Most Beautiful Aircraft Ever Built

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MaxLA

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May 6, 2022
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The Baltimore Wh***
....They went on to have the lowest combat loss rate...
That's the thing. It was a very high performance airplane that very inexperienced young men were learning to fly very quickly so they could go fight in a very deadly war. So there were lots of training accidents-- but not all that much more than with other types-- and those who survived their training benefitted from the airplane's very high performance as seen in lower combat casualty rates.
 

Hawk81A

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Sep 3, 2021
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Doolittle originally considered using the B-26. Wonder how THAT would have turned out. I believe one reason so few exist today is they were in a hurry to scrap them to get rid of the "reputation". Dennis
 

MaxLA

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May 6, 2022
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I doubt the "reputation" meant anything. 5k Marauders were built vs. 2k Invaders. As the USAAF became the USAF they kept the Douglas A-26 / B-26 / A-26 which was two years more advanced in design and carried the same load at a 20% higher speed. Something that the nascent Air Force truly valued as it moved into the "jet age."
 

Victor Bravo

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There is no such thing as record-setting airplanes, only record-setting pilots.

There are no record-setting airplanes, only record setting pilots.

The two records I set nearly 40 years ago (OMFG) were about equally due to the airplane's performance and my own performance (pronounced "luck") on that one day. I could have been a much better pilot and still not made the records, if the airplane I was flying (AS-W20 glider) wasn't fully capable of setting a record.

Lyle Shelton was a truly great stick, but if that specific Bearcat wasn't genuinely a record-setting airplane, no world speed record would have been set. Chuck Yeager was also a great stick, and it wouldn't have mattered one teaspoon of s**t if the X-1 wasn't a record-setting airplane.

Same with the X-15 and Pete Knight, same with the Voyager and Dick Rutan, same with the R3C-2 and Doolittle, same with the Albatross and Byron Allen.

Now there are OTHER records that are in fact more about the pilot than the airplane. The record for the most consecutive loops, the record for most takeoffs and landings in one day, the record for most aerobatic competition wins... those are all far more pilot driven than aircraft driven.
 

Aesquire

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Jul 28, 2014
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Rochester, NY, USA
As an amateur enjineeer, ( can't spell it, but like the sound ) I find beauty in function.

I long ago discovered I didn't have the Native talent to do Art. Getting the image in my head through my hands is difficult. I do much better with mechanical drawing, and better yet at turning a drawing with numbers into a shape someone else came up with. But I spent many hours deliberately learning how to turn a blueprint into a thing of solid matter. If in my youth I'd given the same effort into free hand drawing, I might be a web cartoonist today!

And like many talentless people, "I don't know art, but I know what I like". ( the standard excuse for not liking something?) So I like the original Kifox cowl, a nostalgic homage to 1930s racers, designed for an engine that never went into production, better than the later more practical cowling designed for the engines actually used.

So the poor artist in me is in conflict with the poor enginer.

One or the other part of me, think most of the planes listed in this thread are pretty.

When both think so, they tend to be either Great ( historically ) or Could Have Been.

YF-23.
 

User27

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Apr 5, 2015
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181
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England
Most beautiful in the air.........jet-glider does low-level flypasts......


Why did the noise stop ... oh, he ran out of gas!!
Good in theory but awful in practice, the gliders stink of diesel, burn 1 lit/minute, difficult to carry enough fuel to go a sensible distance, starting is often unreliable, and rather noisy. But turbines are small and light.
 

bmcj

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Probably the most unique/unusual aspect of the Republic Rainbow was the engine cooling system that didn't use drag producing flaps.

There is no free lunch, but the Rainbow nacelle didn't have nearly as much drag increase with more cooling.
One of the pilots involved in the XF-12 Republic Rainbow program told me that the performance was eye watering for the time. He also said that the exhaust cooling augmentor tube was calculated to provided thrust equivalent to (IIRC) 200 additional HP per engine.
 
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Sraight'nlevel

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Nov 4, 2021
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One of the pilots involved in the program told me that the performance was eye watering for the time. He also said that the exhaust cooling augmentor tube was calculated to provided thrust equivalent to (IIRC) 200 additional HP per engine.

The basic lay out is timeless no wonder Hughes had his XF-11 made in similar way...like P-38.
 

Hawk81A

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Sep 3, 2021
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342
I just happened to think about this one this morning. I normally don't think much about biplanes, but IIRC the Curtiss P-6 Hawk was considered one of the most beautiful planes of it's day. Dennis
 
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