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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.
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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! 

4. Douglas DC-3

4. Douglas DC-3
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Douglas DC-3

What in the world is this plane doing on this list? The DC-3, a radial-engine toting, taildragging, mud-bellied, heavy-hauling twin designed in the mid-1930s surely doesn’t belong on a list alongside supersonics and space planes, does it? It does. Launched as a domestic airliner in the days when piston engines were a clearer choice than turboprops for the important reason that turboprops didn’t yet exist, the DC-3, with its seating for up to 32 passengers, immediately earned a lot of business from the fledgling U.S. airline industry.

And when World War II started heating up, Douglas went into overdrive, producing around 10,000 DC-3s for the war effort—in all, the company cranked out more than 16,000 of the aircraft, which were known as the Gooney Bird, Dakota and C-47 (the latter among numerous other military designations). The Soviet Union built almost 5,000 of them under license, and even Imperial Japan cranked out nearly 500 DC-3 clones. In addition to its passenger-carrying pedigree, the DC-3 has been a parachute jump plane, an agricultural sprayer, a freighter and an executive transport. As of the turn of the century, there were nearly 500 DC-3s still in commercial use in dozens of countries around the world.

Margin of error: 1%. Contenders: Beech D-18 Twin Beech; de Havilland Twin Otter.

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