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Nachtwulf

What makes the Spitfire such a beautiful aircraft?

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But think of what had happened if it had been 'christened' "Screw" (or was it "Shrew"?), as was the intention--or so I have heard? We have the shape, we have the name, and we have the history. The Mustang is a fine plane, but can hardly compete on all points. It did not have to fight a BoB. When it arrived on the scene, the party was almost over.

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Well if we can't get misty-eyed over a historically important and classically beautiful aircraft, then we should scrap all the old aircraft in museums, stop building models and just glue ourselves to the TV. it's advanced muppetry and borderline trolling to call someone a fool for liking something you don't, as it's a question of taste (exceptions to that rule include Justin Beiber, racism and a few other highly dubious things). Allow someone to hold a differing (harmless) opinion, and we'll all get along a lot better. :shrug:

..and just because we like Spitfires, doesn't mean we don't like Mustangs (once they put a decent engine in it anyway), Heinkels or Gannets. Check out almost anyone's stash if you need proof.

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I think I can say that certain designs are beautiful while others would struggle to be described so and while British to the core I think I can remain objective.

My examples would be

Spitfire

DH Comet boh jet and racer

Supermarine S6 series and the Italian float plane racers

Hawker Fury

Fairly Fox

Concorde

Almost there but just a body curve short

P51 D Mustang (big underslung intake)

Lockheed Starfighter (wing/fuselage proportions)

F86 Sabre (intake in wrong place)

Hawker Hunter (not sure but could fuselage be just too cylindrical?)

HP Victor, Vulcan and Stratojet all nice for big aircraft too

I can't think of any German aircraft designs which look to me as being and looking formidable and purposeful rather than beautiful

The Italians have some lovely lines with the Macchi Folgore series

I don't find the Japanese designs beautiful as even the curvy "Dinah" looks a bit Walt Disney Dumbo to my eyes

So just putting aside performance, history et al the Spit undeniably looks right in all the right places most of the time which makes it a looker

Finally I think you have to remember what designs looked like at the time when the design was first seen. The first Spitfires made a huge impression as something modern and radical

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Ah, the German Me109's landing legs looks comical I think. Never liked that airplane to be honest. :|

Looks like someone was kicked in the knackers and was bow-legged,

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What makes the Spitfire such a beautiful aircraft? It won.

But so did the Fairy Barracuda so I don't fink that works

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There's a difference between what could be called an "aeronautical beauty" and an "art object". An art object has a beauty of its own, regardless of purpose and achievements.

I believe Spitfire and Concorde are indeed "art objects", as even a person with no interest in aviation is likely to say they are beatiful.

As to "aeronatical beauties", everyone has some in his own mind but, in fairness, I might suggest Mirage (that also comes close to the "art object" category, IMHO) has been somewhat forgotten here. IIIC version is my choice.

Claudio

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But so did the Fairy Barracuda so I don't fink that works

I think the Barracuda gets a bad press. Yes on the ground, with its long legs and high wing, and especially when the wings were folded it looked one of the most ungainly things ever. However in the air, it looks a graceful bird. I think the Merlin/Griffin nose lines and big wings had a lot to do with this grace in the air. And remember its first function was to fly not be folded up in a hanger.

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There's nothing bad in some misty eyes and in judging an aircraft for its contribution but if we're judging beauty and beauty alone, what difference does it make if an aircraft is fondly remembered ? To take some more modern types for comparison, the Phantom has IMHO been one of the most important types to fly postwar and everyone would agree that it is one of the best ever combat aircrafts in History. The air combat victory-losses ratio of the Phantom probably makes Spitfires and Mustangs pale and it redefined air combat. Yet I would also rate it as a pretty bad looking aircraft, purposeful and aggressive yes, but elegant ? The A-5 Vigilante on the other hand was a failed bomber that found its niche in recce (where to be fair it did the job pretty well). Most have probably already forgotten this type but when it comes to a beauty context it would win hands down against the Phantom.

Sure, the Spitfire won, but was it the only winner of WW2 ? If we go by this logic then we should probably rate the Il-2 as the best looking aircraft of that era but I'm pretty sure not many would agree (I don't either, the Ilyushin IMHO was not as bad looking as say the Bf-109E but wasn't really a beauty).

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GiorgioN, I believe that you underestimate human imagination. The Spitfire was beautiful because everything went together in human imagination, the lines of the aircraft itself, the people that flew it, its combat history. It became a symbol of freedom to conquered people in Europe. No other plane embodied all these virtues. Just look at the fate of the Hurricane. Although just as succesful in the BoB, it never came close in peoples' imagination as the symbol of resistance. Life is not fair but I believe that everybody who saw the Spitfire in the sky would recognize it at once and shout Spitfire! (thos amazing wings!). It was not without reason that Galland asked for a squadron of Spitfires, not Hurricanes, although he at the time considered the Bf 109 a better fighting machine (acc. to his memoirs).

When it came to numbers produced, the Sturmovik is of course no. 1, followed perhaps by the Bf 109. When it came to success, nothing probably beats the Sturmovik. Still, few people except the addicinados have any idea of how the Sturmovik looked like, what it did, and how important it was. When it comes to fame, the only contenders to the Spitfire are the Bf 109 and the Mustang.

Of course someone way want to introduce the Me 262, perfect lines, much advanced design, yes but not the same symbolic status, perhaps except as a proof of German failure.

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...but if we're judging beauty and beauty alone, what difference does it make if an aircraft is fondly remembered ?

Because it is very hard to separate "objective sculptural beauty" from other, possibly subconscious, associations. Some don't even try, or perhaps did not interpret the question in that way to begin with. Especially if you're a misty-eyed Englishman. :devil:

However, doing my best to set aside any other considerations, I do firmly believe that the Spitfire is among the most "beautiful" aircraft designs ever. (see previous answer)

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The Spitfire bug first bit me in 1962, when I built my very first Airfix model of the Mk. IX, Johnny Johnson's mount. Plain and simple, it is a stunningly romantic and beautiful aircraft, with a killer instinct. Much like some women I have known. :)

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I have no idea what it is, but pictures like this just say it all.

Spitfire%20XIV_zpsupsyggtv.jpg

Justin

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^^^^ F XIVc; possibly a 21, but the cannon look more like the c-wing.

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Do you find Sofia Loren a real beauty.....???

I don't wonder about it.....I just admire her and her "overall shape"......

And the same goes for the Spitfire, Sirs....

Cheers.....

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^^^^ F XIVc; possibly a 21, but the cannon look more like the c-wing.

Mike - I think it's one of a series of shots of Jeffrey Quill flying RB140, the first production F XIV. In his book Quill says the photos were taken from the side door of an Anson, with Supermarine test pilot colleague Frank Furlong driving. He said "the main problem was to avoid a collision". Fun times I'll bet...

Justin

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It was a weapon, and we (humans that is) have always found beauty and meaning and symbolism in our weapons.

The Spitfire is the rapier, slender and with lines that seem to speak of refinement, and in turn is associated with the gentleman who would use that weapon to kill with the pinpoint thrust of one who wishes not to cause suffering but to dispatch his foe with the minimum of pain, and perhaps a regretfull sigh and aside to his companions about the soul weighing heavy etc.

But the Hurricane (and to a much greater extent the Typhoon and P-47) were the broadsword, the weapon of the more brutish, which were used to savagely dismember the foe, perhaps with a dark laugh of glee and snort of derision for the vanquished.

The fact that both weapons were used by all sorts in the cause of both the righteous and the base is irrelevant now. It is our perception of the events, the people, and yes the aesthetics, that make beautiful or not.

I like the look of the Spitfire, and it is indeed a beautiful aircraft.

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Plain and simple, it is a stunningly romantic and beautiful aircraft, with a killer instinct. Much like some women I have known. :)

That would have been MrsG #3. Elegant curves, long legs and as dangerous as any thing you'd want to go up against.

Hmm, seems I have described the Spitfire as well.

Remember I'm an American. No misty eyed nostalgia here. Just pure and simple lust for what I have always thought of as a beautiful airplane.

G

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That would have been MrsG #3. Elegant curves, long legs and as dangerous as any thing you'd want to go up against.

Hmm, seems I have described the Spitfire as well.

Remember I'm an American. No misty eyed nostalgia here. Just pure and simple lust for what I have always thought of as a beautiful airplane.

G

I do not think that the MiG 3 was in the same league, not even closely. Messerschmidt futter, although beautiful lines. You should rather go for the Macchi Folgore, and late generation Italian planes. With German motors.

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He said "Mrs. G Number 3", not "MiG-3". Though I've always thought that the MiG-3 looked like a Cleveland Air Racer. Certainly not with the elegance of the Spit, though.

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