The 11 Sexiest, Coolest-Looking Cold War Jets
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.
The F-106: The delta wing in all its glory
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:
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!
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."