DIJKKIJK
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The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sat Jun 30, 2007 10:58 pm

Make a list of the airplanes which, in your opinion, are the greatest combat airplanes ever made.

Mine is as follows

1. Sopwith Camel: Shot down more aircraft than any other during WW1.

2. Fairey Swordfish : Great torpedo bomber, contributed to the sinking of the Bismark.

3. Avro Lancaster : Anyone who has read 'The Dam Busters ' will agree  Smile

4. Spitfire : Needs no explanation

5. P-51 Mustang ; Also probably, needs no explanation.

6. Consolidated B-24 Liberator: Made in larger numbers than any other WW2 bomber, and my fav WW2 bomber  Smile

7. B-17 Flying Fortress

8. B-29 Superfortress: World's first Nuclear Bomber.

9. Tupolev 95 Bear : Longest serving and most successful Bomber of the Soviet Union.

10. Boeing B-52.

12. F-16 Fighting Falcon.

13. SR-71 Blackbird : Not a combat airplane, strictly, but does belong in this list  Smile




So what's yours?
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olle
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:59 am

German:

Albatros D.III (Red Baron etc)

FockeWulf 190
Messersmitt 109
Messersmitt 262

Russian:

Mig 29

Brittish

Tempest
 
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Devilfish
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:16 am

RE: After The Bombers-The 10 Greatest Fighters. (by Ferrypilot Apr 17 2007 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)
RE: Your Favorite Military Fighter! (by BilgeRat May 3 2007 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
ZBBYLW
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:48 am

Personally I would have to say the FW190's, ME109's, Spitfires, P-51's and the Yak-9s have to be right up there. I do not believe you can compare modern day aircraft to these in terms of how much of an advancement they where for their time. Plus they are all much sexier then the new a/c like the F-22 and F-35 which IMO look horrid.
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Wolverine
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:15 am

WW2:
-FW-190
-Soitfire
-P-51 Mustang
-F4U Corsair
-P-38
-B-17

'til now:
- F-14 Tomcat
- MiG-21
- MiG-29
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Wolverine
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:24 am

This one is also a great fighter:
-F4F Phantom
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sovietjet
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:01 am

There's too many to list, and this list can never be completely fair but here goes:

Spitfire
Bf-109
P-51
B-17
B-29
Mig-15
F-4
Mig-21
Mig-29
B-52
Tu-95
F-16

Just to name a few.
 
Wolverine
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:22 am

Should be Spitfire, not Soitfire...Sorry
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Thumper
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:28 am

Way to many to list but...
P-51 Mustang
Spitfire
Me-109
P-47 Thunderbolt
MIG-15
F-86 Saberjet
MIG-21
F-4
F-14 Tomcat
F-15
MIG-29
A-10 Warthog
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:07 pm

Quoting Sovietjet (Reply 6):
There's too many to list, and this list can never be completely fair

I agree.

Why hasn't anyone mentioned the?

Hurricane

AM6 Zero

P-40

B-25

Mosceto

F-105

Mig-17

Mig-21

There are many, many others that deserve to be mentioned.

My personal opinion:

Quoting DIJKKIJK (Thread starter):
7. B-17 Flying Fortress
 
olle
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 8:23 pm

I like to add a swedish one:

J35 Draken who was top of the line and in service for a long period...
 
deskflier
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:46 pm

OK, here's my list, more or less chronologically:

Fokker D VII (The only plane ever to be specifically singled out in a peace treaty)
Bristol Fighter (Began life as a 2-seat fighter/trench-strafer, serviced until 1939 as a colonial aircraft)
Yakovlev Yak-3 (Gave poorly trained Soviet pilots a reasonable chance against German expert fighter pilots)
Douglas Dauntless (Sank more enemy shipping than any other weapon system in WW2)
Messerschmitt Me262 (Kept Luftwaffe flying in the face of petrol shortage as they ran on diesel)
SAAB 29 Tunnan (Flying Barrel) (Same generation and performance as F-86 and MiG-15, but with far better serviceability)
Lockheed AC-130H Spectre (No aircraft ever built has had more conventional firepower)
SAAB JA37 Viggen (Multi-role, and capable of head-on gun engagement with four years older software than the F-15C would require)
Sukhoi Su-35 (No explanation should be required)
Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor (You get what You pay for)

And as a bonus, the greatest combat aircraft that NEVER flew:
Saunders-Roe SR 177 (Only bribes could stop it from becoming the standard NATO interceptor)

Footnote to the comment to the Flying Barrel: In Congo the serviceability rate for the J29s was around 97% most months. Ethiopian F-86s also used by the UN had a serviceability rate of some 82%. Indian Canberras fared even worse.
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MCIGuy
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Mon Jul 02, 2007 6:15 am

Why, the F-16 Viper, or course.  Wink

That's my heart talking but I know the F-22 is the more capable weapon.  Smile
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kc135topboom
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:55 pm

Quoting Deskflier (Reply 11):
And as a bonus, the greatest combat aircraft that NEVER flew:
Saunders-Roe SR 177 (Only bribes could stop it from becoming the standard NATO interceptor)

Or the best fighter that never entered service, the F-20?
 
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Zkpilot
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:22 am

For Fighters I would say:

WWII: P-51
KW: F-86/MiG15
VW: F-4
CW: F-14
21st century: F-22

You might say I favour American aircraft, I just think that they were the most developed, most effective, were produced in large numbers and maybe it was the pilots, but they sure won a lot more than they lost.
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Navion
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:37 am

Without a doubt, the F-86 Sabre is one of the worlds most successful fighters ever. It's use over many years by many airforces the world over clearly qualifies it as one of the most universally accepted and successful fighters ever. I've spoken to many men who flew the Sabrejet and they all said it was either their favorite or one of their top 3 favorite aircraft they ever flew. I'm truly shocked it doesn't make everyones list.
 
PGNCS
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Tue Jul 03, 2007 2:58 am

For piston driven aircraft, I have to go with the F4U; for jets I give two big thumbs up to the F-105.
 
Arrow
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Tue Jul 03, 2007 9:33 am

Quoting Navion (Reply 15):
Without a doubt, the F-86 Sabre is one of the worlds most successful fighters ever.

If you are talking about the Canadair Mk 6 version, I agree with you.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
PC12Fan
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:07 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
Or the best fighter that never entered service, the F-20?

Damned straight!!

Pound for pound, I'd have to say the P-51.
Just when I think you've said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talkin'!
 
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Devilfish
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:35 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 13):
Quoting Deskflier (Reply 11):
And as a bonus, the greatest combat aircraft that NEVER flew:
Saunders-Roe SR 177 (Only bribes could stop it from becoming the standard NATO interceptor)

Or the best fighter that never entered service, the F-20?

Let's take a look at both fighters that never were. Couldn't find a photo of the SR.177, but the caption on one of the pics says that two prototypes were built which were based on the SR.53. Curious combination of jet engine and rocket for the propulsion system.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Paul Kipping
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Rez Manzoori - FlightLineImages


Interesting too are the differences in aerodynamic lines two or three decades of design separation make.
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mechatnew
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:31 am

What about AD/A-1 Skyraider lots of combat in Korea, Southeast Asia, Africa or A-4 Skyhawk Southeast Asia, Falklands, Mid East, and still in service.
 
mechatnew
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:43 am

What about thye A-4 Skyhawk, lots of combat in Southeast Asia, Mid East, Falklands, and still in service.
 
Boston92
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:15 am

My Grandfather flew P-38's in WW2 so I will choose that. He loved that a/c, one of the fastest of the time too.
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dl021
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Thu Jul 05, 2007 1:57 am

The Douglas DC-3.



the greatest combat aircraft period..... transport, gunship, reconnaissance, ambulance, paratroop dropper......been flying in regular service for close to 70 years. Hell, the USAF uses one.
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L410Turbolet
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Thu Jul 05, 2007 6:19 am

The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built: Spitfire
 
Thumper
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Thu Jul 05, 2007 7:35 am

Did everyone forget about the B-52 ?
 
olle
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:51 pm

Regarding the JA37 Viggen


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=431BxPYZDrk&mode=related&search=

In the start you see the road aibases. A way to incease the number of war airbases.
 
CO787EWR
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sat Jul 21, 2007 11:54 am

No particular order

Harrier
P-51
Spitfire
Mosquito
Tu-95
B-52
B-1B
F-15
F-16
F-4
Mig-29
Su-30MKI
 
rtfm
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sat Jul 21, 2007 4:14 pm

But if you could only have one aircraft....

Then: Mosquito - could (and did) serve as day & night fighter, bomber, pathfinder, recce, transport (and probably a few others I could think of) was so fast for its day it had no defensive armament when used as a bomber.

Now: F16 - again has fulfilled many roles from air defence, CAS, bomber, Wild Weasel, etc....
 
deskflier
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sat Jul 21, 2007 5:48 pm

Quoting Thumper (Reply 25):
Did everyone forget about the B-52 ?

No, it's just not multi-role enough. And most B-52 fans voted for it on the "best Bomber ever"-thread.
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Stealthz
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:22 pm

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 19):
Couldn't find a photo of the SR.177

Might have looked like this.....

http://www.spaceuk.org/sr53/177/sr177.htm

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 19):
Interesting too are the differences in aerodynamic lines two or three decades of design separation make.

Hardly two or three decades.... The F-20 is only a refinement of the F-5 (in fact at one stage was to be designated the F-5G) The F-5 began development in 1956 and first flew in 1959 barely 2 years after the first flight of the SR.53.
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Devilfish
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sat Jul 21, 2007 10:53 pm

Quoting StealthZ (Reply 30):
Hardly two or three decades.... The F-20 is only a refinement of the F-5

The Tigershark first flew in August 1982. Although a descendant of the F-5, the avionics, radar and other systems were a whole generation or two later than those on the SR.177. The shift from the two F85 engines to the modern, much more powerful, single F404 alone qualifies it as a new airplane design. The one thing that remained mostly untouched was the shell of the now 9G airframe - though the canopy, tailfin root, enlarged leading-edge wing extensions, and single large tailpipe provide the best visual clues that it's a different animal.....

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © James Reppucci


So, it was virtually a new design - the $1.2 Billion development costs at that time attest to this. The F-5G designation didn't do it justice.

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/f-20.htm

Quote:
"Northrop developed the F-20 Tigershark in response to a U.S. Government call for the private development of a tactical fighter specifically tailored to meet the security needs of allied and friendly nations.

The first flight of the Tigershark was made August 30, 1982. The Mach 2 class F-20 Tigershark's basic single-seat configuration was formally designated the F-20A. The F-20 combined propulsion, electronics and armament technologies with improvements in reliability to sustain high sortie rates in adverse weather.

The F-20 incorporated a combination of advanced technology features. The F-20 could carry more than 8,300 pounds of external armaments and fuel on five pylons. It could carry six Sidewinder missiles on air-to-air missions. For air-to-ground missions, more than 6,800 pounds of armament could be carried. Two internally mounted 20mm guns were standard equipment on the Tigershark.

The avionics system features a General Electric multimode radar, Honeywell laser inertial navigation system, General Electric head-up display, Bendix digital display and control set and Teledyne Systems mission computer.

The F-20 is powered by a General Electric F404 engine, with 17,000 pounds of thrust. The F404 is recognized as one of the world's most reliable advanced technology engines. It is also used to power the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps F/A-18A Hornet strike fighter.

Once airborne, the F-20 pilot utilized his multimode radar, which could detect and track targets at ranges of up to 48 nautical miles "look up" and 31 nautical miles "look down." The F-20 mission computer coordinated the aircraft's weapons systems. The head-up display placed critical weapons, target and flight data at the pilot's eye level. This allowed him to fight without having to look down. Northrop designed a new panoramic canopy for the F-20 that gave the pilot a 50 percent increase in rearward visibility over previous Northrop fighters. An improved seat and headrest design combined to substantially expand over-the-shoulder visibility, which is critical in air-to-air combat.

Aerodynamic features of the F-20 included an enlarged leading edge extension to the wing, which generated up to 30 percent of the lift maneuvers. The "shark-shaped" nose allowed the F-20 to maneuver at much higher angles of attack than current operational fighters. The F-20 airframe could withstand nine G's.

The F-20 was reliable and easy to maintain. Based on comparisons with the average of contemporary international fighters, the F-20 consumed 53 percent less fuel, required 52 percent less maintenance manpower, had 63 percent lower operating and maintenance costs and had four times the reliability."
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
ZBBYLW
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 22, 2007 4:52 am

With all due respect, some of you are saying this and that aircraft are the best aircraft that never really took off. How about the Avro Arrow the aircraft that no one wanted to build, but Avro decided to try the challenge. After getting it flying, it was destroyed due to some BS regarding the Liberal gov't however it was FAR ahead of its time.
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Stealthz
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:39 am

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 31):
So, it was virtually a new design -

Ah but with all due respect your original post called attention to the difference two or three decades made to the Aerodynamic lines not the systems.. I am the first to admit they are much advanced on the SR.53 & SR.177 but the actual form of the aircraft is almost (except for the changes required to accommodate the single engine) unchanged from the F-5 that flew in 1959.

Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 32):
With all due respect, some of you are saying this and that aircraft are the best aircraft that never really took off.

Maybe that is the basis for another thread.. "the best combat aircraft that didn't enter service"
I will keep my nominations for that thread.

Cheers
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AirSpare
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:31 am

Quoting DIJKKIJK (Thread starter):
13. SR-71 Blackbird : Not a combat airplane, strictly, but does belong in this list

Of course it was! How many times was it shot at? Sounds like combat to me. Recon may be a red headed bastard step child (right before the USAF CAS mission), but tactical and strategic recon are integral parts of combat.

If I recall, recon was the very first mission assigned to combat aircraft of WW I.

RF-4c (Alone, Unarmed, and Unafraid.)
RB-57
SR-71 (Delivered on time, on budget and exceeding all performance specifications.)
U-2/TR-1

Can anyone add more aircraft to this great list?
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Devilfish
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:42 am

Quoting StealthZ (Reply 33):

Ah but with all due respect your original post called attention to the difference two or three decades made to the Aerodynamic lines not the systems..

Oh, sorry for that and the F prefix for the J85. My bad - I got carried away. The base SR.53 indeed had its origins in 1951.

Quoting StealthZ (Reply 33):
Maybe that is the basis for another thread.. "the best combat aircraft that didn't enter service"
I will keep my nominations for that thread.

And I will have the same candidate. Smile Although I seem to recall there already was one such thread?

DF
"Everyone is entitled to my opinion." - Garfield
 
SlamClick
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Mon Jul 23, 2007 12:30 am

Okay, mixed signals here. The thread title says "aircraft" but the o/p says "airplane" which excludes helicopters, airships and balloons. Going with the thread title, which is the only reason I opened the thread, I'm going to add:

* Observation balloons used during the civil war. A watershed in history. No war has been fought since without use of air assets.

* UH-1 "Huey" helicopter in its various models but especially the "Charlie" gunships and "H" model slicks. Changed the very nature of warfare again.


In my opinion these two are of greater historical significance than any other single aircraft, indeed even whole lists of aircraft above, because they stood alone in their place on the battlefields. B-17 for one example was a wonderful airplane but it was only one of dozens of bombers used during its generation. It is remembered more with sentimentality than with true historical perspective.
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RayChuang
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:10 am

I'm surprised nobody mentioned the de Havilland DH. 98 Mosquito.

Not only was it a very fast bomber (very few fighters could keep up with it during its heyday), but the Mosquito became the best night fighter of the war and also became a superb ground attack plane.

The closest equivalent today for a high-performance versatile combat plane is probably the F-15, which besides being a superb air superiority fighter was also developed into an excellent ground attack plane with the F-15E Strike Eagle.
 
AirSpare
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:21 pm

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 37):
Havilland DH. 98 Mosquito

As a recon platform it also exceled.

The Mistubishi Zero stood the States on it's ear. It was the true begining of the era of modern fighters. It's paradigm shifting design has changed all fighters since.

Quoting Mechatnew (Reply 21):
A-4 Skyhawk

With a production run from about 1954 to IIRC 1980, yes, you are right, it should be one of the greatest!
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Blackbird
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:53 pm

I'd say the F-15.

Here's why... it combines blistering speed with remarkable low-speed and high-speed maneuverability, a superb thrust to weight ratio and light-wing-loading. It's flying characteristics I've been told are quite good and the plane is very easy to fly. The aircraft carries a gun, something learned after the F-4 in Vietnam, and can carry quite a wide range of ordinance to my knowledge.

It is also remarkably sturdy, being constructed 2/3's or 3/4's out of titanium. The fact that it's fuselage produces large amounts of lift on it's own means that even if one wing was knocked off and you had a hell of a pilot at the controls, you could potentially (if you could get the speed up enough - say 260/290 kts) while applying full (or almost full) opposite aileron you could keep the plane level, and bring it in for a landing and be able to keep it from flipping over while slowing down to a halt.


Andrea Kent
 
Arrow
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:53 am

Quoting AirSpare (Reply 38):
The Mistubishi Zero stood the States on it's ear. It was the true begining of the era of modern fighters. It's paradigm shifting design has changed all fighters since.

Not to diminish the attributes of this aircraft, but I think that's a little overblown. Fighter development in Europe (eg ME-109, Spitfire) shifted the paradigm every bit as much as the Zero did, and at an earlier stage of development. Remember that the biggest attributes of the Zero -- maneuvrability and long-range -- came at the expense of armour for pilot protection, self-sealing gas tanks, firepower, and other means of keeping the weight down to a minimum.

Bottom line -- the Zero's compromises were such that skilled pilots flying P-40s (inferior to the Zero in most respects) could nevertheless succeed against them by exploiting their advantages and the Zero's disadvantages. Ditto for other allied fighters like Spitfires.

And keep in mind that the Zero started out the war with superior performance, but was quickly surpassed and completely outclassed by the end of the war. A couple of its contemporaries -- the Spitfire and ME-109 -- were competitive right to the end, and I would argue are far more deserving of a "paradigm shifting" design award than the Zero.
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SlamClick
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:38 am

Quoting AirSpare (Reply 38):
paradigm shifting design

With, perhaps, the two exceptions below, I don't believe any airplane design in WW II actually shifted any paradigms. They were all merely incremental improvements over previous models. The Zero, for example offers no new technologies, no breakthroughs in materials, not even a major rethinking of tactics. Certainly nothing new as to be compared with the changes in Naval warfare brought about by two vessels, the Monitor and the Merrimac which turned no major battles but rendered other navies obsolete.

The Zero enjoyed some success because it started off matched up against the F-4F Wildcat. The Wildcat began its design life as a BIPLANE and was not to be considered a huge improvement over other fighters already flying at the time it began production. The F-6F Hellcat considerably leveled the playing field with the Zero and, had the war dragged on, the Bearcat would have flown circles around the Zero and the Tigercat would have reduced them to aluminum confetti with a single burst from its 20mms.

In my opinion, in all of WW II only two airplanes might be said to have caused paradigm shifts.

• The ME-262. I don't think it turned a single battle but it sent the engineers in the US and England back to the drawing boards and quickly shut down production lines making radial and V-12 engines. Jets were the way of the future! We've never looked back.

• The B-29. Historically more significant than most planes of its era because of two A-bombs, but the big thing, in my view is the way it was built. Would you take a look inside the tube on a B-29 and on a Boeing 737 you might not know which one you were looking at. It used a new manufacturing method that was to serve for fifty years, or, indeed, as long as airplanes will be made from aluminum. Modern Jets have more in common with the B-29 than it has with, say the B-17.

Watershed airplanes, not sexy ones is what makes for greatness. I'm personally very partial to the F-104 but I don't delude myself about its contributions to aviation or warfare.
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Fairchild24
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:04 am

The greatest combat aircraft is the one who get the job done and bring the crew back.

There has been numbers of aircraft around who probable would made a very good record for it´s time, but it was deployed at the wrong time or it was outnumbers so it had no chance showing what it could do.
Like the Fokkers in the beginning of the WWII or the Bristols and Hawkers in the mid 30´s.

On the other hand we have a lot of beautiful aircraft out there that might not be the best aircraft ever build but they surely make your head turn.

Like the F-104 Starfighter or The Fiat C.R 42

Cheers

Göran
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rtfm
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RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:35 am

Quoting RayChuang (Reply 37):
I'm surprised nobody mentioned the de Havilland DH. 98 Mosquito.

Errr.... I did....:

Quoting RTFM (Reply 28):
But if you could only have one aircraft....

Then: Mosquito - could (and did) serve as day & night fighter, bomber, pathfinder, recce, transport (and probably a few others I could think of) was so fast for its day it had no defensive armament when used as a bomber.

Still, nice to see I'm not alone!  Smile
 
Arrow
Posts: 2325
Joined: Wed Jun 19, 2002 7:44 am

RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Thu Jul 26, 2007 5:32 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 41):
With, perhaps, the two exceptions below, I don't believe any airplane design in WW II actually shifted any paradigms.

Technically, I see your point. But what about the 30s (I think) conversion from wood and fabric strut and string braced biplanes to aluminum monoplanes, monocoque construction? That, combined with the chemists who developed high-octane avgas, took state of the art up a few notches.

I didn't know that about the B-29. Interesting stuff. Was the B-29 pressurized? Wonder if those construction techniques would have made any difference in deHavilland's original Comet design.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
 
baroque
Posts: 12302
Joined: Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:15 pm

RE: The Greatest Combat Aircraft Ever Built

Sat Jul 28, 2007 12:28 am

Quoting RTFM (Reply 28):
Then: Mosquito - could (and did) serve as day & night fighter, bomber, pathfinder, recce, transport (and probably a few others I could think of) was so fast for its day it had no defensive armament when used as a bomber.

Not to mention having a version armed with a 57mm cannon. Quite an unpleasant surprise for the U-boats.

Quoting Arrow (Reply 40):
Bottom line -- the Zero's compromises were such that skilled pilots flying P-40s (inferior to the Zero in most respects) could nevertheless succeed against them by exploiting their advantages and the Zero's disadvantages. Ditto for other allied fighters like Spitfires.

The Neverhawks (as the rather late P40s were known) sorted out the Zeros over PNG, which was pretty remarkable considering the mess that represented Aus preparations for that combat. Diving speed of the P40s and lack of armour for the Zeros were the critical factors.

Pressurization was added to a few variants such as high altitude Spits (not sure about the German planes they were designed to intercept), but the B29 pressurization was a step ahead of the pack.

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