Fighter jet appreciation thread

Let’s get this HUGE caveat out of the way: Fighter jets are instruments of war and death. There’s no getting around that. But just like any complex, nuanced, potentially controversial piece of work there’s room for appreciation in the innovation and beauty found in these incredible works of design and engineering despite the myriad misgivings you or I have over their intended uses.

With that out of the way, I have recently gone down the rabbit hole of a flight simulator “game” called DCS World, which attempts to simulate as accurately as possible the realities of flying combat aircraft (you know, without the g-forces and the exploding and whatnot.) It’s rekindled a childhood love of mine for fighter jets, and I figure I’m not alone in that sentiment within this community.

This is a place to post some of your favorite jets, any memorable personal experiences, whatever…and I’ll kick things off with my absolute adoration of the F-22. Living in San Diego for nearly a decade it was inevitable that sooner or later I would end up at the Miramar Air Show. I typically find those events pretty boring and a bit too “Rah! Rah! 'Merica!” for my tastes, but then the F-22 showed up and did things in the air that looked simply impossible. It’s no wonder the thing is widely considered the most capable fighter ever built. I was in awe.

Couple that with its incredible form and you have, to me, hands down the epitome of design perfection for an aircraft that still retains the basic forms and layout we typically think of when it comes to planes (incredible “alien” forms like the B-2 bomber notwithstanding.) From the canted vertical stabilizers that perfectly align with the engine intakes to the not-quite-a-diamond shaped wing layout to the nearly single, unbroken overall top surface and it’s just…chef’s kiss. In my opinion there has never been a better looking jet.

With the move to stealthier, often unmanned forms and uses beyond direct air-to-air combat, I think it’s likely the F-22 will go down in history as the last great fighter jet. And if that’s indeed how it’s remembered, what a way to go.


I have an emotional memory with the Mirage 2000 because annually when I was little, my father used to take me to see the air show of the Smoke Squadron and this plane would tear through the sky, breaking the sound barrier, and to my child’s mind, it was amazing.

Another airplane, not a jet, but the father of them (cough cough), simply Santos Dumont’s 14 Bis.

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Danger Zone is playing in my mind.

Good thread. I don’t have the photos easily available anymore but I attended the Reno Air Races last September and they had a pair of F-35’s on display, cordoned off, with a serious MP standing guard. It is just so awesome. You can tell up close that it’s made of super exotic stuff. The F-22 is prettier and has better proportions.

A-10 Warthog appreciation. Opposite end of the formal spectrum, but big outboard engines are iconic and probably influence spaceships in shows like Star Wars.

The most awesome jet I saw at the show was the latest F-18 Super Hornet. They added some extra wing sections to the plane and it was just so maneuverable and awesome.

My all time favorite: XB-70 Valkyrie. Nearly as long as a 747, supersonic, folding wingtips, only came in angel-white.

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The A-10 is like someone sat down to design a plane having only read about them but never actually seen one in real life…and it’s awesome.

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Thanks for the ‘14 Bis’ link! I had never seen that before. Fascinating.

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brrrrt