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!
5. Boeing 747
The first jumbo jet has gone through a half-dozen versions in its 50-year history. Boeing has turned out more than 1,500 of the enormous jets, which are one of the largest aircraft ever built and one of the most successful aircraft, period. The original 747 was a revelation—huge, fast, sophisticated and democratizing—and it has only continued to get better and better over its half-century-plus lifespan. The 747 remains in production, though Boeing is focusing on building freighter versions of it now, as twin-engine aircraft such as the Boeing 777 with huge turbofan engines rule the skies. Many think of the 747 as a lumbering giant, but it’s anything but. With a cruise speed north of Mach .85, it’s one of the fastest commercial transport jets. The latest 747, the 747-8, typically carries 467 passengers.
Margin of error: 15%. Contenders: Boeing 777; Airbus A300; Boeing 737; Boeing 707; Boeing 787.