Plane & Pilot
Saturday, September 1, 2007

10 Sexiest Airplanes

…in the eye of the beholder

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 (e.g., strongest, tallest, funniest, etc.), you just know it's going to generate controversy. When you start saying "sexiest," however, the tension can get so high that the only things preventing fisticuffs between myself and the Plane & Pilot editors are the 400-mile distance and the fact that we're only digitally connected.

The root of the difficulty is in the definition of "sexiest." When applied to hardware, it connotes a level of sleek appearance that causes a pleasing visceral reaction in a viewer. Not many disagree with that. The problem develops in the individual brain chemistry that causes each of us to react differently to the same stimuli. As we were to find out, we react very differently. The Piaggio Avanti is an excellent case in point.

I knocked out my list of 10 airplanes with five honorable mentions. I wasn't firm in some of my selections, and I thought I was capable of great flexibility until Editor Jeff Berlin said he thought we should have the Avanti on the list. My immediate reaction was "Aaaaaaaarrrrrrrghh!!" (that's digital gagging), followed by a stream of invective having to do with a shape that reminds me of a…I can't say it here, but it wasn't complimentary. I'm not sure we've healed the rift that airplane caused in our relationship yet. Let's face it, the guy has no taste.

Then Managing Editor Jessica started pushing for inclusion of a lesser-known motorglider, and I told her it was like a really beautiful girl (or guy) who didn't know how to kiss. All show and no go. Now she won't answer my e-mails.

The only solution was for us to agree to disagree. Hence the "Editors In Disagreement" sidebar. Knowing we're that far out of synch with each other, we just know the readers are going to hand us our heads (this article was Jeff's idea, I had nothing to do with it, so send him your nastygrams. I get enough of my own). So, go to and find the "10 Sexiest" button. Click on that, and let us know where we're wrong. A few months down the road, we'll publish the results in an issue of Plane & Pilot. If you don't have a computer, call me and I'll give you Jeff's home number.

Okay, with all the caveats securely in place, here's our rendition (at least those we more or less agreed upon) of the 10 sexiest airplanes of all time.


Add Comment