The 11 Sexiest, Coolest-Looking Cold War Jets

Categories: Whatever

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The F-106: The delta wing in all its glory
Jet aircraft, particularly the fighters, represent a Freudian's play date. Long, slender, blisteringly fast, spewing bullets out the tip and, until recently, powered as much by testosterone as by kerosene (the main ingredient in jet fuel -- what a disappointment). Of course, now that women fly them, and fly them quite well, thank you, this men's club is no longer so exclusive.

Airplane lovers like me all have our favorites, and though most of us won't admit it, those favorites are dictated more by aesthetic considerations -- or, to be more honest about it, by an airplane's sexiness -- as by important things such as performance, fuel efficiency and other boring statistics.

A famed aircraft designer, "Dutch" Kindleburger of North American Aviation, said (and why do these guys always have staccato, manly nicknames like, well, "Dutch," "Buzz" or "Bull"?), "If it looks good, it will fly good." And who are we to quibble with such wisdom from an aviation legend? At no time were airplanes so sexy, so come-hither, so inviting to a man to rub up against her skin, than during the Cold War. Take a look at, say, Lockheed's F-104 Starfighter (even the name was sexy) and compare it to their newest fighter, the F-22A Raptor. I would kick the latter out of bed, frankly.

We began to think about these Cold Warriors of the air, and tried to compile a list based purely on their aesthetic or sex appeal. So let's go. The top 11:

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Michael Anselmo
11. Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
A fighter pilot friend once opined, "If I had a 104, I'd never need pussy." In the manner of male fighter pilots everywhere, in every language, it equates to the horny grunts of a caveman -- i.e., an obscenely powerful and fast airplane equals sex. Period. (Remember, this is the Cold War and we had no female fighter pilots. Right to the sexist point.)

We proved this to our own satisfaction when, taking off in a Starfighter from Ellington, we had the most primal (and embarrassing) Freudian moment while being smashed back into our seat cushion by the Warp Speed acceleration of the Starfighter.

Oh, and it's drop-dead beautiful to boot, and very, very dangerous to fly. The Starfighter does not suffer fools at all, and the Canadians, who flew the 104 for many years, dubbed it "The Aluminum Death Tube." In Germany when it was a NATO favorite, it was said that if you wanted to own your own Starfighter, you bought an acre of land and waited. Of course, the Germans lost more than a thousand of them purely to accidents. Oh, but the sex, the unvarnished, fiery, thundering sex of the thing!


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10. Boeing B-47 Stratojet
Yes, I'm biased because as a small child my father flew these proto-jet bombers. Take a look at it. Every single cargo plane and jet airliner designed to this very day follows the design of the B-47. It's an extremely clean design aerodynamically, avoiding extraneous lumps, bumps and bulges that tend to slow an airplane down. The one word to describe this airplane would be "elegant."

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11 comments
Jim
Jim

Not exactly faster than a speeding bullet or a plane that kept the Evil Empire awake at night, but for screaming in over a peasant village where "progressive elements" were suspected of harboring ill will toward Tio Sam (not to mention United Fruit and Standard Oil) and blasting the little Commie bastards with a variety of bombs,rockets and mini-gun fire you just couldn't beat the incredibly cute little A-37. "Gee, let's take a Cessna trainer and hang a couple of F-5 engines and a bunch of weapons off it before transferring them to the most brutal right-wing dictatorships in the world...."

Welcome back, Mel!

The Dave
The Dave

Blackbird at #7? Really?  Do you just not like brunettes?

Frank
Frank

 Amazing. Thanks. ...Most amazing of all (to me, someone who has never flown any you mentioned) is the Blackbird.  

Mark
Mark

Nice job Rich! Happy 4th!

Hair Balls
Hair Balls

Just to be clear, the post was written by Mel Sharkskin.

reeseman
reeseman

Just realized you DID include the Mirage III - my bad.

reeseman
reeseman

I grew up as an Air Force brat in the 50s and 60s and spent many hours lurking on the edges of runways and attending air shows. Sight identification of overflying jet fighters was considered an essential skill among my friends and schoolmates, and numerous plastic models of fighters hung from our bedroom ceilings. Come to think of it, this might explain the initial conflation of fast jets and sex. The F-100 and F-104 were my favorites.

Why not fill out your list with a little foreign sexiness, specifically French - the Mirage III.

Mike N.
Mike N.

The Hustler has always been one of my favorites, it looks the business, and the name is awesome. Something about it just screams, "America, F*ck Yeah!"  But how can you forget the XB-70 Valkyrie, the most beautiful jet ever made?

bibulb
bibulb

I'll comment on the content later on. For now, let me just note that MEL SHARKSKIN IS BACK. HELL, YEAH.

Tunnel Mole
Tunnel Mole

Sweet roundup! So patriotic....

I'll never forget once being allowed to sit in an F-14 Tomcat (from the USS Nimitz), but my cherry was long gone. Unrelated to that, the F-14s were sold to ...? Iraq? Iran?

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