Hush-Kit Top Ten: The ten best-looking French aircraft
Bonjour. As we all (should) know, the first people to fly were French; Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes popped aloft in 1783. On completing the world’s first flight by humans, they drank champagne, and were soon forgotten by the non-French world. To this day France continues to be a nation that’s good at building flying machines. Whereas Britain was great at piston-engined aircraft and crap at jets, France was the opposite and only really came into its own in the 1950s.
Today, France is one of only two European nations that build indigenous high performance aircraft (the other is Sweden). Let’s take two minutes to look at some of the extraordinarily beautiful aeroplanes that France has made.
If you enjoy this, have a look at the top ten British, Australian, Soviet and German aeroplanes. Wanting Something a little more exotic? Try the top ten fictional aircraft.
10. Breguet 1001 Taon
9. Dassault-Breguet Mystère 20
8. Dassault Rafale
7. Sud-Ouest SO.8000 Narval6. SNCASE SE.161 Languedoc
5. Dassault Mirage 4000
3. Sud Aviation Caravelle
2. Dassault Mirage 2000
1. Dassault Mirage IV
If you enjoyed this, have a look at the top ten British, French, Swedish, Australian, Soviet and German aeroplanes. Wanting Something a little more exotic? Try the top ten fictional aircraft.
Yes, it’s right. The Mirage IV would top a list of best-looking aircraft of any origin and generation. If the delta makes for the ‘perfect’ aircraft look, then the MIV is the perfect delta (Convair never got it quite right, and the Vulcan was spoiled as soon as the wing got a kink in it…)
Ugly French aircraft on the other hand… where to start?
Oh, and the ‘looker’ who opens this article, together with Air France Caravelle III Champage (F-JTQ), is, ironically enough, British, of course.
There was some slack spelling there as I was holding a baby. Caravelle III ‘Champagne’ was F-BJTQ.
Concorde will be in top ten for International aircraft
However, Britain has not been rubbish at building good jets. For every successful French type, there’s at least 2 British ones.
Ie: Meteor, Vampire, Venom, Swift, Javelin, Hunter, Harrier, Buccaneer, Nimrod, Lightning, Canberra, Comet, Vulcan, Victor, VC10, TSR2 (never saw service, but the prototypes were fantastic), Trident.
The most beautiful jet of all is an Anglo-French design though – the Concord.
French miltary design seemed to lag pre WWII, but British aviation relied heavily on France in WWI. Post WWII many nations built good and bad jets – many based on German technology, but yes, I think it unfair to say Britain (necessarily) was ‘…crap at jets…’ The Caravelle had a cockpit licenced straight off the Comet, which is itself reputed to be based on the Constellation. The Tu-4 was a copy of the B-29 (cf. ‘Concordski)’, etc. etc. Aviation is an international business.
How could the Mirage F.1 not be on this list!? Easily tied with the Mirage IV for best looking Mirage family member.
Missing the Super Etendar in this list. Beautiful plan and still respectable this days
IMO, Rafale’s the best looking French aircraft to date. 🙂
‘…France is one of only two European nations that build indigenous high performance aircraft…’ In that case, perhaps it’s time we started buying some rather than American when we finally can’t make any new types of our own after Typhoon and Hawk go out of production? Oh – hang on! We’re no longer Europeans and we’ll probably need World Trade Organisation (WTO) trade rules. So, it’s an open world and perhaps we should consider Russian or Chinese kit too – for our decreasing needs? 😦
Personally, I would add the Vautour – now that looks like a decent strike aircraft.