft and never saw anything like it. It was a mix between the p180 and a glider. Same basic design as the p180, but much longer and thiner fuselage with long thin high aspect ratio wings. I'm telling you, never seen anything like it before. Very cool and rare sight.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mnemosyne View Post
This is going to sound incredibly condescending, given as you guys seem to be people who otherwise know their planes, but is there any way you were simply confused when looking at a CRJ900 (or, unlikely, given the lack of North American operators, a CRJ1000)?

The plane is very long and thin, with relatively straight wings for it's type that are set very far back. When the nose gear is extended, the doors are very visible and could look a bit like a canard.

Definitely a T-tail and at high speeds the unpainted metal nozzle of the CF34 engine *might* look like the rotor of a prop? With seating ranges of ~90 and ~100 seats respectively, the CRJ900 and CRJ1000 are kind of large, but somewhat smaller than the 737-200, which seats 97 in a typical two-class configuration.

It's an incredibly dorky plane to look at, especially if you are more used to seeing CRJ200s...even compared to the CRJ700, the 900 and 1000 look ridiculously long.
  #36  
Old 06-23-2012, 10:57 PM
scr4 scr4 is online now
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Could it be a BAE Mantis UAV?

ETA: Based on the statement that it first flew in 2009, (also this article), it seems it couldn't have been sighted in 2007. And it does have a bulge in the front, but no actual canard. Maybe there was a predecessor to it?

Last edited by scr4; 06-23-2012 at 11:01 PM.
  #37  
Old 06-24-2012, 11:13 AM
NCSUCSD NCSUCSD is offline
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Hey flyboy101, pretty sure I saw the exact same plane that you did... Completely white, obvious canards on the front, and was flying near Miramar... I immediately assumed it was a UAV of some kind, but haven't been able to find anything similar online. The flight path where I am would be very unusual for anything other than military aircraft.
  #38  
Old 06-24-2012, 12:29 PM
Really Not All That Bright Really Not All That Bright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
Could it be a BAE Mantis UAV?

ETA: Based on the statement that it first flew in 2009, (also this article), it seems it couldn't have been sighted in 2007. And it does have a bulge in the front, but no actual canard. Maybe there was a predecessor to it?
What would it have been doing at a civilian airfield in the US?
  #39  
Old 06-24-2012, 01:50 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is online now
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2012 and nobody has a cell phone with a camera?
  #40  
Old 06-24-2012, 08:06 PM
flyboy101 flyboy101 is offline
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You could be right

Yes it quite well could have been a UAV and yes it was completely white. I also live near a marine corps air wing base. It is interesting that the design is no where to be found.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCSUCSD View Post
Hey flyboy101, pretty sure I saw the exact same plane that you did... Completely white, obvious canards on the front, and was flying near Miramar... I immediately assumed it was a UAV of some kind, but haven't been able to find anything similar online. The flight path where I am would be very unusual for anything other than military aircraft.
  #41  
Old 06-24-2012, 08:09 PM
flyboy101 flyboy101 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
Could it be a BAE Mantis UAV?

ETA: Based on the statement that it first flew in 2009, (also this article), it seems it couldn't have been sighted in 2007. And it does have a bulge in the front, but no actual canard. Maybe there was a predecessor to it?
No not this aircraft at all... you guys must think LONG fuselage. Very long and very thin.
  #42  
Old 06-24-2012, 08:37 PM
flyboy101 flyboy101 is offline
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;;;;;;;;;;

Last edited by flyboy101; 06-24-2012 at 08:38 PM.
  #43  
Old 06-24-2012, 09:36 PM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Here is a photo of one of the MD-80 family of airliners (spun off from the aforementioned DC-9s). No canard, and no props on the engines at the tail end, but it is long with wings and engines near the back.

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Scand...9bc83befbee0e0
  #44  
Old 06-24-2012, 09:44 PM
coremelt coremelt is offline
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Theres a fleet of white unmarked MD-80's owned by the Justice Department and used for prisoner transport and deportation:
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo....main/4687136/

everything else matches, is it possible you were just wrong about the canard and pusher props?

opps never mind, flyboy is talking about a different plane than the OP it sounds like, this thread should really be split.

Last edited by coremelt; 06-24-2012 at 09:48 PM.
  #45  
Old 06-24-2012, 10:55 PM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
Theres a fleet of white unmarked MD-80's owned by the Justice Department and used for prisoner transport and deportation:
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo....main/4687136/

everything else matches, is it possible you were just wrong about the canard and pusher props?

opps never mind, flyboy is talking about a different plane than the OP it sounds like, this thread should really be split.
Minor nitpick, the pictured plane isn't unmarked, it's just lacking in livery. You can see the reg number on the side of the engine.
  #46  
Old 06-25-2012, 12:32 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coremelt View Post
Theres a fleet of white unmarked MD-80's owned by the Justice Department and used for prisoner transport and deportation:
http://www.airliners.net/aviation-fo....main/4687136/

everything else matches, is it possible you were just wrong about the canard and pusher props?

opps never mind, flyboy is talking about a different plane than the OP it sounds like, this thread should really be split.
I'm the original poster, and the plane that Flyboy101 saw seems identical to the one I saw. (I'm surprised to see this thread resurrected, actually.)

The fuselage was very long. The wings were almost rectangular and mounted (almost) at a 90 degree angle to the fuselage.

(Gotta go right now... more later)

J.
  #47  
Old 06-25-2012, 12:53 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader View Post
Here is a photo of one of the MD-80 family of airliners (spun off from the aforementioned DC-9s). No canard, and no props on the engines at the tail end, but it is long with wings and engines near the back.

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Scand...9bc83befbee0e0
Yeah, this one is no where near it. This one's wings are tapered and slanted back from the fuselage. No canard, and no pusher props.

J.
  #48  
Old 06-25-2012, 06:49 PM
Fubaya Fubaya is offline
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It probably won't help, but what color was the mystery plane?
  #49  
Old 06-25-2012, 06:55 PM
jharvey963 jharvey963 is offline
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It probably won't help, but what color was the mystery plane?
All white.
  #50  
Old 06-26-2012, 06:07 PM
flyboy101 flyboy101 is offline
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Strange and unknown

Yes, it sounds like three of us have seen the same plane (perhaps uav). To say it is rare does not seem to cover it. Rare is something that is KNOWN but not often seen. This thing is not even known. That is the most mysterious thing about it to me is that no pics exist of it and no one has any idea what it is.
It is as if the design itself does not exist. Had I not seen it with my own eyes i could not prove it exists. Very interesting to say the least.

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Originally Posted by jharvey963 View Post
All white.
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