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Top 25 Planes Of All Time

Across all segments of aviation, these 25 airplanes have stood above the rest and have weathered the test of time.

With the tens of thousands of airplane models that have been built and flown since the days of the Brothers Wright, how is it even possible to come up with a list of the greatest planes of them all? 

It’s a fair question, and it’s one we’ve spent a great deal of time discussing before we even embarked upon the journey. At first glance, the exercise seems a bit silly. After all, planes come in so many different shapes and sizes, with an equal number of mission types to match. How could you possibly choose just one? 

But the more we thought about it, the more sense it made to us. To start with, we needed to acknowledge that there are a lot of great airplanes. There are also a lot of historically significant airplanes, which is a more exclusive club, we decided. But finally, there is a level of greatness that you can indeed measure using a few distinct and, in most cases, at least somewhat quantifiable categories, such as how many were built or what its top speed is or how long it was in service. 

But looking at the different kinds of mission types, i.e., training, personal transportation, commercial transportation, fighters, bombers, reconnaissance and more, we decided to narrow things down even more by asking ourselves if there were a top dog among those planes. 

Surprisingly, the answer to that question was often an unequivocal, “Yes!” That surprised us to no end, but the more we reflected upon it, the more we knew it was true. 

So without further ado, we proudly present our list of the Top 25 Planes of All Time. Enjoy! 

Piper PA-18 Super Cub

Piper PA-18 Super Cub
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With the inclusion of the J-3, is the Super Cub repetitive? Hardly. The Piper PA-18 Super Cub is a “version” of the J-3 Cub in the same way that the Cessna 210 Centurion is a “version” of the Cessna 170. Compared to the non-Super Cub, the PA-18 is more powerful, carries a bigger load, is stronger, seats the pilot in the front seat and can be shoehorned into and back out of the roughest runways, or things barely resembling runways. A perennial favorite, the Super Cub has spawned an entire industry of copycats, some of them even better than the original, though saying so in certain parts of the country might cause immediate contention. The Super Cub is one of the prototypical bush planes of Alaska. Its go-anywhere ruggedness, easy repairability and remarkable load-hauling capability make it a capable utility plane that’s cheap to operate and maintain.

Photo via Shutterstock


Do you want more great airplane lists? Take a look at “10 Cheapest Planes In The Sky,” “10 (More) Cheapest Planes In The Sky,” and “8 Great Used Planes.”

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