Greatest War Planes in World War History
It is not an easy task to assess the best 5 Fighter Jets of all time. However a review on the military and wartime performance and contribution to wars can be deciding factors along with the design and capabilities. Let us start from the bottom of the list.
Number 5 – Messerschmidt ME109 (1937)
It has an awesome combat record but not the most safe or comfortable plane. It can be said to be the first true modern fighter plane of its time with its retractable landing gear and with a full metal monocoque construction.
Around 33,984 units were produced from 1937 to 1945. It made up of 57% of Germany’s fighter planes. It played a great role in World War II. It was initially an interceptor and later evolved into a fighter bomber, a bomber escort, a bomber destroyer and also a ground-attack plane.
Number 4 – F 18 Super Hornet (1983)
The US Navy asked for the Super Hornet in 1992 and was put in use around 1999 to replace the F-14 Tomcat. It is more advanced than its predecessor the F/A-18C/D Hornet. It can carry 33% more fuel which increases its mission efficiency by 41%.
It can be used for maritime strikes, as a fighter escort, for anti-air warfare, overthrow enemy air defense and air-to-air refueling. It is very versatile with weapons that are precision-guided and so make it perfect for strikes during the day as well as in the night.
Number 3 – MIG 21 (F-13 / Fishbed C) (1959)
It is a supersonic jet fighter belonging to the Soviet Union. The MiG 21F is a small-range day fighter-interceptor. Though it had several flaws it was soon corrected to become one of the most fearsome fighter jets of all time.
It is one of the most produced supersonic aircraft. More than 10,000 have been built and more than 50 countries have enjoyed its advanced aviation capabilities. Its MACH 2 ability is still superior to other later built fighter planes.
Number 2 – Supermarine Spitfire (1938)
Its beautiful design hides the formidable warrior inside. The Royal Air Force and the Allies used it in World War II. It is said to be the star in the Battle of Britain along with the Hawker Hurricane. Around 20,351 have been produced so far.
The design was years ahead of its time with a light alloy monocoque fuselage and a solo spar wing. Later on it got a pressurized cabin along with an engine more suited for higher altitude. It has a high top speed thanks to the cross-section in its elliptical wing. All this serves to make the design and construction truly a marvel.
Rank 1 – P51 Mustang (1941)
We finally come to the top ranking jet plane. It is a long range fighter plane. The Allied Forces starting using it in the middle of World War II and it gave the German forces a run for their money. The jet was very durable and economical to produce.
However it does not compromise on performance and capabilities. It was used for tactical reconnaissance and ground-attacks. British as well as North American engineers were working independently to improve its altitude problems. Both succeeded and it got an increased speed of 51 mph. Its airframe was fortified and ventral radiator became deeper. Today it has become the world’s best jet and has the highest record of successes.
Conclusion: While there may be some who may not agree with the list and will want other fighter planes included, the above 5 are truly world leaders.
A Brief History of Aviation Airplanes
Aviation has been the most vital mode of transportation in these modern times. It plays an important part in the economy – it creates jobs, it allows businesses to spread into other countries, and it helps other industries such as the tourism industry grow. Additionally, aviation brings people around the world together and makes stronger bonds among cultures and countries.
It is such a beneficial invention to the whole world. But as unlikely as it seems, just about two centuries ago, people thought aviation airplanes were impossible to achieve by mankind. The Wright Brothers proved them wrong.
On the 17th of December 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright did the impossible. Covering 852 feet for 59 seconds, the Wright Brothers made the first ever successful flight in human history. This breakthrough gained the attention of governments and automotive enthusiasts around the world.
Over the next decade, the technology of aviation airplanes continued to grow in a fast pace. During this time, engineers replaced old engines with better ones. Pilots strived to reach greater heights, beating the best records in aviation as they achieved faster speeds, higher altitudes, and longer flights. For them, sky is really the limit.
Airplanes in the WWI
When World War I began, aircraft were recognized heavily as military equipment. This sparked the rise of the demand for airplanes. However, the most significant development of airplanes was during this period when the motors were upgraded. The aircraft then can soar with a speed of 130 mph, doubling the speed of pre-war airplanes.
In 1914, the airplane was tested in battle for the first time. In the minds of the many, aviation airplanes mean bombs, aerial combats, and surveillance. Moreover, when the war ended, the surplus of aircraft was so huge that building companies shut down and the demand for these aircraft went down to zero.
Airplanes were further used in military operations. In fact, these have become the primary tools in World War II, which gave birth to the term “fighter planes”. In 1937, the Germans were able to produce and test the very first jet aircraft in history. Because it did not perform how the Germans initially thought it would, it took them five years more to produce a decent-performing jet – which was too late to change the result of the World War II.
The Birth of Commercial Airlines
It was in 1976 when the commercial airline was introduced by France and Great Britain. The first commercial plane carried more than a hundred passengers with almost two times the speed of sound. This made the 3.5-hour duration of the London to New York flight, which is considerably short. However, the cost was too expensive that flights back then were for the rich and privileged only.
From 1996-1998, Russian and American aerospace companies collaborated with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in a research program which aimed to develop a 2nd generation supersonic aircraft.
Today, aviation airplanes flights are affordable already, and can be used for leisure or corporate travels. Airplanes are everywhere, and people take them for granted now. However, it is important to remember that this great invention was brought forth by the courage of not-so-long-ago antecedents to defy the traditional beliefs of people at that time.
Travel Europe by Plane, Train, Bus Or Car – It’s Easy
Map out your trip – travel Europe by train, plane, bus or rent a car. This saves you time and money. If you are on a budget, compare prices against train, plane or bus. Check departure, arrival times and length of travel.
Travel Europe by train is still the most popular way to go around. If your life’s motto is to travel light, this is a great way to get to your favorite cities! Find out how many countries you will be visiting. There are certain types of train fares to match your needs.
Do you travel during the day when you can admire the scenery? Or at night, while you sleep it out and wake up at your new destination, saving you one night’s stay at a hotel? Travel Europe the way Europeans do! Mix in with the locals. One piece of advise, as back home, please keep your belongings close to you, particularly in the larger cities such as Rome.
I’ve traveled around Europe alone. And for women traveling alone, Europe can be pretty safe. I’ve never had the need to travel at night as I do prefer sleeping in a warm comfy bed. 🙂 While traveling, bring along your drinks. Most train stations have stores and kiosks. It’s hard to be thirsty on board and praying for that guy selling the snacks to show up!
Eurorail or eurail passes can only be purchased while you are still outside Europe. There are special passes depending on the length of your stay, how many times you will be traveling and how many countries you will be seeing. This is handy although if you are covering a few cities at a time, it is best just to purchase point-to-point tickets. During these cases, I buy mine on the spot.
A green way to travel around the UK: Get around on the Virgin train! They’ve got rates from as low as GBP 12.50 one way. And if you book early, they have great deals for first class. First class and saving the environment, what a great combination.
With people wanting to get to their destination faster and cheaper, European regional airlines come up with promo flights sometimes even cheaper than train fare! Wow! That’s a great way to travel Europe! So instead of travelling overnight on a train, you can choose to fly! There are lots of cheap airlines out there to make us female travelers happy!
British Midland flies from London to several European cities. My Paris to London flight with a group was delayed but the service made up for it. Despite that delay, I still fly British Midland.
I’ve also tried easy jet from Dortmund to Rome Ciampino and Jet2 from Leeds to Amsterdam Schiphol. These are low budget airlines. If I booked fast enough, I could have gotten my Leeds to Amsterdam fare for only GBP 1 (excluding taxes)!
Flying within Italy? Try out My Air. They also fly to several international cities within Europe.
Be aware that you pay for the drinks and snacks on board so make sure you have coins or small bills ready. The flights left on time and in about an hour, you’re in your destination!
On the other hand, there is also a possibility of renting a private jet. Check out Net Jets Europe if you don’t want to wait for flights (like the rest of us mortals).
If you’re the type who loves driving during your vacation and consider map reading a stress-free hobby, then go ahead and rent a car! Driving in Europe is a breeze… that’s what Jan (my hubby) says… I can’t say the same because I don’t know how to drive!
Europe bus travel is an alternative to going around by train. It’s simple. Hop on, hop off. Coaches now are turning ultra modern. The ride is as smooth as when you’re on board a plane! Bus ride’s your thing the next time you travel Europe? There are several bus companies to choose from.
I travelled on Eurolines’ Amsterdam to Paris drive. We left Amstel Station at about 8pm and arrived in Paris at 6am. There are several toilet stops through the night and because the seats were comfortable, I felt pretty much OK on arrival.
National Express is a UK coach operator that goes to about a thousand places in the United Kingdom and to popular destinations in Europe (with Eurolines) as far as Moscow and St. Petersburg! There are some really great offers so you might just get a chance on a great deal. The trip may take longer than a train but you won’t worry about your luggage since all luggage are stored underneath the coach.
By private coach
The best in land travel, you and your friends and family have the privacy of your very own coach! Plan out your itinerary and have your very own professional driver take you around the continent for the entire duration of the trip. The latest family group I had decided to travel Europe (well, Italy and France) in the comfort and security of their very own deluxe coach, a big plus in their vacation! The kids claimed the back seats to chat all day long and their parents stayed in front enjoying the view!
This is a great alternative for those who easily get bored. You get to do different activities on board the ferry so there is never a dull moment while you travel Europe on your own.
Landing a Plane – 10 Tips To A Greasy Smooth Touchdown
It’s said that any pilot is only as good as his last landing. Landing a plane on a runway is a complex process of maneuvers and control inputs that tests every student pilot to the limit. Even after flight training ends, a pilot will always aspire to make great landings – it’s the one key part of flying where success can be definitively measured – either by a smooth, effortless touchdown… or by something entirely different.
When landing a plane, a multitude of things must be done all at once. And since your landing will depend upon outside factors (wind speed, direction, air temperature, etc…) as well, even the greatest pilot only has so much control over how the landing goes. No one makes a perfect landing each and every time, but with the following landing tips you can give yourself the best chance at impressing your passengers, yourself, and maybe even the tower operators too:
Make a Strong Approach – A great landing always starts with a great approach. On your downwind leg, already be at pattern altitude. Already be at the correct airspeed. Check your heading indicator, and make sure your plane is flying parallel to the runway heading. Doing these things in advance will free you up to really concentrate on your base and final legs – falling behind on these duties will have you playing ‘catch up’ with the entire landing process.
Concentrate – Flying with friends is always fun, but when it’s time to land a plane the pilot needs to focus 100% of his or her attention on the landing process. All too often a conversation will continue all the way down to the runway, and the landing will always suffer for it. After calling your downwind, politely silence your passengers so you can give all of your attention to your altitude, airspeed, and position without any other distractions.
Stay Center – Learning to fly on a wide runway, staying on the centerline might not seem as important to you. As you visit smaller fields however, you’ll learn that sometimes staying center of the runway is the only choice you have. After turning base to final, get lined up quickly.
Concentrate on keeping the nose of the plane pointed down that center line, using small aileron and rudder movements to avoid drifting. When your touchdown comes, that’s one less axis (yaw) you’ll have to worry about, freeing you up to concentrate on the other two.
Use Flaps Correctly – Landing a plane correctly requires touching down in the right spot at the right airspeed. Getting to that position and speed is the hard part, but fortunately for you, you’ve got some friends to help you out: flaps. Make sure you’re using your flaps correctly though, and not just automatically flipping them down at a specific time or point during your landing sequence.
Learning to land requires drilling the pattern with constant repetition, and it’s all too easy to just file flaps away in the back of your mental checklist as something “to do” on your base and final legs. The truth of it is, a pilot should use an aircraft’s flaps in different configurations during different scenarios depending upon wind speed, wind direction, altitude, airspeed, and the length of the runway you’re landing on.
Setting your flaps too early will lead to a high approach, with you overcorrecting by dive-bombing the runway. Setting them late might keep your airspeed undesirably high. Don’t feel you have to use all notches of flaps at all times either – in some situations it’s best to land with partial or even (in very windy conditions) no flaps at all.
Experience is the best teacher here, and it will take flying time in that particular aircraft for you to grow accustomed to optimum use of flaps. Understand that it’s not something that can be learned strictly from a textbook.
Use the Runway Numbers – When landing a plane the phrase ‘aim for the numbers’ is commonly heard, but seldom to pilots get to land on them. Most pilots are too busy watching airspeed and pitch to worry about where the numbers are, especially on longer runways with lots of room. Still, you can use the runway numbers to help get to your desired touchdown point if you spend some time watching them during your final approach.
As your touchdown draws near, you should have a good idea if you’re high, low, or right on target. If high, aiming toward a spot someplace before the numbers can help you drop a little altitude. If low, look a little further past the numbers to get your nose up. Adjust throttle where necessary to make the nose do what you need it to. This may seem like an obvious little trick, but if used during landing it can greatly help with your touchdown position.
SideSlip – An often talked about maneuver in any student pilot’s textbook would be the sideslip. During landing, a sideslip can be used to bleed off unwanted altitude without increasing airspeed or having to divebomb the runway. By applying opposite rudder and aileron, the aircraft will slip vertical position without changing its direction of flight.
If you’re a student pilot, you’re going to want to practice this maneuver a lot. It actually sounds trickier than it really is. As you advance in your flight training, you’ll find yourself sideslipping during landings without even being conscious of doing it. Get comfortable with it though, because it’s a good trick to have in your bag when you need to use it during a high final approach.
Attitude, Airspeed, Altitude – As the runway approaches, your focus will move to your primary instruments. Airspeed is critical here, as you want to avoid stalling at all costs. Make certain you maintain safely above minimum stall speeds for your aircraft’s flap configuration, and also make sure you’re not going too fast.
Adjust the nose of the plane to keep the airspeed needle right where it should be, and use power to correct your height above the runway. If you monitored these three instruments during your base and final legs, you should be very close to your desired touchdown point when landing the aircraft.
Look Down the Runway – Looking down the runway when landing an airplane is another great tip to getting the timing of your flare right – it gives you a better reference to the true horizon than looking at the ground rushing up beneath you.
It takes some practice, but eventually you can balance keeping your eye on the horizon, while peripherally watching your height above the runway. As you do this, your hands will be making subconscious adjustments to the control wheel that should smooth out your glidepath.
Flare, Float, and Throttle – Knowing when to flare is half the battle. Knowing how much to flare is the other half. Get both of those control movements right, and your wheels will grease the runway. During your flare, make smooth controlled movements with the wheel or yoke. You’re very close to the ground now, and any large or jerky movements will be amplified with disastrous results.
Once you do flare, you should know immediately if you’re high or low. A low flare can be fixed by smoothly applying more back pressure to the control wheel. A high flare can be corrected by holding control pressure and applying slight power with the throttle.
Never drop your nose suddenly or dramatically when landing a plane… if you flare too high, it’s best to ride out the ‘float’ and apply power if needed to smooth out the touchdown. A good pilot always keeps one hand on the throttle during his landing.
It Ain’t Over Yet – The last mistake made by some pilots is thinking their landing is over the moment their wheels touch the runway surface. To avoid that classification, remember to control the entire length of your landing. The rudder is key, as it now controls just about everything.
Make your rudder adjustments small – especially just after touchdown when the aircraft is still rolling pretty fast. Also remember to turn your ailerons to adjust for wind direction, so as to avoid being buffeted around by crosswinds. Your landing isn’t over until you turn onto the taxiway.
Landing a plane isn’t easy… but landing an airplane smoothly and correctly is even harder. Just as you have good and bad days, you’ll always have good landings and bad landings. Still, arming yourself with the right knowledge and practices can go a long way toward making great touchdowns. Using the tips above, you won’t land perfectly every single time, but you should see yourself consistently make better landings.