Skip to comments.The Five Worst Fighter Aircraft of All Time
Posted on 01/11/2014 8:25:52 AM PST by Sir Napsalot
Over the last century of military aviation, several fighters have earned the nickname flying coffin. Military aviation inherently pushes up against the limits of technology and human endurance, particularly where fighter and pursuit aviation is concerned. Flying a fighter is remarkably dangerous, even when no one is trying to shoot you down.
Engineering a capable fighter plane is also a struggle. Relatively small changes in engine, armament, and airframe design can transform a clunker into an elite fighting machine; many of the best fighters in history were initially viewed askance by their pilots. But elite status rarely lasts for long, especially in World War I and World War II. Fighters that dominated the sky in one year become flying coffins as technology and tactics move forward.
And thus the difference between a great fighter and a terrible fighter can be remarkably small. As with the previous list, the critical work is in determining the criteria. Fighters are national strategic assets, and must be evaluated as such:
· Did this aircraft fail at the tactical tasks that it was given? Did it perform poorly against its direct contemporaries?
· Did the fighter show up, or was it in the hangar when it was needed? Was it more of a danger to its pilots than to enemy fighters?
· Did it represent a misappropriation of national assets?
So what are the worst fighter aircraft of all time? For these purposes, well be concentrating on fighters that enjoyed production runs of 500 or more aircraft (listed in parentheses); curiosities such as the XF-84H Thunderscreech need not apply.
(Click through the pages for the *top* 5 list)
(Excerpt) Read more at nationalinterest.org ...
Sorry, the date of the article should have been 1-11-2014!
Glad they mentioned the F-35 at the end.
I trust Pierre Sprey on this:
The article was way to long and not well enough written to keep me reading. I didn’t even see a one though five listing.
Wrong! The author can't even copy-paste material from a reliable source.
Bumping this for later and more detailed response. The guy is full of sh!t on multiple levels in both facts and analysis.
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter earned the unofficial name of “post hole digger” I think in Germany....the story goes the pilots sometimes would auger straight into the ground. IIRC, the problem actually was an on-board oxygen supply system depot level where the oxygen generation systems for supply tanks were located near the exhaust of some other combustion source. Tainted oxygen causing the pilots to black out.
Also, one of the first fighters I can recall that had a thrust-to-weight ratio of greater than 1. Could climb like a bullet....
Thanks for the post. Although I think most of the century series were to combat Russian bombers more than to engage in fighter-on-fighter combat
However I would list the Zero as the first which became the worst. The lack of armor, self sealing tanks and some with out radios made them into flying bombs that needed only a few hits to make them explode.
Didn’t George W. Bush fly one of the Century series fighters during his term of service with the Air National Guard?
Either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. Sometimes impossible to distinguish between the two, so maybe the same thing.
A flying stovepipe with wings. And that series was not even particularly automated.
That’s a smart guy.
He flew the F102, and it’s doubtful he did so out of choice. It was the plane the USAF assigned to the Texas ANG to fulfill the role of intercepting Soviet bombers based in Cuba. Anything less than a skilled (and lucky) pilot flying a super sonic stiletto with stubby delta wings would not last long, much less for 500 plus flying hours.
I once heard a Phantom jockey declare that that aircraft was “living proof that with a big enough engine, you can make a piano fly.”
The F111 was a good plane after the bugs were worked out. The Aussies just retired the last of theirs last year.
The F4 as a Dishonorable mention? This guy had rocks in his head. It was a great plane and did a lot of countries well.
Really? Phantom in dishonorable mention?
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