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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Top 10 Best Airplanes in History – Then and Now

Starting from a young age, everyone of us has been captivated with these magnificent machines for quite some time now. In the following article, you’ll find some of my all-time favorite airplanes. Although the planes mentioned here are just numbers, none of them is superior. Each plane was a technological marvel when it designed, and each served a specific purpose. This content of top 10 best airplanes is purely subjective, as it’s hard to say precisely which ones are the prime. The numbers in the article are purely for navigational purposes.

10. Wright Brothers’ Flyer 1

The first airplane in our top 10 best airplanes had to be on a list like this. Wilbur and Orville Wright’s gossamer-winged aircraft, which they designed and flew on December 17, 1903, made it possible for humans to fly heavier than air for the first time. Except for Charlie Taylor’s lightweight, fuel-injected engine, the Wright Brothers designed the entire contraption from the ground up to achieve this accomplishment. Who can deny that it was the best airplane of that era?

Wright Brothers' Flyer 1 - first airplane ever

9. DC-3 (Douglas-Commercial-3)

The Douglas-Commercial-3 is probably the best transport airplane in the past times. Introduced in 1935, this robust, versatile, and durable jet airplane was one first to fly transcontinental across the United States. The C-47, the American military’s equivalent of the DC-3, saw widespread service during World War II. Due to the plane’s ease of landing, many countries utilize DC-3s for freight transport, aerial spraying, and commercial air traffic. According to aviation enthusiasts, “the only thing that can replace a DC-3 is another DC-3”. This reliable airplane may never retire!

DC-3 (Douglas-Commercial-3)

8. SR-71 Blackbird

In the Cold War, the Blackbird was a reconnaissance jet that could fly at such altitudes (85,000 feet) and speeds (over Mach 3) as well as it could not shot down besides surface-to-air missiles from the Russians or other adversaries. Others could fly as fast for a short time, but only the SR-71 could maintain maximum speed for an hour at a time (until its fuel ran out). The Blackbird was one of the first aircraft to use stealth technologies, such as reducing the cross-section of the airframe to reduce radar exposure and painting the entire body a dark blue. Many purists considered the Blackbird one of the finest aircraft ever produced. The SR-71 was armed only with cameras and sensors, utilized for spying and scientific research on occasion. Have you ever seen anything so seductive?

SR-71 Blackbird

7. Harrier Jump Jet

The Harrier (a bird of prey), also known as the Harrier Jump Jet, was the first operational jet fighter capable of vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL). Introduced in 1969 and operated by the Royal Air Force (RAF), this subsonic strike fighter, part of the first generation of Harriers, had no runway for takeoff and could take off from a small clearing or the deck of an aircraft carrier. The United States Marine Corps (USMC) began utilizing Harriers in the 1970s, which were regarded to have comparable performance to F-4 Phantoms. In the 1980s, the second generation of Harriers took to the skies. McDonald Douglas redeveloped the AV-8B Harrier II and renamed it the AV-8B Harrier II. The F-35B, capable of vertical takeoff and landing, started to replace the AV-8B Harrier II in 2015.

Harrier Jump Jet

6. F-117A Nighthawk

Following our top 10 best airplanes list we have this wonderful jet at number 6. The first stealth aircraft in the USAF’s arsenal was the F-117A Nighthawk. But the Nighthawk wasn’t a jet fighter; it was more of a ground attack aircraft. Before laser-guided munitions were standard in the early 1980s, the Nighthawk designed to be practically invisible to radars. In the 1991 Persian Gulf War, the Nighthawk performed admirably, completing over 1,300 flights without any shot down. However, during the 1999 Kosovo War, an enemy utilizing extremely long-wavelength radar could locate a Nighthawk and shoot it down. The F-22, a more advanced stealth fighter, replaced this aircraft when it eliminated from service in 2008.

F-117A Nighthawk - Wonderful jet

5. TU-95 Bear

After its introduction in 1956 as a direct duplicate of Boeing’s B-29 Superfortress, the TU-95 Bear is projected to continue seeing service well into the next century. The TU-95 is a long-range bomber and cruise missile platform powered by four Kuznetsov NK-12 coupled turboprop engines. These engines are more powerful and have a more extended range than piston-driven propeller engines. This bomber can fly from Russia to the United States if required, with a range of around 7,800 miles. The TU-95 has been improved or enhanced over the years, resulting in variations, the most recently introduced in 2020. In November 2016, during the Syrian Civil War, a TU-95 deployed cruise missiles. Surprisingly, the TU-95 Bear is still in service as the sole propeller-driven strategic bomber.

TU-95 Bear

4. Concorde

Only France and the United Kingdom’s Concorde was completed and entered regular service in 1976, despite plans by the United States of America and the Soviet Union to build their supersonic passenger jet airliners. The Concorde had the best top speed of Mach 2 and the most fantastic range of any supersonic aircraft, flying nonstop from London to New York without stopping. The Concorde remained in service for an additional 27 years. However, a slew of issues put a stop to its promising career. The plane’s avionics were analog and in need of an upgrade when it crashed in 2000, revealing its apparent invincibility. The plane was costly to run. In November 2003, the Concorde made its final flight.


3. B-29 Superfortress

The B-29 Superfortress, which dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, was one of the most effective bombers during World War II. Despite being the most expensive at $3 billion in design and construction (the Manhattan Project cost $1.9). By carrying 20,000 pounds of bombs over 3,250 miles over the Pacific Theater of WWII, this long-range strategically important aircraft was required. An analog computer system allowed remote control of four gun turrets, a tricycle landing gear, and fuel injection and reversible props were in the Silverplate series. This bomber saw action in both World Wars, serving into the early 1960s.

During World War II’s European theatre, the B-17 Flying Fortress deserves special notice as the primary long-range strategic bomber used by the United States. The B-17 dropped more bombs than any other American plane during World War II. And it is famous for its persistence in combat. This is the reason that this aircraft sustains its position among the top 10 best airplanes in the world.

B-29 Superfortress

2. U-2 Dragon Lady

Since 1955, many modified versions of the U-2 spy plane have been in service. The U-2 uses for scientific study, satellite calibration, communication, and surveillance (or spying). It has a maximum altitude of 70,000 feet, at which point the earth’s curvature seems easily. The CIA initially operated the U-2 to take pictures of Soviet military facilities. In both 1960 and 1962, Russian surface-to-air missiles downed U-2 spy planes, making them world-famous. Interestingly, according to NASA, the Dragon Lady used to map the Mendocino Complex Fire in California as recently as August 2018 and might be a viable multi-use aircraft until the year 2050.

U-2 Dragon Lady

1. Solar Impulse 2

Last but not the least in our top 10 best airplanes of all times, Solar Impulse 2 is at number 1. This airplane is entirely self-sufficient in terms of fuel; it is wholly powered beyond photovoltaic solar cells. First launched in 2009 as the Solar Impulse 1. This airplane can self-launch and fly hundreds, if not thousands, of miles for up to 36 hours. However, it has limitations:

  • It can carry only one person and almost no cargo and only fly in clear weather.
  • It requires a large number of engineers, technical, and logistical workers.

The Solar Impulse 2 was the first solar-power aircraft to fly the whole globe’s circumference in 2016, covering over 26,000 miles in 16 months. According to the plane’s creators, soon, all commercial and private aircraft will be powered solely alongside the sun.

Solar Impulse 2

In a word, we did our best to bring you the great plans in the history. On the other hand, we also explore a list of top 10 fastest cars along with the best super bikes for you.

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