“Whattt ? Things will fly ? We can fly ? Ohh common, give me a break! You’re crazy”, said people, to two bicycle mechanics – Orville & Wilbur Wright who first dared to challenge gravity. And yes, they won, they zipped up people’s lips! It’s been more than a century since the first airplane – Flyer took off & flew at speed of just 11 kmph. In a span of 100+ years, the numbers have got multiplied by factor of 1000’s ! These are the aerial vehicles which have taken engineering at a whole new level; they are not normal, each one is beyond limits. So lets worship the top 10 wonders of the aviation world!
The Top 10 Wonders of the Aviation World are –
10. Antonov An-225 Mriya
The Antonov An-225 Mriya is a cargo aircraft that was designed by the Soviet Union’s Antonov Design Bureau in the 1980’S.
The An-25-225’s name, Mriya means “Dream”(inspiration) in Ukrainian. It is powered by six turbofan engines and is the longest and heaviest airplane ever built with a maximum takeoff weight of 640 tons. The Antonov An-225 was initially developed for transporting the Buran space shuttle.
Length – 84 m
Wingspan – 88.4 m
Height – 18.1 m
The airlifter holds the absolute world records for an airlifted single item payload of 189,980 kgs !
9. Apache AH-64
The Boeing Apache AH-64 is a four blade, twin turboshaft attack helicopter with a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. It is armed with a 30 mm M230 chain gun, AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods.
One of the revolutionary features of the Apache was its helmet mounted display. The pilot or gunner could integrate two systems such that the gun could track head movements to point where they look !
Max speed – 295 km/hr
Range – 476 km
Max takeoff weight – 10,500 kg
8. Airbus A380
Airbus A380 is a double deck jet airliner built by European company called Airbus. It is powered by 4 mighty turbofan engines which gives it a cruising speed of 900 km/hr(Mach 0.85).
It is the biggest commercial airplane ever built !
As of January 2017, Airbus had received 317 firm orders and delivered 207 aircraft; Emirates is the biggest A380 customer with 142 ordered of which 92 have been delivered.
Max speed – Mach 0.95 (1020 km/hr)
Range – 15,700 km
First flight – 27 April 2005
Passenger capacity – 525 people in a typical three-class configuration/853 people in an all-economy class configuration.
7. Boeing CH-47 Chinook
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is a tandem rotor heavy lifting helicopter primarily used for artillery placement & troop movement. The 2 huge rotors is what helps the helicopter to carry heavy loads. It is a laborious work for the pilot to drive a helicopter because of the 2 rotor tandem systems unlike other helicopters. The CH-47 is among the heaviest lifting Western helicopters. Its name is from the Native American Chinook people.
Max speed – 315 km/h
Range – 741 km
First flight – 21 September 1961
Max takeoff weight – 23,000 kg
It has been more than 50 years when the first Chinook took flight yet they’re in service even today !
6. Rutan Voyager
The Rutan Model 76 Voyager was the 1st aircraft which flew around the world without stopping & refuelling ! The airplane was designed by Burt Rutan & the initial idea was sketched out on a knapkin !
Piloted by Dick Rutan(brother of Burt) & Jeana Yeager, the aircraft completed its 42,000 km journey in 9 days, 3 minutes and 44 seconds !
Max speed – 196 km/hr
First flight – 22nd June 1984
Range – 42,212 km
Gross weight – 4400 kg
5. V-22 Osprey
Is it a helicopter ? or is it an airplane ? maybe BOTH ! Bell Boeing’s V-22 Osprey is an extraordinary multi-mission tilt rotor craft which takes off & lands vertically like a helicopter & flys like an airplane !
For taking off, the nacelle is first kept perpendicular & then slowly tilted forward so it moves forward too ! The rotorcraft is designed in such a way that it is able to fold both the wings, tilt its nacelle as well as re-position the blades to increase its compactness !
Max speed – 509 km/hr
Range – 1627 km
First flight – 19 March 1989
Being a HeliPlane 😛 & having such compactness this machine truly deserves to be at No. 5 !
4. A-10 Thunderbolt II
The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is a single-seat is a twin seat, twin turbofan close air support(CAS) aircraft. Commonly referred as A-10 OR Warthog OR Hog, is the only aircraft which was solely designed for CAS. A-10 entered into in 1976 & is still serving USAF ! As it is CAS aircraft, it had to be made more durable, more resistant to damage. For this, the company built the airframe measuring 1200 kg of titanium armour enabling it to withstand huge amount of damage & continue flying.
The A-10’s weapon is what it makes so deadly ! The Warthog has got a 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon coming out of its nose. Now this lethal weapon weighing almost 2 tons & 1.3 m long has a firing a rate of 4200 RPM ? ! Well, it might sound like Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…. damn, I can’t even imagine that rate !
Max speed – 710 km/hr(at sea level)
First flight – 10 May 1972
Firing rate – 4200 rounds per minute
The “Don’t mess with me” look on the A-10’s because of their nose art makes them the “Angry birds of the skies” & tops number 4 in our list !
Get ready for the jaw-dropping beauties !
“Concorde” meaning harmony OR union is a British-French supersonic passenger jet airliner & is a symbol representing the co-operation between both the countries. It was powered by two turbojet engines & had maximum speed of 2180 km/hr. The aircraft had a carrying capacity of 92-127 passengers. British Airways & Air France were the primary users of this airplane.
It is one of only two supersonic transports to have been operated commercially; the other is the Soviet-built Tupolev Tu-144, which was operated for a much shorter period. On Feb 7, 1996, Concorde completed its London-New York journey in 2 hours, 53 min & 59 seconds ! The engineers had to face innumerous problems related to heating of the aircraft, structural issues & the drooping nose of airliner ! After all this, this aircraft served it’s purpose for 27 years & so it truly deserves to be at #3 the list !
Max speed – Mach 2.04(1,354 mph or 2,180 km/h
No. built – 20 (inc. 6 non-commercial aircraft)
Length – 61.6 metres
First flight – 2 March 1969
2. B-2 Spirit
“hol..y plane!” – my reaction when I saw it for the first time ! I was like- whattt.. is it a flat plate? So, B-2 Spirit aka. Stealth bomber is an American strategic bomber featuring stealth technology(almost undetectable by radar) made by Northrop Grumman(Northrop Corporation).
The aircraft is not detectable by radar, except when the bomb bay opens to drop thermal & nuclear bombs.
In 2008, an aircraft was crashed just after taking off, which leaves the other 20 in service & USAF plans to operate all B-2’s until 2058.
The total program cost including development, engineering and testing, averaged $2.1 billion per aircraft in 1997 😮
Max speed – Mach 0.95(1010 km/hr)
Range – 11,000 km
No. built – 21
First flight – 17 July 1989
Max payload – 23,000 kg
1. SR-71 Blackbird
& here SHE comes… The Black Lady ! This one is just magical !
The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” was a strategic long range reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force.
A total of 32 aircraft were built; 12 were lost in accidents and none lost to enemy action. The SR-71 has several nick names including Blackbird, Habu & The Black lady.
The Blackbird was powered by 2 Pratt & Whitney J58 turbo-ramjet engines; the engine itself is a combination of 2 engines – turbojet & ramjet. The turbojet was used during low speeds & ramjet was efficient & had to be used for achieving higher speeds ! Even to start the engines of the aircraft, you needed two V8 internal combustion engines bringing the RPM to 3200 so that the turbojet could self sustain !
This masterpiece still holds 2 world records (manned, turbojet powered & sustained flight)-
- Air-speed record – 3529.6 km/hr !!! (now that’s around 1 km/sec)
- Altitude record – 85,000 feet !!! (at this height, you start to see the space)
The camera on SR-71 was so advanced & so ahead of its time that when it took a picture of a car 80,000 feet below it, the license plate was clearly visible !
The aircraft retired in 1999 & no missile could hit the airplane even a single time in period of 30 years !
Max speed – 3529.6 km/hr (official)
First flight – 22 December 1964
Range – 5400 km
This aircraft is indeed the queen of all the flying machines out there ! “The Blacklady” is truly a Goddess of speed & beauty and without even a single doubt she deserves to be at #1 in our list !
I just hope I could at least say a “hello” to her in coming future 🙂 !
You might like – Top 10 Biggest Machines in the World !
So this is it… our list ends here & it was really difficult for me to assign them their positions. And I know there are many of them out there but how could I fit them all 🙁 ? So which one is your favorite amongst these ? Comment down below because I would love to hear from you ! 😉