The “airmail gaze” invokes the sexual politics of the gaze and suggests a sexualised way of looking that empowers AvGeeks and objectifies aeroplanes. In the airmail gaze, the aircraft is visually positioned as an “object” of aerosexual desire. Within this outlook, aircraft types may be reduced to being ranked on desirability alone with no appreciation of their flying qualities or historical importance. To understand the airmail gaze we must first embrace it. So let’s judge aircraft manufacturers through the utterly disgraceful metric of which produced the highest percentage of beautiful aircraft types.
Before we start this reckless meander into beauty fascism let us check how fit the men behind Hawker were. Like most great Britons, Hawker co-founder Harry Hawker wasn’t British – he was Australian – and he sure was ‘beach-ready’. Intense eyes and an athletic build score our Harry a respectable 6.8/10.
The pioneering pilot, racing car driver, motorboat champion and all-around housewives’ favourite, Sir Thomas Sopwith was one hot tamale. There could only be one actor that could play him, Scottish hunk James Mcavoy. All the single ladies and all the single-engined ladies (as Hawker specialised in single-engined aircraft) flocked to form a heteronormative Sopwith Bee-line to meet him. A dainty poetic look scores Thomas an utterly desirable 7/10.
And now we go to the aircraft rankings. We put together a team of the world’s most degenerate aircraft historians, deprived them of sleep and served them bottomless expresso martinis as they made the following controversial decisions. Above 50 is attractive, below unattractive – and 50 is deemed OK. As Hawker had 41 types they did not invoke a penalty for a small number of total types. If you disagree with any of these rankings please support us on Patreon, order The Hush-Kit Book of Warplanes or donate on PayPal (button on the top of this page) before adding your own half-baked opinion in the comments section below.
With an impressive beauty score of 90, the P.V.3 fighter prototype of 1934 was Hawker’s most gorgeous aeroplane, and one of the most beautiful ever built. Note the elegant spatted undercarriage, perfectly balanced form, noble nose and polished metal. This dream machine oozed sex, love and any other kind of appeal you can think of.
The Duiker (rhymes with biker) was Hawker Engineering’s first in-house attempt at an aeroplane and was named for the African duiker antelope. The meat of the duiker contributed to the spread of Ebola, and several types of duiker are on the endangered list- and its aircraft namesake was similarly unfortunate. Directionally unstable at all speeds, slow and dangerously heavy with inappropriately thin wheels and tyres, the aircraft skulked in shame behind an awkward parasol wing. Its high slab fuselage sides were also utterly inelegant.
To modern eyes, the Hurricane may look rather wonderful, but it is neither the sleekiest – nor the meanest-looking World War II fighter. It looks OK. So now to the scoreboard!
Hawker Aircraft Types Ranked by Beauty