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(Pocket-lint) - In March 1969 Concorde made its first test flight, that's 50 years after the first non-stop transatlantic flight happened. A lot of history has passed since both these dates with technology improving and getting bigger and better.

In April 2019 the plane with the largest wingspan in the world took flight over the Mojave desert. Records like this have been broken plenty of times over the years. 

We're here to bring you some of the very best planes to ever take to the skies over the last few decades. 

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The Wright Flyer

Of course, no list of amazing aeroplanes would be complete without the original plane. The Wright Flyer was essentially the very first to take to the skies.


This plane, designed by Orville and Wilbur Wright was the first heavier-than-air powered aircraft to make a successful flight in 1903. And thus began the future of air travel. 

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Avro Avian

Another of perhaps the most significant aeroplanes of all time is the Avro Avian. This humble plane was part of some significant aviation adventures.

The 594 Avian III variant of this plane held host to Amelia Earhart and set the record for the "first crossing of the Atlantic by a woman" in 1928. Of course, she was just a passenger during that flight but she would later fly from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland under her own steam in 1932.  

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Blériot XI

The weird and wonderful Blériot XI is another plane to make aviation history back when it all began. In 1909,  Louis Blériot used one of these planes set the record for the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air aircraft.

While the Wright Brothers might have made the first flight six years earlier, this was still a daring feat about treacherous waters. 

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Hawker Hurricane

Although the Supermarine Spitfire might be the most iconic of wartime planes, the Hawker Hurricane was actually the aircraft that did the most damage to the German Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain.

This aeroplane was so successful it went onto to fly and fight in all the major theatres of battle through World War II. There are now only 12 airworthy Hurricanes left in existence. 

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Vought V-173

The Flying Pancake was an experimental aircraft built for the US Navy during World War II. It featured a weird and wonderful all-wing design that was designed to help with lift. The compact design of this aircraft actually made it highly manoeuvrable and fairly sound in terms of structural integrity.

The unusual shape of this plane also led to several false reports of UFO sightings in the areas it was conducting test flights. It never saw full service but was an interesting proof-of-concept design that supported the creation of future aircraft. 

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Messerschmitt Me 262

Wartime necessarily forces the fastest innovations in technology and the German forces were certainly experts at creating cutting edge tech. The Me 262 was the world's first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft. It first took flight in 1941, but didn't go into proper production and use until mid-1944. 

It wasn't without its faults, but the Messerschmitt Me 262 certainly presented a clear and real threat to the Allied airforces. These were the fastest aeroplanes in the skies at the time and as such, they had the ability to deal a deadly toll. Luckily for the Allies, production came too late and use of these jet aircraft was stifled by a shortage of fuel, parts and trained pilots. Around 1,400 Me 262s were produced but only around 200 were operational at any point during the war. 

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Gloster Meteor

The Me262 might have been the first jet plane of World War II, but it wasn't the last or only. Us Brits also had our own jet fighter in the form of the Gloster Meteor. This plane first flew in 1943 but didn't see service until around three months after the Me262. It proved a successful fighter and nearly 4,000 Meteors would be produced between 1943 and 1955. 

After the war, the Meteor would set and break its own speed records, reaching a top speed of 606 mph in 1945 and 616 mph in 1946. For comparison's sake, the Me262 had a max speed of 559 mph. Despite being a ground-breaking aeroplane, it quickly became obsolete in the 1950s as more and more jet aeroplanes appeared around the world. The Meteor would eventually be replaced by the Hawker Hunter and Gloster Javelin

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Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger airliner that first took to the skies in 1969. These planes were a collaboration between the French and British and would only be flown by  Air France and British Airways between 1976 and 2003 when the planes were retired. 

These magnificent flying machines were capable of flying twice the speed of sound and seen as the height of luxury at the time. So much so that seats aboard the aircraft were only really available to the wealthiest of passengers. 

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B-2 Stealth Bomber

The iconic Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, (aka the Stealth Bomber) first took to the skies in 1989. Only 21 of these unmistakable crafts would ever be built.

Costing around $2 billion each, these bombers made use of stealth technology and were capable of carrying up to 80 JDAM bombs or 16 B83 nuclear bombs. As potentially terrifying as it was unusual, there's no denying the significance of this aircraft.