Some aircraft are fearsome in appearance, others sexy and some utterly grotesque. Others elicit a more unlikely response from the observer, the desire to protect. Armed only with a teddybear and tiptoeing so as not to wake them we went in search of the 10 cutest aircraft.
Perceiving some animals as ‘cute’ is probably a byproduct of our own maternal and parental instincts, as we tend to see cuteness in animals that resemble human babies. This isn’t even limited to animals – we even see cuteness in machines. When an aeroplane is anthropomorphised its canopy is seen as an eye or face, its nose as a nose and its general proportions are compared to human physiques. Let’s meet the world’s cutest aircraft..
Despite being the most formidable fighter aircraft in the world in 1946, and enjoying a deliciously sinister name, the Vampire could inspire lactation in a three mile radius. Its cute tadpole-like shape, pudgy nose and dimensions tiny enough to be looked down on by a jockey give an utterly false impression of a red-blooded killer.
Nothing in the universe is less cute as an idea than a Soviet battlefield assault aircraft, yet weirdly the Yak-14 glider, which is just such a thing, is adorable. Perhaps it’s the oversized humped cockpit section or the clumsy high sides but we’re desperate to clean that chocolate off its little face and put a plaster on its hurty knee.
Curves of some kind are essential for a cute aeroplane and the Optica, Britain’s answer to the unasked question ‘What if we pretended helicopters hadn’t been invented?’, has some darling little curves. The Edgley Optica was probably the most important aircraft in history not to have contributed anything to history. Its cute credentials are somewhat marred by its butch, distinctly agricultural, tail (as with the author).
The Antonov An-14 was created by the Soviet Union in an attempt to make the West so brainlessly broody it would renounce capitalism and liberate the proletariat. This didn’t work but the An-14 ‘little bee’ did succeed in winning our hearts. Who’s a good little Antonov? You’re a good little Antonov.
Stits SA-2A Sky Baby
If ownership of a large vehicle belies a smaller penis, then engineer Ray Stits (above) must have been hung like a fucking Blue Steel Vulcan. The minute Sky Baby was surprisingly fast, clocking a somewhat alarming 185mph.
The GAF Pika was Australia’s daring attempt to see if ‘cute’ could combined with ‘cool’. The result was just cute and Australia gave up the experiment.
Orlican M-2 Skaut
Czechoslovakia spent its brief existence resenting the Soviet Union and making exceptionally cute flying machines, like mummy’s favourite, the M-2 Skaut.
I don’t want to go into space, I want to sit in a high chair and drink apple juice.
Starr Bumblebee II
So cute was the Starr Bumblebee II that was entirely held aloft by aunties pinching its little chubby cheeks.
It is not unusual for owners of the French homebuilt Cri-Cri aircraft to keep a one-way baby alarm in the hangar to check if it wakes in the night crying out for oil, fuel or a cuddle. The world’s smallest twin-engined manned aircraft is utterly adorable.
Aero HC-2 Heli Baby
The first and the only Czechoslovakian-designed helicopter to be produced, the HC-2’s engine vibrated at a frequency that caused involuntary ovulation.
According to the Czech proverb ‘Baked pigeons don’t fly into your mouth’ (Pečení holubi nelítají do huby) – indeed they don’t.
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This article was suggested by Hush-Kit patron Chris Williams.