NASA is putting money behind this crazy aircraft design that not only flies sideways, but may solve an age-old aeronautical paradox... find out why and how below:
This aeronautical paradox in question is:
In order to get a heavy metal plane off the ground the aircraft needs a wide wingspan, but if you wish to hit supersonic speeds the longer wingspan becomes a liability... The solution is to design a plane that takes off in the direction with a wider wingspan and when you want to hit supersonic speeds, the engines rotate 90degrees allowing the plane to fly in its slimmer direction.... similar to a rocket.
The "Supersonic bi-directional flying wing" has wings of alternating length at each compass point and therefore can solve both situations, by taking off in one orientation, then essentially flying sideways when it's time to go supersonic. Led by researcher Gecheng Zha at the University of Miami, the SBiDir-FW concept now has $100,000 of NASA cash to play around with, and will get another half mil if early development work looks promising.