Plane & Pilot's 10 Sexiest Airplanes

Okay, we freely admit it: What started as a simple exercise, to select the 10 sexiest airplanes in the world, has turned out to be one of the most difficult and divisive projects in which we've ever been involved. Part of that was to be expected. After all, when you put "est" at the end of a word, you just know it's going to generate controversy.

This list is no different. As soon as the the September issue hit the newsstands, our in-boxes filled with emails from readers complimenting and contesting our picks for 10 Sexiest. Everyone wanted a chance to weigh in with his or her vote for sexiest. And when our readers speak, we listen. So we've set up this forum for you to post your opinions. Below you can sing the virtues of your favorites, see what other pilots are saying, and fire back with your own cheers and jeers at our choices and theirs.

You'll find our 10 Sexiest list below. You can read the whole article in the September 2007 issue of Plane & Pilot.

Return to planeandpilotmag.com >>>


1. Supermarine Spitfire MK 22










Philip Makanna/GHOSTS


2. Staggerwing G17S










Michael Steineke



3. Nemesis NXT










Jim Koepnick



4. Lancair 320










Jim Koepnick



5. Lear 24D/Falcon 10















6.Vulcan Bomber









Ted Carlson, http://www.fotodynamics.net/



7.Cirrus/Columbia
























Jessica Ambats


8. North American F-86










Jim Koepnick



9. F-22 Raptor










Ted Carlson, http://www.fotodynamics.net/


10. Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird"











Courtesy EAA


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108 comments:

Brian Smith said...

That's hot.

Anonymous said...

OMG, how could you have omitted the P-51 Mustang?? Unbelievable.

tburling said...

I do not think this is a Spit 22. It looks like a 5B (VB) as it does not have a bubble cockpit, it has three exhaust vents on each side of the engine and it has 2x20mm cannon and 4 x .303 browning machine guns.

I agree with your choice of this beautiful aircraft, whatever the minor quibbles about the mark you are showing.

Anonymous said...

You have tackled a tough subject, and for that I admire you...but I cannot understand an article about the "sexiest aircraft ever" that doesn't even mention the P-51 Mustang or the F-14/F-15.
Others that should have at least made your honorable mention list are the Concorde and the B-1B.


Frank Schoeneman
Pottsville, PA

Kevin Eldredge said...

While the list is tough, only one stands out as the "Sexiest"!!!

Relentless NXT!

Dave Druga said...

Where is the P-51D? (?!?!?!?!)

Anonymous said...

No Aerostar?

No XB-70 Valkerie?

And yeah, gotta go along with the P-51D, and F-14/15 votes, too.

You're brave for even starting this!!

Bobby Lett said...

Spartan Executive by far has the sexiest curves for a decco era

Anonymous said...

I can't see it.... a list of the 10 sexiest planes and the P-51 Mustang doesn't make the list??? For shame, for shame!!!

Gary said...

Missing, is the P-51 Mustang and the F-100 Super Sabre.

Anonymous said...

How about "Old Hose Nose" the F-4U Corsair!!

PropFan said...

1. agree, but a P-51 is my first choice.
2.I'd take the Spartan over the Stag' for a classic.
3-4. The sexiest of the new kits.
5. Classy lookers
6. Concord is a better looking delta wing Brit
7. Best of the GA new world, but the Aerostar is still my fav...
8. No question, a head turner
9. Sexy? are you kidding? No curves in the F22 (or 14/15). Has to be the F-16 for a svelt modern fighter.
10. Dark, fast, and pointy, so only sexy if you like black leather and spikes. I prefer softer and rounder...Like a DC-3.

Anonymous said...

Wait. . .where is the top spot that should certainly be occupied by the P-51?

-Brett

Anonymous said...

Great article, great topic, but a suicide mission, of course! I am not a traditionalist, and sex is more than skin deep! During WW II the P-38 Lighting was topps. In October '91 love at first sight hit me hard with the Avanti P-180, and nothing since has ever come close! Clean, looks very fast and is, low fuel consumption, big cabin-how can it not be on top?
Howard

Anonymous said...

The list is subjective to begin with, but for a plane to be "sexy" and still within reach of your average pilot, nothing beats a Mooney.

Tony said...

1. Corsair
2. P-51
3. Spitfire
4. Staggerwing
5. F-16
6. V-Tail Bonanza
7. Mooney Acclaim - Hey I am a
mooniac and it looks fast.
8. De Havilland Beaver
9. Pitts - Some say ugly but I
like biplanes.
Honerable mention F-14, Nemisis, Edge 540, and Piper Cub.
10. Waco - Again, I love biplanes.

Anonymous said...

What About Curtis P6E P51 P38 and Navion

gary bishop said...

corsair & P-51 (tie)

Anonymous said...

Certainly not pretty but sexy isn't always about the prettiest.
When you see what the F-22 can do it is a standout.

Anonymous said...

Corsair

clive smith said...

Clearly there are a host of sexy aircraft, because flight IS sexy. I would add the Paiggio P180 Avanti II and the Adam A500.

Anonymous said...

P 38, P51, Corsair, Lear Falcon-no,Cirrus/Columbia-no.

A better photograph of the V-bomber in flight would help.

Concorde-possibly, but how about the De Havilland Comet or RAF Nimrod?

Ron Robbins said...

I like your list but you left out the sexiest of all: The P-51 Mustang!

Anonymous said...

How could you guys leave out the P-51D Mustang? The aircraft has to be one of the sexiest aircraft of WWII. And for non-military, I can understand and respect the decision to go with the early Learjet and Falcon, but for modern works of art, the Gulfstream GV\G550 is the sexiest aircraft in the skies

John said...

No Mooney on the list? Fellow Mooniacs unite!!

Anonymous said...

The Cessna 195 Needs to be on that list!

Anonymous said...

P-51 should be in there!!

John B. Adams said...

Have to agree with the missing P-51, but you missed some early stuff like the 1913 Deperdussin Monococque Racer and the 1939 Bugatti 100 Racer, way ahead of their times in sexy lines!

Anonymous said...

In no particular order:

Waco Taperwing (the most glamorous Waco)

V-tail Bonanza

Spitfire (not better, but sexier than the P-51)

B-70 Valkyrie (sleek + scary = sexy)

Nemesis

F-104 (okay, it is blatantly phallic, but certainly sexier than any of the other Century Series fighters)

Almost any high-performance sailplane

Avanti

Columbia

Hughes H-1 (somehow both very masculine and feminine at the same time)

Charlie said...

Has to be P51D

Anonymous said...

Spartan exec
D17
and Number 1 is the P-51D

I would throw in a GB for good measure

Charles said...

The P-51 should have been at least mentioned with a slash along with the spitfire as you did with the columbia and cirris.

Anonymous said...

AS with the rest of the real pilots you need the p-51, and the p-38. But for ga the duke is is moving when its on the ramp.

Anonymous said...

Tough project..Best done by defining by year groups. Civil vs military, jet,turboprop,piston, fixed and rotarywing and design purpose,(job)application. Then just stand back and watch the fur fly. Don't forget experimental too.

Anonymous said...

the P-51 Mustang must be in the top 10

Anonymous said...

only reason I can even think you left the P-51 Mustang off the top of list is that you were only ranking "amatuerishly sexy" planes.

The P (as in Professionally sexy Plane)51 takes all comers hands down.

Anonymous said...

To me, my heart will always belong to the F-4 Phantom.

Tom

Anonymous said...

how about the superconnie

Anonymous said...

where did you your list from NO P-51 0r F-15 they are my 1 & 2 the Valcan and a kit plane no way!!!! weres the gull winged Corsair

GUY said...

Completely disagree with the rankings.
The P-51 over the Spit. Spit is a gorgeous plane.
Starship over the Staggerwing.
The Vulcan? The Bone deserves the slot as far as bombers. The XB-70 gets HM slot.
F-104 over the F-86...F-86 gets an honorable.
Long EZ over the Lanceair 320
Concorde and Constellation deserve the Cirrus/Columbia slot.
The Hawker Fury was the sexiest Biplane fighter ever made.

Anonymous said...

It is pretty obvious that there is a generation gap here as I note that there are no air carrier aircraft listed anywhere in this selection.
If you were involved in aviation at the mid point of the 1900's you would be aware of the Constellation series built by Lockheed. The Lockheed 1649 was the last and most elegant of the "Connies". It was ahead of its time and was outdistancing its competitor the Douglas DC-7. The "Connie" was a true pilots airplane with a flight deck crew of three. (http://www.starliner.net)
(http://www.conniesurvivors.com/L1649A.htm)
I had the privilege to fly both N7316C and 8083H for several years and those experiences were some of the best in my career.
AS you say, the definition of "sexiest" is in the eye of the beholder. However my hormone level always surged on the take off roll with all four of those 3500 HP Wright Turbo Compound 3350 engines roaring down the runway. What a delight it was. I only wish I could relive those years.......
Jim

Anonymous said...

Ya all missed it.
The L1649 Constellation is by far the sexiest. Go to.....
http://www.conniesurvivors.com/L1649A.htm.... or...
http://www.starliner.net/
Jim

Wayne Scott said...

Oh polease!!! you missed the Concorde... it would fit comfortably in any position but it must be in the top 10 somewhere

Ken said...

Okay, you've already been hammered about your oversight on the P-51D, so I'll leave that alone. But I also agree that the B-1B is definitely near the top of the sexy list. In the same vein, the B-58 Hustler exudes macho. And here's a plane that's "just a trainer", but shows off that sexy sportscar profile: the T-38 Talon. And if you need a GA airplane, why isn't the Cessna 340 on the list? Twin props are definitely hot, hence my final offering, the A-26 Invader. Overall, though, a fun topic to kick around--thanks!

Anonymous said...

1) P-51
2) F-22
3) F-16
4) F-15

Ricardo Burgos said...

My opinion, unacceptable not to include the P-51D and Concorde.

Anonymous said...

The P-51 has to be in the top 10!

It is way above some of the one's you picked.

Peter said...

1. Spitfire
2. P-51 Mustang
3. Hawker Hunter
4. Tomcat
5. F-86 Sabre
6. Lockheed Blackbird
7. Super Constellation
8. F-4 Phantom
9. The Concord
10. Vought Corsair

Anonymous said...

The P-51D has GOT to be at the top of the list. The F-4 is a close second. Take a look at the F-4 sitting on a flightline next to an F-16. The F-4 looks like it's going to eat the F-16 for lunch. It looks mean just sitting there.

Anonymous said...

How could you forget, in this order:
P-38 Lightning
Focke-Wulf 190
F4U Corsair
Lockheed Constellation
DC-3
Piper Warrior II (N8119H), mine!

Anonymous said...

Beechcraft Duke must be on the list.

Anonymous said...

There is something missing in this list. There’s no P-51 Mustang, no P-38 Lightening, no Piper Cub, and no Corsair. I might be a woman, but I’ve flown just about every aircraft you can possibly imagine. We need these four on the list – with the P-51 Mustang ON TOP!

Lizzy said...

Here are my personal favorites from the list:

1. Nemesis NXT
2. Cirrus/Columbia
3. Supermarine Spitfire MK 22
4. F-22 Raptor
5. Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird"

Just one thing...where's the P-51 Mustang?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised the following are not on the list:

Cessna 195
DC-3

Russ said...

I agree with most of the above, but no one mentioned the P-39 Aircobra,no straight lines, all curves, but then it was not a glamor girl as far as combat records go (not withstanding the Russians).

Anonymous said...

The Nemesis NXT & Lancair 320 are too much alike---drop one. I can't believe you included the Spitfire without even considering the P-51 Mustang. Also, what about the Temco Swift or the Meyers 200? You might also consider the XB-70 Valkyrie & the X-15. Just because the Cirrus & Columbia are modern does not make them sexy. I think they're silly looking. The Lear & Beech Staggerwing G17S are good picks, however.

Anonymous said...

P-38
F4U Corsair
Spitfire
P51
Bf-109
Fw-190
Beach Staggerwing
Beach Starship
Pitts
Any of the newer Gulfstreams GIV, GV, G550

Joe said...

1) Never been a big fan of the Spitfire. Replace this one with the P-51 Mustang. MUCH sexier!

2) Staggerwings are pretty sexy, but I'd have to at least give honorable mention to the Howard DGA-15. Besides, with the Howard you don't have to worry about landing gear-up, which is definitely NOT sexy!

3) Nix on the Nemesis. Sinister, yes. Fast, definitely. Cool, for sure. Sexy? No.

4) Lancair (any model). Doesn't do anything for me.

5) Lear - definitely VERY sexy!

6) Vulcan bomber? unique and different, sure, but can't say it's sexy. Can't look at one without thinking of "Thunderball".

7) Cirrus or Columbia. Not really sexy in any way. Guess I'm not a "plastic airplane" kind of guy.

8) F-86 is for sure the sexiest of the early jets. And the early jets are definitely sexier than any of the modern stuff. Anything after the F-4 Phantom is definitely "wow", but definitely not sexy.

9) The Raptor is at the top of the "Wow" list, but I can't see "sexy" when I look at it.

10) I guess I've never really had the word "sexy" pop into my mind when I see the SR-71. Can't really think of a word to properly describe it, but "sexy" isn't it.

To replace those on the above list that I've panned, I suggest the following:

DC-3. Never a better looking or longer-lived transport aircraft

Gullwing Stinson. Ranks right up there with the Howard and the Spartan Exective.

Lockheed Air Express. MAJOR sexy, with the open cockpit for the pilot and enclosed cabin for the passengers.

Any Waco, especially the UPF-7. These airplanes just look good. Fly good too!

Great topic. Glad you have fireproof underwear!!

Anonymous said...

While I agree with your list there is no way the B-One is not among the top ten. Have to include the Spartan Exec and the P-51 too. Apparently Ten isn't a big enough list....

Mike Paller said...

Well I'm glad to read that Kevin Eldredge isn't the only one who loves his Nemesis NXT. Lizzy also does & must be his wife or related.

Plane & Pilot owes everyone an issue dedicated to the hands down undisputed sexy champion - The P-51D !!!!!
Not only is the design the sexiest but couple it with its accomplishments & place in history and you have the #1 drool factor that will never be unseated. I didn't even bother to buy the magazine after I screamed from seeing no P-51D in the #1 spot or even on the list.

I also find the Thunder Mustang very sexy as it's like a personal pocket P-51D that goes like mad with its V-12.

Kevin I'll watch you in the Reno Air Races of 2007! Good luck, fly safe and continue to enjoy the view of the Thunder Mustang from behind. Now that's funny.

Avro 25201 said...

My top 10:

1: Lockheed Constellation
2: Gulfstream 450/500/550
3: P-51 Mustang
4: F-35 Lightning II
5: Lear 24D/Falcon 10
6: Any Cirrus/Columbia/Lancair
7: F-86 Saber
8: Lockheed Electra 12
9: F-14 Tomcat
10: Cessna 177RG (Sexiest aircraft availiable for $60K)

Honourable Mentions:

* Any Diamond
* Boeing 737-900ER (I saw one in Boeing colours and it looked great)
* Nemesis NXT
* P-38 Lightning
* Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Anonymous said...

Leave it as Bud's List as we'll agree to disagree that there are a lot of "tens" out there. That's probably how the C120/140 made Mike McMann's list. I have a Champ with the dorsal fin (like a P-51), which improves the looks, but it's still rating "cute" from all the babes drawn to it.
Based on looks, the Spitfire deserves #1, as the Mustang, Corsair are more angular, like a horse. Commander 112/114/115? Interesting tail, so why did it not make Jeff Berlin's list with the Socata? I must agree that Jeff Schroeder's B-2 Bomber is not sexy, but it is "stealth chic" and the new cosmetic coating gets it out the door faster than (your choice of name, but nothing that includes Hilton).

The operative word for this list is "sexiest", not "favorite" or another adjective.
Kudos to the "airbum" for stepping out to write this list... I must be another one...

Charlie Branch
Cordova, AK
(attended the Last Gathering of Corsairs & Legends in 2002, Gunfighter Skies 2003 volunteer, saw the T-bird 6 crash. Pvt Pilot training at Reno-Stead...)

Chris said...

Wow what a list...

I do agree the P-51D should be on the list. Right below the NXT at number 2.

Nemesis NXT is number 1 in my book... Fast is sexy.... Check it out in person...

Drop the Cirrus, that tail looks goofy. The Columbia deserves to have the spot all to itself.

The Vulcan bomber is NOT sexy... I think the B-2 Bomber is far sexier. In flight it is awesome.

Chris

Anonymous said...

As I said in my letter to the editor re 10 sexiest planes: "Hello? Concorde?"

As to the comment above "DC-3. Never a better looking or longer-lived transport aircraft": Well, longer lived, sure. Sexiest? Nope, the bulbous DC3 doesn't hold a candle to either the Lockheed Super Constellation or the Concorde - which is my vote for sexiest plane of all time (and damn the chain of circumstances which has prevented me from ever being able to fly on the Concorde....)

Dennis said...

I can't believe nobody mentioned the RA-5 Vigilante; it looks like it's going Mach 2 sitting on the ramp. Much sexier than the F-14. Sexy GA airplanes? Cesna 310 and 210 (in flight with the gear up). I wholeheartedly agree with the Jeff Berlin on the Avanti; georgous airplane! How about the Grumman F-11 Tiger? It's what a jet fighter is supposed to look like.

Anonymous said...

My sexiest airplane list:
1. F-14 Tomcat. The Tomcat is equated to the Playboy centerfold. Voluptous and curvaceous lines and sleek and deadly looking. Every guy wants her but only a couple fellas could handle her. She's a high maintenance gal!!.
2. F-86. Looks like the girl next door. Always beautiful, always clean and classy looking. Easy to handle
3. F-15A Eagle. Looks like the hot Fortune 500 exec chic. All business but very very sharp looking. Intimidating beauty.
4. P-51D Mustang. Throwback beauty. Still looks good for being over 50+ years old.
5. F4U Corsair. Tough sexy. Looks kinda like the hot country girl who drives a pickup

BK

Anonymous said...

I'm concerned that the editors of Plane & Pilot may have trouble passing their next medical. Obviously they all have eye problems. How can it be that they all missed the F16? None of them even mentioned this gorgeous aircraft. Tsk, Tsk.

Anonymous said...

Where is the p-51d

Eddy said...

The P-51 and P-38 have to be in this list. Each has a distinctive feature and a cohesive appearance. How often is an airplane's sexiest feature its radiator? I also really like the new Eclipse Concept Jet. Here's my list.

1. P-51D
2. Spitfire
3. XB-70
4. P-38 Lightning
5. Eclipse Concept Jet
6. F-104 Starfighter
7. F-15 Falcon
8. Nakajima Hein
9. Sukhoi Su-27
10. Tucano

Anonymous said...

Me-163 :)

Anonymous said...

Me-163 :)

T. E. Miller, Colonel USAF, ret'd said...

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the most eye-pleasing beautiful bomber ever built was the B-47! I have flown more than 35 different types of aircraft for the USAAF and the USAF---none of them equalled the beauty---as a bomber---of the B-47!!

Nick said...

I can't seem to understand how the sleekest, most curvaceous, ready for anything jet isn't the F-16. Ever look a Viper in the eye? You'll know what I mean.

tendriver said...

They said of the Spitfire that it flies like it looks. Sexy airplanes should come with sublime handling qualities. Some personal favorites:

The Cessna Citation X. Must look spectacular doing an overhead approach: highly swept and tapered wings and tail surfaces, area ruled rear fuselage, oversized engines whistling in the break. Too bad it doesn't quite handle as well as it looks--the controls are too heavy and sluggish to make it a pleasant airplane to hand-fly with the autopilot off.

Dassault: The Mirage F1. Single engine, single seat sports job. The African desert low level clip on Glumbert is a religious experience. Among the Falcons, the 10, 20, 50 and 7X. Marcel Dassault himself said that for an airplane to fly well it has to be beautiful, and all Dassault products have great handling. Left the Citation X for a Falcon 2000 for that reason.

The lovely Aermacchi (SIAI Marchetti) SF.260, which made your Faux Fighter list. An Italian designer airplane from the pen of Stelio Frati. I'm really fortunate to have one as a pet.

Anonymous said...

1. F104 (perfect design)
2. Lockheed jet star
3. Concorde
4. Lear 24
5. Md 80
6. Cessna 340
7. Bonanza V tail
8. Grumman Goose
9. Lake 200
10. Piper Archer
11. Aermacchi Mb 339
Ciao Andrea Italy

Anonymous said...

Absolutly amazing how many have not seen/studied the P-180 Avanti. Nothing in production in its class looks faster, is roomier, or performs better! Old planes are nice, but at 72 I look for the best!
Howard

nemenoid said...

Although the P-51D WAS a sexy plane, in its day, (over 60 years old!), there is no doubt the Nemesis NXT is the new icon for sexy airplanes. Let's see - the NXT is manufactured with smooth-as-silk carbon fiber composites, with no rivets, unlike the P-51's which are constructed with cold-hammered aluminum with rivets protruding all over it, kinda like warts. How attractive is that?

Oh yah and if fast is your definition of sexy, well the NXT's at Reno this year both had race speeds of over 380 mph with nothing more than a 540 size engine!

The elegance of the graceful aerodynamic lines with speed and power of several hundred horses, the Nemesis NXT has to be reigned in as the sexiest airplane.

Anonymous said...

Anybody got a comment on the "myths" part?

dave said...

Thank you for an article that gets such a great response. I was surprised the P-51, Avanti, and Concord didn't make the list. My personal favorite in the "sexy" category would have to be the early B-1A prototypes...the gorgeous curves (before the electronics spine was added), sharp rear radome, solidly supersonic, sinister capabilities and wrapped in beautiful white. Sexy? The original B-1A reminds me of a gorgeous but dangerous character Anglina Jolie might play. Hubba! Hubba! :)

Anonymous said...

I agree it is very tough to limit the list to 10. That being said, a must for this list is the P-51D Mustang. Eyes open or closed, this bird moves the spirit.

People aren't lining up to drop a few grand to fly a Nemesis NXT. (wouldn't happen even if they made a two seat model) That should tell you something.

Satish said...

Great Topic !! I appreciate ur hard work it is indeed a very tough task but I think P-51D Mustang really deserves to be on the list

Flying Lady

Private Pilots Secrets

Anonymous said...

The Nemesis NXT is only sexy from a certain few angles. That's all. A sexy girl can't be photographed from a couple of pre-determined poses only!
P-51D #1 - all else can fight for the other 9 spots.

David said...

There's an interesting list (that's harder to come by than you might think!) of the Top 100 most popular aircraft. It's at Google Answers:

List Of Top 100 Private Aircraft
http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=764311

It's interesting how few of these make the "sexy" list!

David

Shreenand said...

one word... CONCORDE

Anonymous said...

C'mon....guy or gal, who DOESN'T get goosebumps when in the mere presence of an F16?! Now THAT'S hot! It isn't about a 'pretty' paint job or 'handling'....when a plane can take your breath away, it has got to be sexy!

Anonymous said...

ok i fink the first and most sexiest would be the boeing 747- 400 and the tenth would be the learjet. no military planes 4 me.

Anonymous said...

Where is the P51D???

Anonymous said...

My list, in no particular order:

P-51D - perfect proportions and lines

Spitfire - of course

Piaggio P.180 Avanti II - total grace

Boeing B-52 (ever seen one banking overhead?)

B-47 as well

F-104 - my favorite since childhood, especially from head-on with gear down and wingtip tanks

F-4 Phantom - super-sexy in a super-manly way

Lancair Legacy (RG) and IV/IV-P, w/winglets

Piper Cub!

Richard

Erick said...

As much as I agree with many of the comments above regarding the addition of the Mustang, I have to disagree with most of the Fighter selection.

I would say the F18 is a much sexier aircraft than the F14/15/16. The Hornet has beatifull lines, and perfect proportion. Another fighter which is worth mentioning is the F5. Just look at the under side and you will understand...its got the perfect women shape (or coke bottle if you want). As for GA aircraft, I would add the V tail Bonanza. Piaggio gets my vote as a pretty sexy machine, plus...its a Ferrari!

Anonymous said...

wheres the P51/A Mustang its a beautiful plane or where r any P51's

Anonymous said...

Two "musts" for the list:

Piaggio P.180 Avanti II
Beech B60 Duke

Both look like they're going fast while just sitting on the ramp.

Anonymous said...

Dan says the P-51 Mustang should be at the top of the list for more than one reason.
First it was not only sexy in appearance but have you ever listened to the sound of a Merlin V-12? If you have it was probably running only 30" to 40" of Manifold Pressure because of the T.B.O. of 450 hours if running routinely at 60" of Manifold Pressure. Note: Reno is a good place to go if you want to hear the whole Merlin! (And how sweet it is)!
Second reason is, If you've ever read the story of the P-51 Mustang you will quickly and undoubtedly realize what the American people can achieve in 119 days. Because after an Engineer picked up a blank piece of paper, pencil and slide rule 119 day's later the Mustang made it's first flight, thus turning the tide of WWII. I'll guarantee you that during those 119 days there was no time for backstabbing co-workers or B.S. Office Politics at North American. Why? Because the World couldn't afford it.
Beech has built quite a few sexy airplanes starting with the Staggerwing and it's important to note that it was the stock market crash of 1929 that crippled the sales of the Staggerwing. The B60 Duke. The first time I ever saw a Duke I thought to myself, "wow Beech has come out with a new design", and then I learned that the Duke was designed and built in 1964. And none of you mentioned the Beech Starship. Why do I find the Starship sexy? Because Innovation is always sexy.
And now for the Composites. I used to think Cirrus Design was a hot looking airplane until I found out that 61% of Cirrus Design is owned by a Muslim Investment Bank. And then suddenly I didn't find it to be so sexy anymore.
Business Liners, I'm torn between the Lear and the G-IV,G-450 G-V. They both build a beautiful Airplane. Let's not forget the Citation X. Why do I find the Citation Jet sexy? Because it was a "come from behind" victory for Cessna. The Citation went from being the slowest to the fastest Business liner in the sky.
Oh for sure, beauty is not only in the Eye of the beholder but also in the Mind for it is not only the visual perception of things that we find to be sexy or beautiful. It is also the story, the History, the spirit and the strive for Achievement. After all, it was these things that put us on the Moon.

Anonymous said...

Where's F-16?
How can u rule it out?

Ricardo from Chile said...

¿Hawker Hunter?. Peter for sure you are britain. I agree that this is a beauty and mystic plane but Im not sure it qualifies.For clasics I would like to put the Stinson Gullwing near the podium. The Citation X deserves a place there too.

Anonymous said...

Hello, the P51D, hello...

Anonymous said...

In no particular order:
F-16
Swearingen Merlin
Early Cessna 310
Maachi 205 Veltro
B1-B
Piper Malibu
Supermarine Spitfire Mark V
Bell P-63 Kingcobra, -39, HM
North American P-51D Mustang
Kawasaki Ki-61 Tony

Lysa said...

People should read this.

Anonymous said...

My list: 1.BD-5, 2.Lancair Legacy, 3.Polen Special, 3.Swearingen SX 300, 4.Nemesis NXT, 5.P-51B Mustang, 6.XB-70, 7.Beach Stagerwing, 8.F-15 Eagle, 9.F-16 Fighting Falcon, 10.F4-U Corsair

capt. sparky said...

hey, what about a piper malibu mirage? best look'n piston with pressurization! :)

Anonymous said...

You have GOT to be kidding....No P-51 Mustang! It is so sexy it has to be rated XXX. Also how about the new Honda Jet?

Great photos and really, aren't most planes sexy? Happy Flying.

Anonymous said...

Great list. I don't agree with every choice and Budd is obviously a very couragous man as I imagine publishing this kind of list is akin to stepping off a cliff.

I was glad to see a sailplane included; a somewhat under appreciated and recognized element of aviation.

But as with many before me, I am very surprised not to see a Mustang or Lightening on the list. I never tire of reading this article and enjoying the debate of what should be on the list.

Anonymous said...

NO CONCORDE?!?!

imhotep said...

the sexiest airplane? it's got to be the f-14 tomcat...none comes close....

Anonymous said...

Agree with many above that said you've opened a real can of worms here. Anyways, I also count myself among the many who said it's hard to believe that so many beautiful warbirds have been left out of the top ten -- e.g., P-51, Corsair, Bone just to start. And I can only assume you were LOOKING for trouble when you left out the P-51. Unbelieveable.

Also agree with Dennis, who mentioned the Vigilante and Grumman F11F -- both wicked yummy, and to which I would add the Lockheed F-90, for "the way a Jet should look".

I would also add Hawker Hunter, DeHavilland Mosquito and its little sister, the Hornet...the Brits do sexy very well.

But holy crap -- all of those girly-man, bedwetting, angular/pointy modern sideslappers in the lineup? Yuck, and double-yuck. Boxer engines, with the possible exception of same in a Testarossa, are by definition boring and un-sexy, no matter what lingerie you dress them up in.

My apologies to all you GA folks, but sound must play a part in sexy (e.g. Merlin, Allison V1710, and P&W R2800), and sideslappers have all the sonic charm of a Toyota Corolla with one of those chrome-coffee-can exhaust systems. Reliable, perhaps. Sexy? NO WAY.

As a general rule, and with notable exceptions like Concorde and Staggerwing, GA must yield to Military better than 90% of the time for sheer sex appeal.

Anonymous said...

I always thought the F4U Corsair was one of the coolest planes ever built, and the P-38 lightning was right up there with it.

Anonymous said...

Great job & thanks for not using all war birds. Leaving out the P-51 was great, there are 100 other planes shold be included before p-51s.

Captboba said...

Hasn't anyone ever seen a Lockheed 1049 or 1649 Constellation,or a Meyers 200D, or a WACO UPF7, but I do defer to one of Plane & Pilot's original "Top 10", you can't beat a SR 71 Blackbird for pure sex appeal.

Tyler said...

How about the Epic LT!?