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Old 19th May 2011, 23:44   #1 (permalink)
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Nominations needed for Aviation History Magazine article

What are the most beautiful airplanes ever?

The magazine recently published a piece of mine on the ugliest airplanes of all time, and it elicited so much attention, comment and readership that now they want me to do the other end of the spectrum.

Constellation, SF-260, F-86, Hughes Racer, 707, Spitfire, Deperdussin, Concorde, Cessna 310...there are a zillion possibilities (well, at least dozens) and I'd like to come up with a list that covers everything from WWI to the present, with equal weight given to a WWI fighter, a vintage biplane, a classic 1930s single, both piston and jet air transports, same for fighters, a Postwar general aviation airplane and a number of other important categories.

It would also be fun to come up with some surprises: choosing the Spitfire is like shooting fish in a barrel, but was there possibly a French (gasp!) or Italian fighter even lovelier?

I'd like to also limit the criteria to the visual, not the visceral: lots of people consider the Lanc or the B -24 beautiful because it brought them home alive and/or did a lot of damage to the enemy, but I hope to leave out such emotions and deal simply with airplanes as objects of beauty. Never mind if it had terrible single-engine handling, was a piece of crap quality-wise or was a failure on the market, what do you people consider to be the most beautiful airplanes ever?

I ask because I admire your knowledge and opinions, frankly.
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Old 20th May 2011, 00:36   #2 (permalink)
 
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What were your top ten uglies.Stepwilk?
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Old 20th May 2011, 01:32   #3 (permalink)
 
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There can only be one classic '30's single.

Beechcraft 17.
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Old 20th May 2011, 02:22   #4 (permalink)
 
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Hawker Hunter.
Concorde (obviously)
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Old 20th May 2011, 06:39   #5 (permalink)
 
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Hawker Hunter
F-100 Super Sabre
Mirage 2000

Last edited by DougGordon; 20th May 2011 at 06:40. Reason: addition
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Old 20th May 2011, 08:45   #6 (permalink)
 
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Airbus Beluga

Bristol T188

Fairey Delta 2

VC-10
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Old 20th May 2011, 09:53   #7 (permalink)
 
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Martin Baker MB5.

Any modern sailplane.

Hawker Hunter of course!
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Old 20th May 2011, 11:07   #8 (permalink)
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Grumman Tigercat - curvaceous, slender and a nice pair right where they should be! Sounds great too.

Quote:
There can only be one classic '30's single.
I'd contend that the Spartan Executive is a serious rival - the essence of 1930s beauty.
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Old 20th May 2011, 15:32   #9 (permalink)
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"What were your top ten uglies, Stepwilk?"

It was actually 13, now that I see the article again, but go here...

The 13 Ugliest Airplanes History Net

and you can read it on line.
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Old 20th May 2011, 18:18   #10 (permalink)
 
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Devil

Stepwilk

Would you add the Blackburn Botha to your list of uglies, please? That comapny really did go for "odd" lines - seems thay did too much work for the Navy ...

PS Buccaneer ? I'm just not going there ...
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Old 20th May 2011, 20:18   #11 (permalink)
 
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De Havilland Albatross (With the new fins)

Or maybe the Heston Napier racer.

Or one of Stelio Frati's planes, the Falco maybe.
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Old 20th May 2011, 21:11   #12 (permalink)
 
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I agree with the nomination for the DH Albatross....lovely!

I have a soft spot for the Mig 21....the early ones with the area rule fuselage.

Some very nice pre war aircraft from Hawker.... Demon, Hart, Fury etc.

A bit left field, but the Republic XF12 "Rainbow" (only 2 built) was something to behold.
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Old 20th May 2011, 22:14   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Or one of Stelio Frati's planes, the Falco maybe.
In stepwilk's case that's awfully close to bribery!
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Old 20th May 2011, 22:25   #14 (permalink)
 
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My Fave

Sablatnic, anything by Stelio Frati is the epitome of Italian style, ie. - gorgeous - and will win you extra brownie points with Stepwilk, who I think built and flew a Falco for some years. The usual suspects, Spits, De Havs. are all worthy contenders natch. - but may I put in a vote for the rugged, clean-cut simplicity of the F86A Sabrejet from North American Aviation Inc.
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Old 20th May 2011, 22:42   #15 (permalink)
 
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Here are a few of my favourites,
Frati Falco (some names just keep cropping up!)
Miles Gemini
P-51D Mustang
Douglas DC-8-61 or 63
Constellation
Beech 17
SR-71
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Old 20th May 2011, 23:01   #16 (permalink)
 
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A dozen or so aeroplanes that I've always thought very beautiful:

Vickers VC10
Waco YMF
Hawker Hunter
Concorde
Lockheed Constellation
de Havilland Comet
Beechcraft Model 35 Bonanza
Luscombe 8
Supermarine Spitfire
Macchi MC72
Supermarine S6B
Lockheed P-80
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Old 20th May 2011, 23:29   #17 (permalink)
 
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I always considered the Short Sealand amphibian as a 'pretty' aircraft.

A couple of Indian Navy Sealands from the Indian Navy Fleet Requirements Unit at Cochin took part in the JET '57 exercise at Trincomalee (Ceylon) and were based at RAF China Bay in October 1957 where I took these photos.

Lovely lines for an amphibian.





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Old 20th May 2011, 23:32   #18 (permalink)
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"Or one of Stelio Frati's planes, the Falco maybe..."

I have to admit that I built and for five years flew a Falco, which is now in Australia on its second Ozzie owner. I may have to choose the SF-260...

Also, I'm interested that nobody has mentioned the DH88 Comet. Some great suggestions, though, for which many thanks!
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Old 21st May 2011, 01:10   #19 (permalink)
 
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Beauty Parade

Here's a few....
De Havilland....Original single pilot nose DH-86
Getty Images - Unsupported browser detected

and the DH-95 Flamingo
http://www.rcyachts.net/oziom/Leica/...201948%20A.jpg

Boeing.....if a bomber can be 'beautiful' the B-29
Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" Heavy Bomber
and curiously terminated early by Boeing, the beautiful 757
Boeing: Multimedia - Image Gallery - 757

Italian style...
Savoia Marchetti SM79 'Sorci Verdi' team
http://www.aerei-italiani.net/Bruno_...ci%20Verdi.jpg
CANT Z1007bis
http://www.finn.it/regia/immagini/ca...cia_libera.jpg
Caproni Ca133
http://www.finn.it/regia/immagini/ca..._catturato.jpg
Piaggio P-136L
Photos: Piaggio P-136-L Royal Gull Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net

Lockheed Starliner
Photo of Lockheed L-1649A Starliner N7301C - Aviation Safety Network

Douglas DC-6B
http://www.stinsonflyer.com/prop/dc6-07.jpg
A-4 Skyhawk
Photos: McDonnell Douglas A-4G Skyhawk Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net
A-3 Skywarrior
Photos: Douglas EA-3B Skywarrior Aircraft Pictures | Airliners.net

SAAB 340
http://www.x-plane.org/home/urf/avia...ab/saab340.jpg
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Old 21st May 2011, 10:07   #20 (permalink)
 
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Fairey Fantome.
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