WWI The Best World War 1 Airplanes  

Mike Rothschild
4.3k votes 922 voters 40.2k views 39 items

List Rules List of airplanes of World War 1 to be ranked based on greatness

World War One airplanes began as primitive, unarmed artillery spotters that could barely take offensive action - and ended as powerful bombers and sleek modern fighters. Germany, the UK, and France led the way in aircraft development, creating iconic aircraft like the SPAD, Sopwith Camel, and the scourge of allied pilots, the German Fokker.

This was a time when air-to-air combat was quite literally being made up as pilots went along. The first fighter planes were little more than lumbering artillery spotters with an extra man carrying a revolver. Soon, the interrupter gear was invented, giving aircraft the ability to shoot through their propellers. German technology quickly took control of the skies, first in the "Fokker scourge" of 1916, then "Bloody April" 1917. But Allied pilots fought back, and by the end of the war, both sides had thousands of the most sophisticated planes available, and experienced pilots to fly them.

Aircraft technology developed so quickly that fighters would be rolled out in mass quantities, and be obsolete by the time they were actually used. Even so, the war pioneered many of the tactics used in World War 2 aircraft, including heavy bombers escorted by fighters, deep-penetration reconnaissance planes, night fighters and bombers, and innovative technology.

Here are some of the most important, widely-produced, iconic, and effective planes of World War 1. Vote up your favorites or add your own.

1 437 VOTES

Fokker D.VII is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best World War 1 Airplanes
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain
Superior German fighter used near the end of the war.

Type: Fighter aircraft

Manufacturer: Fokker

Length (m): 6.93

Maiden Flight: Jan 01 1918

306 131
Is this the best?
see more on Fokker D.VII
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best World War 1 Airplanes
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/GNU Free Documentation License
British and American air superiority fighter that saw heavy combat.

Type: Fighter aircraft

Introduced: Mar 01 1917

Designer: Henry Folland

Length (m): 6.38

Wingspan (m): 8.11

Maiden Flight: Nov 22 1916

210 83
Is this the best?
see more on Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5
3 379 VOTES

Sopwith Camel is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best World War 1 Airplanes
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain
British fighter that scored more aerial victories than any other Allied plane. Was the plane Snoopy flew in the Peanuts comic strip.

Type: Fighter aircraft

Manufacturer: Sopwith Aviation Company

Length (m): 5.72

262 117
Is this the best?
see more on Sopwith Camel
4 281 VOTES

SPAD S.XIII is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best World War 1 Airplanes
Photo: Metaweb (FB)/Public domain
Hugely successful biplane fighter flown by famous American ace Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker.

Manufacturer: Société Pour L'Aviation et ses Dérivés

Length (m): 6.25

Wingspan (m): 8.25

199 82
Is this the best?
see more on SPAD S.XIII