|Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.9|
This is one man's opinion, of course, but this is the plane I would least wish to pull observer duty in. Designed as a replacement for the Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2c reconnaissance aircraft, which was considered a "sitting duck," its observer position seems to provide a nice view, but:
A. He's inches away from getting sliced up by the propeller at any time. (By the way, is this a pusher or a tractor design or both?)
B. If there's a crash landing he seems be in serious jeopardy from both the propeller and the engine sitting just behind the propeller.
C. Just how does he communicate with the pilot?
D. Speaking of the pilot, he seems to be sitting more to the rear than normally, putting him farther out of touch with the observer.
Anyway, one of the B.E.9s was deployed to the Western Front where three RFC squadrons gave it a test ride and said "No, thanks".
Please list your nominees for biggest design fail in the comments section below and I'll see what I can find out about them. Being ugly is not sufficient basis for a nomination, however.