Legendary and Rare Airplanes You Wish You Could Fly
Since the moment man took flight, there have been a number of airplane models to come and go, however, there’s only a select few that have made a lasting mark on aviation. Below is a look at a few legendary airplanes that have graced the skies and a couple rare models that any pilot would die to fly.
LEGENDARY PLANES YOU WISH YOU COULD FLY:
- The Memphis Belle
One of the most legendary airplanes to ever touch the clouds was a Boeing B-17F Flying Fortress, endearingly known as The Memphis Belle. Named after his sweetheart from Memphis, Tennessee, pilot Robert K. Morgan is credited with naming this WWII aircraft that was the first bomber to complete 25 combat missions over Germany. Due to its impressive accomplishments, The Memphis Belle ultimately inspired two motion pictures, including a Hollywood feature film from 1990 by the same name, Memphis Belle.
- The Wright Flyer
Of course, any mention of famous airplanes must include the Wright Flyer, simply because of its place in history. Called simply a “flying machine” upon its inception, Orville and Wilbur Wright are the Brother Brains credited with inventing the airplane and making the first controlled and sustained “heavier-than-air” human flight on December 17, 1903 – covering a whopping 120 feet in 12 seconds. Although most stable-minded pilots wouldn’t trust their life to this early 1900’s technology, there is no doubting that the very first airplane, the Wright Flyer, is fully legendary.
- The Spruce Goose
Although it’s not the fastest or most acrobatic plane of the bunch, pilots everywhere would be honored to fly the well-known Spruce Goose because it has only been flown once before. Yes, like the Titanic, but with a much less tragic ending, this WWII engineering marvel only made one voyage. Crafted entirely out of wood (due to wartime restrictions on metals), this behemoth was a full six times larger than any other aircraft at the time and was intended to transport troops and materials across the Atlantic, however, on its one-and-only flight on November 2, 1947, the crew flew just one mile before setting her down and laying her to rest.
- The Spirit of St Louis
Attempting what six others had tried and failed already, Charles Lindbergh was the first person to successfully complete a solo, non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, he didn’t just float from New York to Paris … he accomplished this feat in the cockpit of the infamous Spirit of St Louis. Custom built for the award-winning journey, the Spirit of St Louis was a single engine, single-seat monoplane that helped Lindbergh make history in 1927.
- Glamorous Glen III
While the Wright Flyer was the first plane to put a human in flight and the Spirit of St Louis was the model of longevity, Glamorous Glenn III(“Glamorous Glennis”) was the famed airplane that allowed Charles Yeager to travel faster than the speed of sound. First flown in 1946, this experimental X-1 rocket plane, built by Bell Aircraft, exceeded Mach 1.015 (670 miles per hour) in 1947 to become the first aircraft to ever break the sound barrier!
RARE AIRPLANES YOU WISH YOU COULD FLY:
- NASA X15
Deep down, most pilots get into the flying game for pure speed so when it comes to fulfilling that deep-down need for speed, what better plane than NASA’s X15, the fastest mannedplane in the world. What makes this plane so rare is the fact that it does not launch from the ground – it is launched mid-air from a B-52 and, because it is powered by a rocket engine, it has established altitude records of 67 miles and breached speeds of Mach 6.85 (4,520 miles per hour).
- The Supermarine Spitfire
If the souped-up name wasn’t enough to persuade you that this is the airplane that dreams are made of, ask a British historian and they’ll give you an ear full of raving reviews. While this isn’t a single “legendary” airplane, it is widely recognized as the fleet of machines that helped the Royal Air Force turn back the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) during the Battle Of Britain to ultimately win World War II. Complete with a Rolls Royce Merlin Engine, it’s no secret why these are a favorite of aviation enthusiasts and why some of these are still being flown today.
- P-51 Mustang
Widely considered to be the most renowned airplane of WWII, the North American P-51 Mustang is a rare plane today that most any pilot would love a chance to handle. Known for its ability to fly the bomber escort role successfully, it was equipped with a Rolls Royce Merlin 68 engine and although it was one of the more highly produced planes of the war, the fact that the U.S. Air Force stopped using it in 1957, makes it a rare machine that is cherished by enthusiasts today.
- Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Developed in 1966 by Lockheed Corporation, the SR-71 “Blackbird” is one of the most famous planes in history. Because it could travel at speeds that tripled the speed of sound (Mach 3.5) and reach altitudes as high as 100,000 feet, it was an exciting machine that only the best of the best could pilot. Of course, now that it has been retired since 1998, it’s a rare plane that you could only wishto fly.
- NASA X43 Admittedly, NASA’s X-43 is an unmanned aircraft, however, because it’s the fastest airplane in the world, that’s exactly why any pilot would kill to have a chance at flying it. Well, how fast is it? Believe it or not, NASA has reported that the X-43 has exceeded an impressive Mach 9.6, which equates to over 7,000 miles per hour! Hold onto your seat!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of legendary and rare airplanes. From the old to the new, one thing is for sure; they are all amazing machines that we all wish we had the chance to fly!