17 March 2009
A CG version of the Russian Kalinin K-7
The person who sent me these photos and the link considers the K-7 to be the "ugliest airframe in aviation history." It certainly was bizarre, but incredibly the plane did fly.
The K-7 was designed and built in Russia in the 1930s. The original design called for six engines, but when that proved inadequate to lift the behemoth, two more were added to the trailing edges of the wings.
For wartime use it was equipped with machine gun turrets, but it was presumably a transport rather than a combat aircraft. It could be modified for civilian use to carry 120 passengers. That use was never accomplished, since the early models were prone to minor structural problems such as the wings falling off, so production was halted in 1935.
The images above are computer graphics, inspired by the K-7 to show its theoretic potential. Photos of the actual plane are at this Russian website, with extensive text in Russian.