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July 18, 2015

10 Coolest Planes That Have Been Retired

The world of aviation has been one of constant experimentation. Sometimes the coolest models don't takeoff, or are retired in their prime. Here we take a look at ten planes which, for better or worse, have been retired.

1. Lockheed M-21 Blackbird

The now-defunct Lockheed M-21 Blackbird was one of history's greatest flying machines. The spy plane built to support a CIA program in 1963. It was a precursor to the SR-71 Blackbird, which Dan Hagedorn, curator of Seattle's Museum of Flight, describes as "the fastest, highest-flying piloted jet in history."

2. DC-10

The well-known DC-10 took its last flight in 2014, 43 years after it first flew in 1971. The American-made "trijet" was famous for having three engines and was thought to launch modern air travel, and the long-haul flight, as we know it today. When manufacturer McDonnell Douglass was merged into Boeing, production of the popular model ceased.

3. Vought V-173

Known as the "Flying Pancake," the Vought V-173 was designed during World War II to take off on short runways.

4. Hughes H-4 Hercules

This is an exterior view of the H-4 Hercules, or Spruce Goose -- a massive sea plane designed and built by American industrialist, aviator, and film producer Howard Hughes in 1947. Six times larger than any aircraft of its time, the Spruce Goose, also known as the Flying Boat, was built to carry 700 troops. Made entirely of wood (mostly birch), it only flew once. It now sits in the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in Oregon.

5. Fairchild C-82 Packet

Pima Air & Space Museum in Tuscon, Arizona, displays a Fairchild C-82 Packet, a twin-engined cargo aircraft used briefly by the United States Air Force following World War II. The C-82 is perhaps best known for its role in the 1964 film "The Flight of the Phoenix," in which James Stewart flew the plane in Libya.

6. Convair Model 118

Believe it or not, flying cars have been in existence since the '40s. The Convair Model 118 made a test flight in 1947. Alas, the hybrid vehicle never went into production after its one-hour demonstration flight, in which it had a crash landing due to low fuel, destroying the car body.

7. Taylor Aerocar III

In 1968, several Taylor Aerocar III's were built, though Hagedorn says they never really took off in the public eye.

8. Sikorsky R-4

A Church Army canteen worker is seen here handing a cup of tea to the pilot of a Sikorsky R-4 helicopter hovering overhead at an RAF Helicopter School in Andover, England, in 1945. Though not an airplane, the R-4 was the world's first mass-produced helicopter and the first helicopter used by the United States Army Air Forces and the British Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

9. DC-2

The Douglas DC-2 was, according to Hagedorn, "one of the most loved (planes) with the Royal Air Force." The Museum of Flight displays the last air-worthy model of the DC-2.

10. Concorde

The supersonic plane Concorde made its final transatlantic flight in October, 2003. British Airways flight BA001 took three hours and twenty minutes to reach New York from London's Heathrow Airport.

(via CNN)

1 comment:

  1. samuelaugustusjenningsJuly 18, 2015 at 2:40 AM

    I moved to LA in 1959 when I was 14...left in 60 and have been back many times since. I have always loved the glitz and sleaze of Hollywood Boulevard.




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