My father was a life-long airplane aficionado. He didn’t care much for jets, but he loved World War II vintage aviation, and was always happy as a clam to ponder pictures, movies or stories featuring the classic combat airplanes of the late propeller era. As a very, very young child, I fell asleep at night looking at models he built hanging on threads from the ceiling of my bedroom. When he died, we buried him with a Marine Corps Corsair model, and my nephew now has in his own room the impressive collection of vintage aviation models my father amassed in his later life.

I inherited my Dad’s fondness for flying machines, and was tickled today to read the story about a P-38 Lightning being uncovered by tides off the coast of Wales. The Lightning was always a favorite plane of his and mine. He built a model of it when I was little, and it was one of the planes I watched spinning above me in the breeze of open windows as I fell asleep each night, perchance to dream. I’m not as much of a propeller snob as my father was, and am fond of some great jet airplanes, but I certainly cling to his fascination with the great fighting machines of the ’30s and ’40s as well. Most space nerds are probably plane nerds at heart as well. I certainly am.

So in honor of the re-emergence of the lost P-38 and my own late father, and given my previously mentioned list-making tendencies, I post my all-time favorite airplanes for your geeking pleasure:

1. SR-71 Blackbird

2. P-38 Lightning

3. Fokker Dr. I

4. RF-4C Phantom II

5. JU-87D Stuka

6. JA-37 Viggen

7. P-51 Mustang

8. MK9 Spitfire

9. F4U Corsair

10. J-35 Draken

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