1. Yakovlev Yak-38
In 1967 the Brits were busy showing off their new Harrier Jump Jet. The Soviet Navy got real jealous and asked for their own VTOL plane. The Yakovlev design bureau accepted the challenge
In an effort to reduce weight, designers removed the radar and reduced fuel capacity, leaving the Yak with a short-range and pathetic combat capability. Needless to say, the Yak-38 wasn’t a great design, the only good feature was that it had an automatic ejector seat.
2. Blackburn Firebrand
Heavy, bulky and awfully inefficient, the Firebrand had a top speed of 340 mph despite having a 2520 hp engine, in comparison the P-51D Mustang reached a top speed of 440 mph with a 1700 hp Merlin-60. The cockpit in the Firebrand was also placed too low and too far back, giving pilot very poor forward vision and essentially no vision during takeoff and landing.
Test Pilot Eric Brown, who test flew and assessed over 470 types of aircraft, ranked the Firebrand as the most unpleasant.
Unlike the MiG-21, the 23 was expensive, mechanically complex, and frowned upon by pilots who flew previous MiG Jets, which were all decent if not excellent.
The MiG-23’s supposed redeeming quality was that it had the ability to fire long-range missiles, but its radar was inferior to the American F-4 Phantom and F-106. It also only carried two (very unreliable) radar-guided missiles. In the end, the MiG-23 wasn’t completely useless or awful, but it was no better than it’s predecessors and did nothing to justify its cost and complexity.
4. Convair F-102 Delta Dagger
Designed in the 1950s to shoot down Soviet Bombers, the F-102 Delta Dagger was a pathetic excuse of an interceptor. Due to its engine’s poor performance and aerodynamic design, the F-102 couldn’t even break the sound barrier when it was supposed to fly at 1.5 times the speed of sound.
Several major redesigns only resulted in minor improvements in performance, and in 1957 the Air Force got so sick of the countless changes to the F-102 that they basically asked for a new airplane.
5. Heinkel He 162
In 1944, Nazi Germany was running out of planes, resources and time. Hitler’s genius solution to this problematic situation was to build volksjagers, which means ‘People’s fighter.’ This plane was supposed to be built by common folks with plywood and glue, so that airplane factories only needed to produce the engine and thus save time.
You do not need to be an engineer to figure out that letting untrained people build fighter jets out of glue and plywood wasn’t such a good idea.