General Aircraft
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Personal Favourites - What and Why?
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 09, 2009
KitMaker: 8,156 posts
AeroScale: 3,756 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 09:58 AM UTC
At the risk of creating a monster (see also Chev vs Hemi Group Build on Automodeller) I have been thinking for a while about raising a discussion thread on the subject of peoples personal favourite aircraft types. What are they and Why?
Any era, any nationality, anything that flies. I'm thinking lets go with a Top 5.
I was reminded of this by Gary in his Shoki build log thread, where he commented that building and foiling this aircraft had caused him to "rearrange his list of personal favourite aircraft."
At this stage this is just a discussion thread for interest' sake, but who knows, perhaps down the track it might just develop into a Campaign theme.

Anyway, here we go.

My main area of interest is World War II, the rapid technological advances (think Gloster Gladiator vs Gloster Meteor for example), the amazing variety of designs and schemes, and the stories of skill and courage and survival. In trying to tie down my Top 5, I looked at my reference library and my stash and it became fairly clear to me.
1. P-47 Thunderbolt. Big, tough, ugly, powerful, extremely successful. I prefer the Razorback but have a few Bubbletops in the stash as well.
2. P-61 Black Widow. I love the heavy twin-engine fighters, particularly the night fighters, and this one is the Queen. The first designed right from the start to fit this purpose and a superb outcome in all aspects.
3. Me 262. Groundbreaking, elegant and versatile, didn't get the opportunity to meet its potential.
4. Bf 110. Over 6,000 manufactured, served a variety of roles and was used throughout the war.
5. CAC Boomerang. Significant as the first Australian designed and manufactured combat aircraft. A tough, pugnacious little beast.

Narrowly missing the cut were the P-40, Hurricane, Typhoon/Tempest and Corsair.

As I said at the start, this is about personal favourites, there is no right and wrong, just what and why, so fire away and share your thoughts.

Cheers, D
British Columbia, Canada
Joined: September 03, 2009
KitMaker: 6,965 posts
AeroScale: 6,247 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 10:47 AM UTC
1. Douglas Dakota. My father was a Navigator and Searchmaster on these when I was small. I still remember him taking my brother and me through them on the weekends when nothing was happening at the Hangars. It's the first aircraft I really got to crawl around inside.

2. Schweizer 2-33. I learned to fly on this, and you can't ever dislike the aircraft you learned on.

3. Boeing 747. It was the first brand new aircraft I ever learned about, and something about the shape of it is just perfect. Every other airliner is somehow lesser.
Massachusetts, United States
Joined: October 23, 2011
KitMaker: 2,265 posts
AeroScale: 1,715 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 11:07 AM UTC
I'll play. My interest in aircraft comes from my childhood living within walking distance to a busy military airfield during the late 1960s, so I guess I was 'imprinted' by what I watched there. Mostly big piston engine transports, and chartered commercial airliners.

the top of the list is definately the C-124. A truely inspiring experience was to stand at the north end of the runway and watch one of those monsters lift off and fly directly overhead accelerating for all it was worth!

second I'll put the ungainly C-123
third the DHC Caribou
fourth , the four engine Douglas Cargo planes, C-54, C-118/DC6, and the DC-7.
and to mix it up a bit for fifth, I'll put the Grumman Albatross.

Honorable mention to the P-3 Orion and P2V-5/7 Neptune, and C-121 in various versions.
Queensland, Australia
Joined: April 23, 2015
KitMaker: 4,648 posts
AeroScale: 1,938 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 01:52 PM UTC
I've always loved the front-heavy look of an aggressive fighter plane. The Bf109 was the first kit I ever built. It still stands as my all time favorite. Recent builds have dragged my feelings towards those pugnacious looking fighters behind a big radial like the P-47, Ki-44 and Fw190.

The P-40 is right up there, too, especially in the Flying Tigers livery.

Best Wishes,

United States
Joined: January 05, 2012
KitMaker: 160 posts
AeroScale: 156 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 05:30 PM UTC
Here are my favorites:

1. F4U Corsair
2. FW-190 (radial engines) I never liked the look of the Dora
3. WWII Japanese fighters
4. Fiat G.55
6. F-86 Sabre
7. F/A-18 Hornet
8. P-51D Mustang
9. Mk VIII Spitfire
10. Yak-3
Florida, United States
Joined: February 20, 2014
KitMaker: 376 posts
AeroScale: 39 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 08:32 PM UTC
My list changes all the time based on what I have watched or read recently, or what kits I have rifled through in my stash. All except for one my favorite stays my favorite and at top of list.

F4U-5 Corsair, the dash 5 is my favorite mark of the Corsair. I remember watching Black Sheep Squadron as a kid and always enjoy hearing a Corsair take to the sky at air shows.

Grumman Ag-cat, as a kid these things would seed the fields and I would watch in amazement the entire time. That looks like fun flying! One of these days Ill get around to building one from scratch. I have the book and can get a resin engine, all I need is time and fewer projects that stepped in line ahead of the Ag-cat idea.

Fokker D.VII, an impressive looking airplane with a good reputation. Ive only seen a couple of these (replicas) in museums and scaled kit versions at fly-ins but am always impressed with this Fokker.

Boeing B-50 Superfortress, I never saw one of these in operation and I doubt any of us ever will in our future. There is something about those 4360s mounted to a B-29!

C-47, there is not a more iconic aircraft than the venerable DC-3/C-47 but what pushes this one into my list is that my father crewed the AC-47 with the 4th ACS in Vietnam.
Staff MemberCampaigns Administrator
Colorado, United States
Joined: January 19, 2008
KitMaker: 3,909 posts
AeroScale: 2,904 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 10:13 PM UTC
I'll give it a go:

1. Hawker Hurricane: a true (and often overlooked) hero.
2. Supermarine Spitfire: because, of course.
3. P-38 Lightning: a real original.
4. F4F Wildcat: see entry for Hurricane.
5. Sopwith Triplane: odd man out but just a very cool aeroplane.

I could go on at some length (Mirage IIIC just missed out) but I think those are the big ones.

United States
Joined: June 02, 2011
KitMaker: 20 posts
AeroScale: 15 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 10:36 PM UTC
1. PBY
2. PBY
3. PBY
4. PBY
5. Albatross (the Grumman seaplane of course)

6. P-51
Utah, United States
Joined: December 14, 2007
KitMaker: 3,389 posts
AeroScale: 375 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 06, 2015 - 11:17 PM UTC
P-40, P-47 (razorback preferred over the bubbletop) and Hellcat. A6M2-n and Ki-84. PBY, B-25 and A-20 for multi-engine. EA-6B, F-4 Phantom, A-4 and F-7 for jet aircraft.
Kerala, India / भारत
Joined: August 25, 2009
KitMaker: 292 posts
AeroScale: 194 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 12:54 AM UTC
From the WWII Era my favorite airplane is the Ta-152 followed closely by the Me-262. Somehow both of them look like apex predators to me.

From the modern era, my first love is the Socata TB20. I learned how to fly in her and that also explains the origins of my forum callsign

My present love is the Boeing 737-800. Been 10 years since I started romancing that lady and she still manages to take my breath away
Beersheba, Israel
Joined: August 26, 2006
KitMaker: 119 posts
AeroScale: 30 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 01:36 AM UTC
WW2 era P 51D mustang and the B 17 modern era F16 all versions F15 all versions F14 A and the F18 and the C 130.
Staff MemberSenior Editor
United Kingdom
Joined: June 11, 2003
KitMaker: 17,582 posts
AeroScale: 12,795 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 01:40 AM UTC
Hi all

While I love all the classics, I've got a particular soft-spot for the weird and wonderful types (and butt-ugly failures!) that don't often see the limelight.

Going by Jessie's mention of early flying experiences, I'll have to make a special space for the Slingsby Cadet, DH Chipmunk and Cessna 150.

All the best

Staff MemberAssociate Editor
Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 09, 2009
KitMaker: 8,156 posts
AeroScale: 3,756 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 04:07 AM UTC
Great feedback folks, this is the sort of feedback and discussion I was after. The downside is now that I have to go googling all of the types mentioned here that I have never heard of.

Cheers, D
England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: September 15, 2004
KitMaker: 4,728 posts
AeroScale: 1,351 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 04:48 AM UTC
I'll play D, this is so hard to just limit it down to 5 but I'll give you 5 and then so also runs.

1) Bristol Beaufighter, an anti shipping aircraft par excellence that served in all theatres, a night fighter, and ground attack.
2) Hawker Hurricane, often over shadowed but was there until the end.
3) Focke Wulf Fw-190, a worthy opponent and a great design
4) Grumman F-14 Tomcat, don't need to say anything here
5) Sepecat Jaguar, an underdog but did a job well for which it was not originally designed and through the Indians will see many more years yet.

Also runs:
Macchi Mc.202, Grumman Hellcat, Saab Gripen, Supermarine Spitfire, Junkers Ju-88, Bristol fighter F.2b, Hawker Fury, Hawker Hunter, Suhkoi Su-27 and FIAT G.55
United Kingdom
Joined: March 10, 2010
KitMaker: 2,568 posts
AeroScale: 1,619 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 05:47 AM UTC
I have WAY too many favourites so I'll just give the short list.

Fokker Dr.1 - an awful design but who doesn't love the aeroplane made famous by The Red Baron?
Stampe SV4 - I had the pleasure of having a flying lesson in one earlier in the year. Docile and forgiving in my inexperienced hands, it could nonetheless be thrown around the sky by my instructor and did some gut churning aerobatics! Not bad for an airframe that was 70+ years old.
DH Mosquito - possibly the greatest multi-role warplane of WW2 and looks stunning.
Gloster Meteor - paved the way for the RAF into the jet age and I believe a better design that the 262. It was certainly more reliable and had better pilot visibility.
B-29 Superfortress - a quantum leap in bomber design and the benchmark for early cold-war bombers.
F-4 Phantom - what more can you say? A tough old bird that looked like it wanted to pick a fight. And how many airforces and colour schemes to choose from?
Dassault Mirage III - a simple, elegant design that proved to be a world beater in the 6 Day War.
SEPECAT Jaguar - like the Mirage a simple and tough aircraft that more than proved itself. Arguably retired way too early. I got to sit in one once.
HP Victor - Looks like it's flown straight out Flash Gordon! Remained in service longer than the other V-bombers.
Bae Hawk - gorgeous little jet. Goes like a rocket and can fly rings around anything else flying. What I wouldn't give to get behind the controls of one.
EE Canberra - a simple and tough aircraft that was able to do anything and kept going for years. I once heard it said that the only reason the RAF retired the PR9's was because the only pilots qualified to fly them were past retirement age themselves. I'd like to believe it was true.
Ontario, Canada
Joined: February 04, 2008
KitMaker: 2,507 posts
AeroScale: 1,814 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:29 AM UTC
My list would be:
Any Douglas Prop powered AC
Hawker Hunter
The next part of my list are the aircraft that I got to climb in and over while at high school and in the aircadets in England.
USAF F-100
F-4 Phantom
BAC Lightning
United States
Joined: February 01, 2009
KitMaker: 1,233 posts
AeroScale: 663 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:44 AM UTC
Good thread, Damian!!!!!

My top five faves would be:

1) F/A-18A+ or F/A-18C Legacy Hornets
2)The mighty F-14 (preferably a B or D because the F110 engine is a work of art unto itself
3)Mk IX Spitfire
4)The Hawker Tempest (a really under-rated power-house of an aircraft)
5)F4U Corsair (especially the Dash 4's, 5's, 7's and the AU-1)

Anyway, I have enjoyed reading everyone's faves and why they like them.

Best wishes,

Wisconsin, United States
Joined: April 05, 2007
KitMaker: 2,023 posts
AeroScale: 81 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:47 AM UTC
My turn, my turn !!! Normally an armor guy but will build a plane as a welcomed change of pace. Here we go.....
1. F4 Phantoms - What can you say, almost 50 years in the air with all sorts of nations. BIG, FAST & mean!

2. The Horten Ho229 - COOL, RADICAL design, science fiction of it's day! I wish that the Smithsonian would get theirs restored and on display !

3. Ju 87 Stuka - My first loved plane. Built many a Monagram one when I first started.

4. de Havilland Mosquito - Speed & plywood, what a combo !

5. F104 Starfighter - the manned missile or the Widow Maker, another 50 year airframe.

Well, I was just going to do top 5 but left out too many other favorites. So, here's the next 5....

6. Saab J35 Draken - Another way too cool looking AC

7. Douglas F4D Skyray - Another Delta winged gem

8. Spad - Always liked the look of this WWI AC

9. Mitsubishi Raiden - Always liked the lines of this plane

10. P40 Warhawk - Was it the shark's mouth or John Wayne but still a favorite.

Honorable mentions: A10 Warthog, Me110, YAK3, Su25 Frogfoot,Spitfire, Hurricane
Connecticut, United States
Joined: June 18, 2003
KitMaker: 1,020 posts
AeroScale: 125 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:57 AM UTC
My five for WWII (there are more but I'll keep this list to five:

The Consolidated PBY because I like the look of it's parasol mounted wing and blister side windows (and it's a boat that flies).

The Mitsubishi Zero for its nimble elegance.

The Republic P-47 for the same reasons as Damien's plus I feel it's the plan that best characterizes the US in its approach to aerial warfare.

The Supermarine Spitfire because it's just too beautiful to be a machine of war.

The Lockheed P-38 for it's uniqueness in design.
Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: June 17, 2009
KitMaker: 566 posts
AeroScale: 507 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 07:59 AM UTC
My 5 favorites, all fighters, in no particular order.

F-106. My first favorite aircraft. I remember running out of the house anytime I heard the daily roar of oncoming NJANG sixes. The hook was set but oddly I have yet to build one.

BF109. I was in elementary school and wanted a 1/32 plane to strafe my oodles of 1/32 scale airfix figures. I cant remember why I picked the 109, I think I liked the look of the name "messerschmitt". Despite the steep price, I conned my parents into buying me a hasegawa 1/32 109e for xmas followed both squadron "bf109 in action" books for my birthday. The 109 worked its charms from there.

P-51. The movie "empire of the sun", numerous airshows displays and the monogram D secured Mustang as probably my all time favorite. Lately my tastes in mustangs leans more towards early allison engined models.

MiG-29. I have no idea why but somtime in my early teens I first learned of the MiG-29 and came to love its sleek lines. The East German camo sealed the deal!

Sopwith Camel. Ever since I first watched snoopy fly his sopwith camel dog house around in pursuit of the baron, the name always drew my attention and for a long time it was the only WWI aircraft I could identify. To me it is the iconic WWI fighter.

Bonus pick... Star Wars X-Wing. I was born into an America that had just become waaaay into the Star Wars movies. As a result this thing has just always looked awesome to me. I thought the "X-Wing" PC game of the 90s was the second coming!

California, United States
Joined: April 26, 2010
KitMaker: 346 posts
AeroScale: 292 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 10:58 AM UTC

Early aviation, so:

1. Albatros D's, C's, J's and B's - in that order... Anything with clear, varnished, shellacked wood. First aircraft model I finished was an Albatros and should be my last.

1a) If not going with Early Aviation, than Il-16's hold my fascination - if I ever depart Stringbags, expect a lot of Ishaks in my posts.

Anything else "Early Aviation" is close second (and I do mean anything) - it's Vegas circa the late 90's, I'm young adult and it's multiple trips to all you can eat $4.99 buffet line... You will try to eat everything at least once!

Western Australia, Australia
Joined: December 31, 2013
KitMaker: 338 posts
AeroScale: 190 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 03:37 PM UTC

1. Hawker Typhoon
2. P47 Thunderbolt
3. Avro Lancaster
4. Spitfire
5. Whirlwind

I do think about the Lancaster during Dams Raid the most when it comes to aircraft though. The skill of those men (around the age of 22) piloting a 33 tonne aircraft going 390 kmh at 18 meters above the water to drop a bomb at a precise point without the aid of a computer and physically having to fly that monster. Just outstanding.
Quebec, Canada
Joined: June 23, 2008
KitMaker: 414 posts
AeroScale: 364 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:09 PM UTC
In no special order - - Norsemen, Vegas, Reliants, tri-motors, Fokkers, Ryan aircraft, Camels, Albatros', Curtiss', Nieuports,. All early and Golden Age aviation, especially pre-WW2 German civil airliners and transports - Heinkels and Junkers. Seaplanes and flying boats. Schneider racers - Supermarine, and the Italians.

Staff MemberAssociate Editor
Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 09, 2009
KitMaker: 8,156 posts
AeroScale: 3,756 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:09 PM UTC
What a huge variety of types being nominated! There are a few classic favourites and a whole lot of magnificent machines that could so easily make my list.

Then of course there is Rowan and his "Butt-ugly failures."

While we are at it, how about posting up an image or two of aircraft from your list, pictures that just reach out to you.

Here are a couple of mine:

Cheers, D
Pennsylvania, United States
Joined: January 08, 2014
KitMaker: 425 posts
AeroScale: 401 posts
Posted: Monday, December 07, 2015 - 07:21 PM UTC
Great idea for a thread. My top five:

1) P-38 Lightning - Hands down the most unique aircraft ever built in my book.

2) P-51D Mustang - In a word, sleek. It looks like a bullet with wings.

3) Spitfire - I couldn't nail down a favorite mark, but this has to be one of the most elegant-looking aircraft ever.

4) F-16 Fighting Falcon - Yeah I know everyone refers to them as Vipers now, but this was the first aircraft model I built as a kid. It looks just like a bird of prey staring down its nose to me, and the original name seems far more appropriate. I ran out and bought the kit with my paper route money after I watched Iron Eagle for about the 100th time.

5) A-10 Warthog - Butt-ugly but 100% lethal business. It might be the meanest looking plane ever.