Airplanes are one of the most important inventions of all time. They have revolutionized traveling, tourism, warfare, and trade. Journeys that took months can now be completed in hours. There have been countless planes in the 115-year long history of aviation. Today, we will take a look at 10 of the most beautiful planes of all time.
1. Lockheed Constellation
The plane was conceived in 1939 and was nicknamed Connie. It was built between 1943 and 1958 and served in the 1990s. According to chief research engineer Kelly Johnson, the purpose was to “carry more people farther and faster than ever before, and economically enough to broaden the acceptance of flying as an alternative to train, ship, and automobile.”
This was built as a result of the combined project between Britain and France and could travel at twice the speed of sound. The plane was struggling financially and had its last flight in 2003 and the last plane now rests in the Bristol Aerospace museum.
3. Grumman F7F Tigercat
This was a heavy fighter plane that served the US Marine Corps from 1944 to 1954. It served the military during the Korean war and then was later used to fight forest fires in the US during the 1960s to 1980s.
4. Macchi M.C.72
Even though it was a seaplane, it was designed while keeping speed in mind. It served for a short while during 1931 and 1934 but became the fastest aircraft to ever fly at a top speed of 440.7 mph. It held that record for five years and still holds the record for the fastest single-engined propeller-driven seaplane.
5. P-51 Mustang
This was conceived as a fighter plane for the British in WWII. It was described as “the most aerodynamically perfect pursuit plane in existence” by the Truman Senate War Investigating Committee in 1944. Speaking on BBC radio in 2009, broadcaster and plane fanatic Clive James put it like this: “It was beautiful. Accidentally beautiful. And it was a war winner … When it appeared over Berlin in 1944 (it wasn’t supposed to be there – no fighter aircraft was meant to fly that far) Goering was in front of the air ministry in the Wilhelmstrasse and he looked up and he saw it and he knew the war was lost.”
6. Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit
This is a stealth bomber and looks beautifully intimidating. It has a huge 172-ft wingspan. Its flat cross-section makes it very hard to see as it passes away and does its job wonderfully.
7. Supermarine Spitfire
This was built for speed, maneuverability, and ease of flight. This was an extremely adaptable plane and underwent 24 versions between 1938 and 1948 when production finally came to an end. It is one of the iconic symbols of WWII and played an important part in the Battle of Britain and D-Day invasion of Normandy.
8. Vickers VC10
This plane is known because of its large wings that allow it to take off and land on relatively short runways. However, the design was not suited to newer engines and even though the production ceased in 1970, the VC10s were flown by the Royal Air Force until 2013.
9. Avro Avian
This is best known as Amelia Earhart’s aircraft of choice. Her historic transatlantic flight in 1928 took place in a 594 Avian III. The same aircraft was also used by Wop May to fly medicine to the Canadian prairies following the outbreak of diphtheria and it was dubbed “the race against death”.
10. Blériot XI
This was built and flown by Louis Blériot in 1909. This was the first heavier-than-air aircraft to fly over the English Channel. The aircraft stayed in production up to the beginning of WWI. Some of the restored versions are still thought to be the oldest aircraft flying today.
These are the most beautiful planes of all time. If you believe other aircraft need to be added to the list, let us know in the comments.
Good article and nicely curated list. My favourite has to be the Macchi M.C.72! It held the world speed record for over 5 years!