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The World’s Most Beautiful Airplanes
By Stephan Wilkinson
The old saw that “if it looks right, it’ll fly right” applies in spades to this dazzling dozen.

Clippers to the Rescue
By Eric Niderost
Giant flying boats delivered vitally needed men and materiel around the globe during World War II.

The Sentinel of Verdun
By Don Hollway
French World War I ace Jean Navarre lived fast, fought hard and died young.

Angel of Death
By Dan Hampton
An F-16 Wild Weasel pilot describes his harrowing close air support mission to save a group of Marines under attack in southern Iraq.

Balkan Top Gun
By Derek O’Connor
South African Pat Pattle may have been the RAF’s top WWII ace, but he was more concerned with his pilots’ safety than his own score.

“Messerschmitt Killer”
By Walter J. Boyne
A handful of obsolete Curtiss O-52 Owl observation planes soared into combat in Soviet service, with surprising results.




By E.R. Johnson
The Spencer Air Car has inspired generations of amphibian fans.

By Dick Smith
A B-29 trainer finds a home at the Strategic Air and Space Museum.


By Jon Guttman
Jean Marie Coutelle’s gas balloon took generals above the fray.


Letter From Aviation History


Flight Test
By Jon Guttman

Aero Poster



Our picks for the top-12 most beautiful airplanes (P.22) are bound to elicit opinions, both pro and con. What airborne beauties did we overlook? What’s your all-time favorite beautiful aircraft? Click here to share your comments.