The Scopophiliac’s Guide to Aircraft Manufacturers. Part 1: Hawker aircraft ranked by beauty

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.

Most Beautiful

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 Sabre Fury (though an impressive 81/100 if judged in its own right) was judged as a sub-type of the Fury. This was a heartbreaking, but necessary, decision to avoid the vast complexity of judging each re-engined type in its own right. Different engine options are factored into the overall score a type receives. (BAE Systems)
Though somewhat underwhelming in flight (too quiet and small) the Sea Hawk is extremely beautiful. The gorgeous uncluttered form is a combination of simple smooth lines and curves.

Most ugly

Hawker Duiker

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.

The rancid Hotspur complete with Art Deco R2D2.


50/100 Mr Average

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

Aircraft type Beauty score out of 100
41. Hawker Duiker 1923 prototype23
40. Hawker Hornbill 192524
39. Hawker Danecock 1925 24
38. Hawker Hotspur 1938 25
37. Hawker P.1127 1960 prototype 43
36. Hawker Woodcock 1923 47
35. Hawker Hedgehog 1924 prototype 48
34. Hawker Hurricane 1935 50
33. Hawker Sea Hurricane50
32. Hawker Harrier 1927 prototype 53
31. Hawker Nimrod 1930 58
30. Hawker Cygnet 192461
29. Hawker Henley 1937 61
28. Hawker Tornado 193965
27. Hawker Hoopoe 192870
26. Hawker Typhoon 1940 70
25. Hawker Audax 1931 71
24. Hawker Hartbeest 1935 71
23. Hawker Tempest 1942 72
22. Hawker F.20/27 1928 prototype 73
21 Hawker Hart 1934 74
20. Hawker Hind 1934 74
19. Hawker F.2/43 Fury 1943 prototype
18. Hawker Sea Fury 1944 75
17. Hawker Hornet 1929 77
16. Hawker Hawfinch 1927 78
15. Hawker Tomtit 1928 78
14. Hawker Hector 1936 78
13. Hawker Hart 192880
12. Hawker P.1081 1950 prototype 81
11. Hawker Osprey 1929 82
10. Hawker Demon 1933 82
9. Hawker Dantorp 1932 84
8. Hawker Sea Hawk 1947 85
7. Hawker Hunter 1951 85
6. Hawker Horsley 1925 86
5. Hawker P.1052 1948 prototype 87
4. Hawker P.1072 1950 prototype 88
3. Hawker Fury 1931 89
2. Hawker P.1040 1947 prototype 89
1. Hawker P.V.3 1934 prototype 90



  1. kimmargosein

    I prefer the Fury over the prototype. The spats look chunkier than the bare wheels. Even better is the Yugoslav Fury with the unbraced landing gear. Your remark about the Hotspur was spot on. I thought the same thing myself before I read the caption.

  2. Ronald Vincent Smith

    Very little to argue about here, Whilst the Cygnet might not be stunningly beautiful, I think that it was important (e.g. to the later P.1127 / Kestrel / Harrier) in teaching Camm that ounces matter.

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