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Customer Discussions > History forum

Most Dominant Aircraft In History

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Showing 1-25 of 220 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 27, 2012 10:10:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 27, 2012 11:51:22 AM PDT
I am interested in escaping some of the hostility of some these threads so I will ask a simple question.

What do you think has been the most dominant aircraft in history?

Interestingly, the United States has produced some super challengers.

Of course the formidable P-51 comes to mind with a 6:1 kill to loss ratio against some very good pilots in some pretty good planes.

Another candidate that comes to mind is the Hellcat with a 19:1 kill ratio against the Japanese. One suspects it would not have fared so well against the Germans. Maybe Andre can give a deeper analysis.

There is the dangerous ME-262 which also had a about a 6:1 kill ratio against some pretty wicked allied air superiority. Made more compelling by the fact that the majority of the 262's being downed on landing. But it was such a radical departure in technology, one wonders whether the comparison is fair. Anyway, legit contender.

To me, one I am not sure about is the HE-219. It is a different bird. But I am unsure of the kill ratio. The pilot anecdotes on either side of the fence indicate that this was a dangerous machine. It's chief rival the Mosquito was clearly outclassed. But the numbers are uncertain for me.

But to me, the real winner in this "dogfight" (excuse the pun) is hands down, the F-15. 104-0. Unmatched. The real deal is that although its speed and dogfight abilities are tough to beat (and there are some Soviet birds that can do it) the avionics suite is absolutely unmatched. They only play it at full strength in the real deal. In the mock combats it still does pretty well. Plus they have modified this baby to do god knows what. Then there is the experimental versions that can do ... Not bad for a mid-70's design.

Lets keep all the next gen aircraft out (F-22 etc.) because no one really knows what they can do.

So my vote is the F-15.

Other contenders, ME-109, FW-190, Spitfire, Fokker D.VII, P-47, Su-27 ...

Let's hear more opinions. This one oughta' be fun.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 27, 2012 8:41:15 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 27, 2012 9:02:33 PM PDT]

Posted on Jul 27, 2012 9:04:56 PM PDT
p40 did a good job

Posted on Jul 27, 2012 9:54:41 PM PDT
patrick says:
I guess the Zero and Bf109 were close to domination both for early periods..nothing in the Pacific could match the Zero pilots 1:1, and Bf109 got air superiority during the Blitzkrieg..even in the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire was only really a strong challenger to the Bf109s dominance of the single-seat combat..

in WW1, well, they say first the Fokker E1 in actual mediocre aircraft whose dominance was ended by the DH2 and early Nieuport and Pup?? fighters...
then the Albatross in 1916-1917, dont they?

Maybe the Israeli Mirage III then F15/F16 in Middle-east combat 1960s-1980s..

Posted on Jul 27, 2012 9:57:38 PM PDT
Bruce Alpine says:
This would undoubtedly belong to the British Supermarine Spitfire, across all theatres of World war II. The Spitfire achieved a 10:1 kill ratio against the German Luffewaffe and a 6:1 kill ratio against the japanese in the pacific theatre of war.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 4:16:40 AM PDT
R. Largess says:
How about the Sea Harrier at the Falklands? It achieved most of the British aircraft kills (versus missiles and AA) and these against much higher performance jets, including Mirages.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 6:22:28 AM PDT
Allan says:
Why stick with fighters?

What can match the Lancaster?

Posted on Jul 28, 2012 6:25:23 AM PDT
then it is the latest UAV

death from above anywhere
with no loss of humans if they get shot down
dirt cheap compared to regular fighters or bombers with pilots and crew
new stealth and high flying ability makes them unstoppable

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 10:21:42 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 11:21:04 AM PDT

Good point, if we expand to bombers which, to be frank, do not establish air dominance, lots of planes match and exceed the Lancaster. Among contemporaries, the B-24 and B-17 did a much tougher job against a much more developed opponent. Although over time the night skies over Germany became quite deadly (e.g., Nuremberg, March '44).

But even among contemporaries it was outclassed and dwarfed by it's great contemporary, the B-29. Nothing in that era even comes close.

But among bombers, among all eras, there really is only one. The B-52.

Although the F-117 and B-2 are interesting newer developments.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 10:26:17 AM PDT


nothing is unstoppable. They have never been tried against a real enemy and this the statement is as unsupportable as it is bold. They are relatively easy to track and are dreadfully vulnerable to jamming and interference. If they were taht dominant, the piloted plane would have long ago been dead. It isn't. A pack of 12 SU-27 could take down 80 of them in 10 minutes.

What do you know about modern aviation horse? It really begs the question.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 10:27:29 AM PDT
a heck of a lot more than you
and that was a wussie insult

try again
you will feel better

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 10:30:35 AM PDT

The Harrier, that is one that I would not have thought of good call. But I think against real aviation, it may perform poorly. But a good mention.

What plane has proved more dominant than the F-15?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 11:34:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 11:35:38 AM PDT

"a heck of a lot more than you "

Read the following, and then try again on that answer.

"dirt cheap compared to regular fighters or bombers with pilots and crew new stealth and high flying ability makes them unstoppable"

Cheap, possibly. Payload, next to nothing.
Range, short, except for the recon birds.
Susceptibility to countermeasures, high.
Ability to challenge air dominance, none.
High flying ability ... what ability would that be?
Stealth? I of course now understand that you know very little about this technology. Do you know what a phased array radar system is?


I'll say it again, nothing is unstoppable. And yes it does beg the question. Support your statement. Every other meaningful post on this board has. Look at patrick and Largess' posts.

UAV's area great idea, but they have some serious limitations and are not likely to surpass manned aircraft in capability for at least 50 years. This isn't my opinion, it is the opinion of the aerospace industry. You know guys lick, Lockheed, Northrup-Grumman, GA, AeroVironment, start reading the trades dude.

Your depth of analysis ... bores me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 11:36:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 11:45:31 AM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
What about B-29, B-47 and B-52 !!! When it comes to bombers, Boeing takes the cake!

The Lancaster had some impressive specs, all of them able to carry a few 5000 lb bombs up to a total of 18,000 to 22,000 lbs and some configured to carry a 12,000 pounder, before the B-29 entered service in June 1944.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 11:48:43 AM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
The Harrier is pretty much a 'niche' fighter.

The thirty-six British Harriers deployed with the Falklands task force shot down 31 Argentine aircraft with no air-to-air losses themselves, but they were armed with the latest AIM-9L Sidewinders while the Argentine Mirage III and A4 Skyhawks were flying as strike aircraft without the missiles, Ground Control or fuel reserve to be effective in the fighter role.

Superior Harrier maneuverability, radar and pilot training May also have accounted for the appearance of Mirage IIIs configured for air to air combat avoiding action.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 12:51:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2012 2:08:41 PM PDT

Without question. The B-47 had its problems, but in the Lancaster era, the B-29 stands with peer. Nor is anything really even close. But, as for Boeing, there are people that will not fly in anything else. As you say, excellent aircraft.

As for the Harrier ... I wonder. I have always had the suspicion that a truly effective VTOL aircraft would replace all others. Especially in the Navy. You know, 8-12 VTOL's that could operate from a frigate in a TF of 8-10 frigates would replace the long decks. But it hasn't come to pass.

The UK pilots did their forefathers quite proud I think. My hat goes off to the excellent job they did.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 1:44:33 PM PDT
you bore me more
so you are on ignore

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:07:57 PM PDT

Bye, bye.

Start reading a couple of pubs:

1) American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Journal

2) the I triple e, IEEE, look under the radar systems papers. Fascinating stuff if you can follow it.

But the really good stuff is classified.

But it should help you understand what low observable technologies can and cannot do and what UAV's can and cannot do. Something of which you are apparently unaware. There is only so much you can learn watching the news.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:10:25 PM PDT
briefcandle says:
re harrier-
I think you bring up the valid point that a fighter may or may not be arguably the best in the world but must be considered in it's niche. The harrier does win as the dominant fighter of the faklands war, but give sidewinder L some credit.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:15:24 PM PDT
briefcandle says:
B29 wasthe parexcellence bomber of WWII, even if you don't consider the nuclear role. Also consider it's notional competitor the B32, which was a dud. But it cost three times, or more, as much as other bombers, and as lemay flew the missions he did not take advantage ( or disadvantage) of flying at altitude.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:16:33 PM PDT
R. Largess says:
You pay a high cost in performance and range for V/STOL - always. It's also mechanically complex, and hard to make it work, enough so that I would say the Harrier remains the only good V/STOL fighter ever to appear - so far. FG is right, they had better avionics, super maneuverability, a much superior version of the Sidewinder, and super pilots. But they were only 36 subsonic planes against a huge air force of rugged, reliable, fast A-4's and supersonic Mirage III's, flown by professional and courageous pilots. Who could have predicted they'd survive? Lucky for them, the area of engagement was right at the limits of the Argentines' effective range. The Mirages could reach it at high altitude, but when they got there they had no fuel reserve for supersonic speeds or low-altitude maneuvering; they often had no choice but to forgo attacking when they encountered Harriers below them. Meanwhile, in spite of their limited range, the Harriers were operating from nearby carriers. Well, that's the advantage of carrier air; if land-based tactical air can reach the target at all, it often doesn't have the fuel to stay there long. Note the Harriers took a serious toll of Argentine aircraft, far better than British missiles, some of which were very advanced. And without AEW support, they couldn't intercept the Super Etendards.

Posted on Jul 28, 2012 2:17:00 PM PDT

It always my understanding that the Zero was a better plane than the F-4F Wildcat, but not greatly so and the Wildcat pilots held there own and in fact killed more Zekes that were down by them. So I wouldn't say that the Zero was ever a dominant plane, like, say the F6F.

The 109 always had a nearly equal competitor like the Spit. I would say that FW 190 was the more formidable it greased a lot of Spitfire and was never eclipsed by the Spit. All three were excellent aircraft, but none just flat out blew the competitors away (arguably the P-51 never did either with the FW190D proving a very capable challenger as well).

Posted on Jul 28, 2012 2:22:23 PM PDT
Perhaps it isn't such a great thread after all. Every plane is dominant ... until the next one. The only one that really stands out is the F-15 which still out-performs anything in the USAF inventory (with exception of the F-22) despite being nearly 40 years old. One wonders about the SU-27 et seq. and the MiG-31 et seq. But who knows. 37 years without a loss is pretty good. Until the next one

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 2:59:46 PM PDT
Allan says:
I was thinking, too, of Barnes Wallis's Dam Buster bombs used on the Moehne and Esser dams, and the 22,000lb Grand Slam designed for targets such as the 30 ft thick reinforced concrete ceilings of the submarine pens at Huuge, and Brest.

Maybe it's just how one defines dominant?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2012 4:07:35 PM PDT
John M. Lane says:
If we're adding bombers, I'd include the B-52. Join the Air Force and fly the bomber your Grand Dad flew.
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Discussion in:  History forum
Participants:  28
Total posts:  220
Initial post:  Jul 27, 2012
Latest post:  Sep 4, 2012

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