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The Top 10 Planes Of All Time: WARNING: This List Goes To 11.

No holds barred. If it flies in the air with a pilot at the controls, it qualifies. This list plays no favorites, takes no nostalgia into account. And we guarantee that you’ll hate some of these. Nevertheless, we proudly present our list of the most outrageously great planes ever.

Neil Armstrong with a North American X-15
Neil Armstrong, who in 1969 became the first human to set foot on the moon, posing with the rocket-powered North American X-15, the fastest powered atmospheric aircraft to ever take wing. In 1962, Armstrong flew the X-15 at nearly 4,000 mph. In August of 1963, Joe Walker flew the X-15 to an altitude of nearly 350,000 feet, a feat for which NASA awarded Walker astronaut wings.

Two of the most popular questions, at least for pilots and other students of aviation history, are: What are the top 10 planes of all time, and which one’s the greatest of them all? 

Seems impossible, but we think we did it. Here’s how. 

We started with a group of really great airplanes, which automatically turned into cross section of airplane types.   

Then we narrowed things down even more by asking if there was a top dog among them. Usually, surprisingly, there was. That one made the list.

We think you’ll agree with at least two-thirds of our picks. 

After our Top 10 Planes Of All Time, we present 25 others that a lot of you will argue belong on the main list. In many cases, you’d have a strong argument. Enjoy! 

Mooney M20

Mooney M20

Mooney M20

What is there to the Mooney single-engine, four-seaters that set them apart from, say, the iconic Beech Bonanza or the Cessna 210 Centurion? Two words: economy and speed. Al Mooney’s compact cruiser gets the most out of its available power; the company has long been in the business of cutting drag to up the plane’s speed, the ultimate expression of which is the high-flying Acclaim, which tops 230 knots. Earlier models are perhaps the ultimate expression of Mooney’s vision, as they were able to barely eke out the magic 1-mph-per-horsepower goal.

Photo courtesy of Flickr User Rob Hodgkins


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