Oooh favorite topic...I don't have one favorite airplane, many got me into Engineering.
When I was much younger my folks would take trips to India to visit family and we always took British Airways 747 jumbo jets, so that was first.
I'd say from 3rd to 6th grade, I found out about Concorde but I don't remember how I found out. Maybe it was in a book about airplanes in general, but then I also found out about the Soviet competitor to Concorde known as Tupolev Tu-144 and the canceled USA supersonic transport versions, including the giant Boeing 2707
-100 with the swinging-wing. Around then I found out about the SR-71 Blackbird while watching the on tv movie D.A.R.Y.L., first scene where you see the front of the jet, I was screaming like at a pop concert.
By 6th grade into middle school, there was more of a military share due to a visit to the Miramar Airshow and seeing the Blue angels including the displays of B-1 and B-52 bombers, C-5A Galaxy was a favorite not by the raised nose and size, I was drawn to how the main landing gear retracted. It folds like origami. I also discovered the XB-70
(and its landing gear retraction) and X-planes. I got into X-1 (first to go Mach 1), X-15 (piloted rocket-powered airplane to Mach 6), X-29
(swept-forward wing), and X-30 (then-successor to the Space Shuttle, now canceled).
One TV show that PBS had back in the early 90's was a NOVA special called "Fastest Planes in the Sky", it set the tone for my interests. Anyone intersted in engineering and airplanes, even though it is dated, you have to watch that video!
Problem is in finding it. I emailed PBS online and they said they don't make it anymore (not old, just unpopular, they still release others from the same period); there aren't even any torrents (I'm just saying). Though I did find a handful in public libraries, but the closest to me is 2hr drive and VHS only, non-lend (I have to watch it there). I have it on VHS recorded way back, it is just corrupted.
Anyway, while I started drawing airplanes at age eight, most of junior high and high-school that is when I got more serious in making them up, not until college could I back them up. I suppose similar to not being brand loyal with computer hardware, I'm the same way with airplanes, thus I don't have a favorite; I can tell you what inspired me (Concorde and XB-70), but I don't like them more than my own work.
I can tell you I liked F-15 more than F-22, I liked F-14 more than F-117, and I liked YF-23 better than F-22, YF-23 should have won, it was faster, stealthier and and supercruised at a higher speed. In fact I don't like F-22 any more than seeing it in the Transformers movie, I like Air Commander Starscream.
Although, in combats simulators like Jane's ATF, the F-22 is the best choice hands down (get two of each AMRAAM, Sidewinders and GBU-27's). Though I like Su-27 better than F-15 because it just looks better, and I like all Mirage versions are better than EuroFighter (doesn't mean I like Convair F-106, I don't just fancy delta wings). The Rafale I think traces lineage to Mirage (same company), so I like it better too, very smooth design; of course I put Su-37 as better than F-22
. Not into any of China's jets though, also not into F-35, I actually liked the Boeing competitor mainly because it dared to be different. Yeah I saw that PBS Battle of the X-planes, I felt the Lockheed team leader was arrogant and it annoyed me.
F-22 looks like a stealthized F-15, while F-35 is a stealized F-16 with A/V-8B added flavor; it worked out for them with reduced risk, whoop dee do. If Lockheed is able to succeed B-2 then they (like Intel) own majority share which is can lead to abuses and negligence. I understand the convinience and simplicity of sticking with one company, one can contribute the succeess of SouthWest airlines in its all-Boeing 737 fleet. But National Security in US air power should not be seen like a business, I don't want to get political, just my opinion.
I like B-1 better than B-2 or B-52; though if XB-70 wasn't an X it would be better than B-1 hands down. It is the largest, fastest airplane with the most range the United States has ever made-- if it carried passengers it would be better than Concorde. We were so close to having technological superiority; but its engines were louder and had a stronger sonic boom, it fact it was the overland supersonic tests flights with XB-70 conducted over Texas during the early 60's that started the environmental campaign against Concorde a decade later. Best large scale demonstator the USA made killed its own future economy. Like I said in another thread, I see many issues as design challenges, I don't believe in showstoppers. The issue with the sonic boom is the main reason I pursue the subject.
I think its too bad Boeing turned their Sonic Cruiser
into "7E7" and then 787, but that is because there is more money in reduced risk.
Unlike many, I believe there was an Aurora spy plane, the hypersonic successor to SR-71 (imagine a larger piloted X-43), yet cancelled due to budget cuts. I've done a lot of research, especially the engine, and reaction of a former college professor that used to be USAF threatening to fail me for writing a material science paper on Aurora's Inconel structure rather than deny existence was enough evidence for me.
<message edited by lehpron on Friday, June 22, 2012 1:01 PM>