I'll go ahead and list my top 10 list of the greatest fighters and let you take shots at it. I have to tell you guys, that I think this list was harder to put together then the bomber list I did.
So here we go with my list
10:Fokker Eindecker-This was the aircraft that started it all. The first fighter to be fitted with a gun synchronizing gear, and a staple of the early german air force.
Photo © Mick Bajcar
9:MiG-21-One of the most widely distributed fighters in history. Cause the US a lot of problems in Vietnam
Photo © Juhani Sipilä
8:Hawker Hurricane-While the Spitfire gets all the credit, it was the Hurricane that really won the Battle of Britain. A very reliable workhorse
Photo © Ian Woodcock
7:Fokker VII-Arguably the greatest fighter of the first world war. It was this aircraft that the Allies had to design aircraft against and train against. The majority of the Red Barons kills where in this aircraft.
Photo © David Alfred Eliasson - Reykjavik Spotters
6:McDonnell Douglas F-4-One of the most powerful fighters ever developed. Used by both the US Navy and USAF. Was able to be deployed effectively against smaller and lighter Migs in Vietnam. Had a near 40year US service life.
Photo © Stuart freer
5:Supermarine Spitfire-Iconic of the Battle of Britain and British aviation in general. It's racing airplane heritage gave the aircraft an elegance that is not always common on combat aircraft.
Photo © Simon Thomas
4:General Dynamics F-16- The first "Electric Jet" The technology employed forced changes in tactics. Much of the same technology pioneered is being used as a basis on the aircraft that will replace it. Became a staple of Western Air Forces
Photo © Voortmans Dirk
3: ME-262-The first operational jet fighter, would have had a much bigger impact if political considerations and the orders of a Bohemian Corporal hadn't caused it to be delayed and initially mis-deployed as a bomber.
Photo © José Jorge
2:North American Mustang-Iconic of the US fighters of the aircraft and Iconic of WWII aviation in general. It was the long range escorts of US Bombers over Germany that made those raids successful and really broke the industrial spine of that country.
Photo © Stephen Fox
1:Mitsubishi Zero-A whole generation of US aircraft where designed to specifically counter this aircraft. The F4U Corsaid, F6F Hellcat, and F8F Bearcat may have been much less capable aircraft if it hadn't been for the Zero.
Photo © Britt Dietz
Grumman F4F Wildcat-This aircraft proved useful well past it's prime, serving as a fighter through out the war. It was a front line fighter at the start of the war, and still employed as one at the end. And it's ruggedness allowed it to stand up to a lot of damage. If the right tactics where employed it could hold it's own against the best the Japanese had to offer.
Photo © Geoff Spinks
ME-109-Germanys iconic WWII fighter. This plane was the staple from the Spanish Civil war through to the surrender. Successfully discourage the British from running unescorted daylight bomber raids, and did a lot of damage to the US Bombers when they tried to do the same.
Photo © Gerhard Plomitzer
Mig-15-The opponent aircraft to the F-86 in Korea. The aircraft of the original "MIG ALLEY". It's later cousin the Mig-17 tried to run the tables on the US in Nam. Was very common during the mid-east wars of the 1960's.
Photo © Chris Lofting