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PostPosted: Thu 22 May 2014 22:19 pm 
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http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140522-are-these-the-worlds-worst-plane

Now I have low hopes when I read a BBC article regarding aircraft and this one lived up to my low expectations.

I realise that any list is going to be subjective to criteria and personal choice but I have certain issues with a good few of their choices. The inclusion of the Blackburn Botha I heartily agree with however.


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PostPosted: Thu 22 May 2014 23:31 pm 
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We're sorry but this site is not accessible from the UK

Doesn't help us Brits :evil:

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PostPosted: Thu 22 May 2014 23:40 pm 
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Quite. Still, gives us a chance to have a guess...

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PostPosted: Thu 22 May 2014 23:45 pm 
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Here we are:

The Fairey Battle
The Douglas TBD Devastator
MiG-23
Brewster Buffalo
Fairey Albacore
De Havilland Comet
He-162
DC-10

Honorable Mention:
Christmas Bullet
Roc
Botha
BE9

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PostPosted: Thu 22 May 2014 23:48 pm 
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From what I've read about the Christmas Bullet it deserves more than an honourable mention. :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu 22 May 2014 23:50 pm 
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Thanks dancho. It will be interesting to see their reasoning.

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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 00:08 am 
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I'd argue against the Battle and the Comet not very well but I don't know what would replace them :Whistling:

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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 00:41 am 
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Apologies, I didn't realise the article wasn't accessible worldwide.

The captions next to the pics are as follows:

Quote:
The Fairey Battle was a 1930s-era daylight bomber; by the time it saw service against the Germans in 1940, it was hopelessly outclassed. Nearly 100 were shot down in a week. (RAF)


Quote:
The Douglas TBD Devastator was a death-trap; it could only release its torpedo flying in a straight line whilst dawdling at 115mph – making it easy to shoot down. (US Navy)


Quote:
Though thousands of Soviet-built MiG-23s served in many air forces, it was never as popular as the MiG-21, the fighter it was intended to replace. (US Government)


Quote:
The short-lived Brewster Buffalo was shot down in droves when it encountered Japanese fighters in the early years of World War II, proving too slow and cumbersome. (US Navy)


Quote:
The Fairey Albacore was intended to become the Royal Navy’s standard torpedo bomber; it ended up being edged out by the plane it was supposed to replace. (RAF)


Quote:
A flaw in the design of the De Havilland Comet’s cabin windows led to several crashes which ended the plane’s promising airline career. (Getty Images)


Quote:
While the Heinkel He-162 was aerodynamically advanced, rushed production, barely trained crews and sub-standard building material made it a liability. (US Air Force)


Quote:
The Douglas DC-10 suffered several early crashes due to the flawed design of its cargo doors, which caused them to open mid-flight.(Getty Images)


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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 01:00 am 
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I think maybe it's "which aircraft killed the most crew?" But the MiG-23 didn't kill its crew so that doesn't make sense. Hmmmm...

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Last edited by dancho on Sat 24 May 2014 01:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 01:45 am 
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I would say the Battle and Buffalo were obsolescent for the time that they were expected to do the job they were designed for. The Buffalo did have limited success with the Finns and for an extremely short time with the RAF and RNEIAAF in Far East. As for the Battle, well, its low speed and poor armament didn't help it but I'm not sure that any light or medium bomber from later in the war such as the Boston, Mitchell, Marauder or Ventura (with the possible exception of the Mosquito or else a single engined Fighter bomber) would have had significantly lower loss rates in the Battle of France under those operating conditions.

The Albacore just wasn't as popular as the Swordfish and didn't possess enough of a performance upgrade over the Stringbag to win the aircrew over.

The Devastator was a torpedo bomber. Any torpedo bomber in that war suffered badly when enemy fighters got near them because of the nature of the mission - fly low and slow and in a straight line at an obvious target with nowhere to hide.

The MiG 23 was a design leap forward over the Mig 21 and was developed into the Mig 27 so surely it can't be one of the worst?

The Comet and DC10 were not inherently bad aircraft - just ones with slight design flaws which, when discovered and corrected, resulted in long lasting usage (albeit in the form of the Nimrod in the case of the Comet).

The Heinkel He162 was an example of desperation designing - an aircraft built out of non rationed materials as far as possible and designed to be flown by the partially trained. The fact that the building materials were suspect could also be used as a stick for a large number of the Gotha and Friedrichshafen bombers built in World War 1 as they were built out of poorly treated wood.

My list (and I'm sure everyone has their own selection) would be to promote the Botha from the substitutes bench as it was underpowered, had poor external visibility and poor handling. I'd add the Defiant in place of the Roc. The Roc at least has the distinction of being based upon the Skua while the Defiant was designed from scratch for a specific purpose that it was unable to perform. The folly of not having forward firing guns for the pilot was a particular black mark for me.

I was tempted by the Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c but the inherent stability that doomed it as a combat machine was built in to it to specifically aid the job it was designed to do - reconaissance. However to keep the pilot in the rear seat in the 'improved' BE2e was unforgivable and to try to turn it into a fighter with the BE12 and BE12a was even worse.

To round out my top four I've chosen the Breda Ba.88 Lince. Now I know it might also come under the 'obsolescent by world war 2' tag but I think that as soon as military equipment was added it lost any performance it had previously had. Now if it had remained as an aircraft to break the speed records then it wouldn't made my list but it didn't and so it did.

Honourable mentions: Avro Manchester - led to the Lanc but it wasn't just the Vulture engines that made it sub par.
Messerschmitt Me210 - led to the better Me410 but surely the experience of the Bf110 at the hands of the RAF showed that the days of the heavy fighter were over.

Sorry for the long post but I thought i should explain my choices.


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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 01:47 am 
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dancho wrote:
I think maybe it's "which aircraft killed the most crew?" But the MiG-23 didn't kill it's crew so that doesn't make sense. Hmmmm...


Then the F-104 Starfighter should be waiting in the wings somewhere... :D


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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 02:07 am 
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monty wrote:
Sorry for the long post but I thought i should explain my choices.

Great post Monty, very informative :thumb:

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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 02:13 am 
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dancho wrote:
I think maybe it's "which aircraft killed the most crew?" But the MiG-23 didn't kill it's crew so that doesn't make sense. Hmmmm...

Does seem a bit harsh on the MiG-23 to include it on a list of world's worst aircraft just because it wasn't as popular as the MiG-25. And you can't use 'barely trained crews' as a reason for including the He-162 on the list. That's not a fault of the aircraft!

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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 02:54 am 
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The Comet was far from the worst a/c! It introduced a number of new engineering features to airliners, apart from turbojets. The research following the crashes was made available to all other aircraft manufacturers, and greatly aided Boeing, Douglas, and others to design better jet airliners. A plane that soldiered on for almost 30 years as an airliner (last airliner retired in 1981, last Comet flight circa 1997 IIRC) has no place in the top 10 of the worst ever!

My "top 10 worst" might be:

Bachem Natter - only the one manned flight, which possibly broke the sound barrier, but it didn't end well.
F-35 - no matter how you sugar-coat it, it's not what it was supposed to be
HAL HF=24 Marut - designed by Kurt Tank (of Fw 190 fame), this was supposed to be a Mach 2 fighter. It barely broke the sound barrier.
Amiot 143 - you want to talk about how badly Battles got shot up? At least Battles had nice lines.
Bloch 200 - see above.
Gee Bee Racer - not one survives, because they all crashed.
Hughes-Kaiser HK-1 (Spruce Goose) - the concept was to transport Shermans, two at a time, across the Atlantic by flying boat to prevent losses to U-boats. It flew once, at an altitude of a few feet, for a short distance and time, before Howard Hughes lost his nerve and put it down on the water. The cost? F-35 proportions (for the time).
Bristol Brabazon - The time is 1943, and Germany hasn't been dealt with yet, let alone Japan. The US has the Manhatten Project, but Bristol is looking to a trans-atlantic piston-engined passenger aircraft to win the post-war battle of the Atlantic. Meanwhile, DH is too overworked to spend time on the Vampire.
Yak 15 / Yak 23 - Our Germans were better than their Germans.
Polikarpov I-153 - After introducing the world's first monoplane with retractable undercarriage (the I-16), Polikarpov introduces its successor - a gull-winged biplane derivative of the I-15, to reinstate some manoeuvrability. Nothing the VVS put into the air in 1941 had any show against Bf 109s and Bf 110s. Their losses make the Battle's totals look light.

Highly Commended:
Tu-144 - When you get the Concorde designs by espionage, but can't make it work.
Buran - When you get the Space Shuttle designs by espionage .... oh wait, that one worked (maybe a bit better)

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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 07:42 am 
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Brews I'll see your Amiot 143 and Bloch MB200 and raise you a Potez 540 and Bloch MB210. :lol:

It's difficult to find any positives in the bomber department of the Armee de l'Air of 1940 with the possible honourable exception of perhaps the Liore et Olivier 451 and maybe, by stretching things, the Potez 63 and Bloch 174.

I've made the Heller Amiot 143, Potez 540 and Bloch 210 and would be hard pressed to find the most aesthetically pleasing. It's as if the French manufacturers wanted the Bristol Bombay to have some company.

I know the Battles, Blenheims, Hampdens, Whitleys and Wellingtons suffered heavy losses but imagine if part of the front line of British bombers still comprised the Bombay, Fairey Hendon or the HP Harrow?


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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 08:22 am 
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And don't forget that the Finns used the early version of the Brewster Buffalo with very great effect against the Russians. Several of their pilots accumulated great scores of victories flying them.
The Comet went on to be a great maritime recon/sub hunter aircraft in the guise of the Nimrod.

I put forward the YB-17 and the Vultee Vengeance

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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 08:47 am 
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The Albacore was let down by the Taurus engine. The extras incorporated into the Albacore over the Swordfish would have probably made it more successful if it had been fitted with the more powerful Hercules.

I'm with the rest of you on the Buffalo. It was only the carrier-borne aircraft that really suffered. In the hands of the Finns, Dutch, Aussies, Kiwis and us they did make a good account of themselves.

The Comet was the FIRST jet airliner. Despite being a fatal flaw the window situation brought the problem of metal fatigue at high speeds to the fore and significantly changed aeronautical engineering.

Only an honourable mention for the Botha? That in itself shows the idiocy of those compiling the list.

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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 09:43 am 
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The Starfighter and the lince should be in this list.

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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 16:06 pm 
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To be fair to BBC, Brewster did not have a good record with a/c . However, the Buffalo was a solid little fighter, especially with the the Finns, who had something like 36 aces as a result of the Buffalo's service. In Malaya and Indonesia (Dutch East Indies), the Buffalo could turn with an Oscar provided its ammo was only half-filled. The performance of the Buffalo version used at Midway (F2A-3) wasn't as good as the pre-war version (F2A-2). The Finns used the export version (lower-power Cyclone) of the F2A-2, called the B-339. Their mechanics improved the reliability of the engine by inverting one of the piston rings in each cylinder. Did they tweak the engine further to extract more power? I don't know the answer to that, but I am aware that the tactics they used did not necessarily take advantage of the Buffalo's good turning circle. Instead, they used them to dive and zoom - which one might do if one had fast, powerful fighters facing a more manoeuvrable enemy (e.g. Spitfire vs Zero). When facing Polikarpovs, that would work.

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PostPosted: Fri 23 May 2014 17:38 pm 
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monty wrote:
imagine if part of the front line of British bombers still comprised the Bombay, Fairey Hendon or the HP Harrow?

That would be some maintenance coup, but there would be lots of oohs and ahhs at air shows.

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