I think waynos was pretty close the first time.
I'd vote for....
1. The Wright Flyer - It changed the world by demonstrating that controlled powered heavier than air flight was indeed possible and its existence
prompted others to continue with their experiments and developments.
2. DC-3 - Changed the world by making commercial air travel comfortable and reliable and attractive, in turn making the airline industry viable.
3. Boeing 707 - Shrunk the world, brought air travel within the reach of the 'common man' and established intercontinental travel by air as the
preferred method for everyone.
I have issues with many of the other choices, for instance....
B-17 and Spitfire - very controversial and surrounded by mythology. Spitfire vs Hurricane (Hurricane contributed more to the outcome of the Battle of
Britain than the Spit - and perhaps Radar more so) and B-17 vs B-24 (More B-24s built and in the European bombing campaign than B-17s and neither
removed the need for the D-Day invasion) - and nobody even mentioned the Mustang!
The B-29 (Enola Gay) - well really it was the bomb that changed the world, not the aircraft that just happened to have dropped it. Had slightly
different politics been in force, then it could well have been a Lancaster that dropped the bomb on Berlin. Had the B-29 not dropped the bomb, it
would have no more fame than the P-38 Lightning.
MiG-15 - merely demonstrated to the world that Russian designers could be just as good as anyone else's - a point not taken on board by America until
the appearance of the Sukhoi Su-27. (and Britain's politicians could be just as stupid as anyone else's - didn't change Britain's, or anyone
else's politicians though)
Boeing 747 - continued the trend set by the 707 in reducing costs and making flying more affordable. Similar sort of situation for the DC3 vs Lockheed
Constellation - incremental improvement.
SR-71 - very effective as far as aviation design, but it didn't really change the world.
The Space Shuttle - no, the majority of satellites are still launched on the top of big skyrockets.
F-117 and B-2 - just a different way of fighting - like missiles vs guns - the technology will eventually be countered and nothing will have changed.
Much the same as gunpowder - won at the time for those that had it, but didn't stop the fighting.
Bell X-1 and English Electric Lightning - good, fast designs (even though in reality the Bell X-1 was a scaled up 50 cal bullet with a rocket up its
bum) with no range - didn't change my world - in fact had no effect on my world at all.
Harrier and other VTOL aircraft - adds another variable in conflict planning much like the F-117, but I don't see any changes in the world because it
got built. The only changes (non-change actually) directly attributable to the Harrier would have to be limited to the population of the Falklands,
but hardly the world. - Kinda like saying that the DHC Beaver changed the world (of the Inuit).
Messerschmitt Me 262 - didn't even influence the outcome of WWII let alone the world, due to it's late service entry and small numbers. The jet
engine certainly did change aviation though, but the Brits might take issue with attributing it to Germany.
De Havilland Comet - could have changed the world, but failed to do so, handing that accolade to the 707 - just as the Concorde could have changed the
world - but didn't.
The nomination of so many bombers surprises me though. It perpetuates the myth that strategic bombing alone can win a war. It CAN, but only with
nuclear weapons, and since they can be delivered by ICBM, then it would be the nukes rather than the concept of strategic bombing that brings about
the outcome. Regardless of all the adherents to that theory, much loved in the USA from Curtiss LeMay onwards (and obviously including current US
military planners and politicians), strategic bombing alone has never defeated an enemy - see WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I, Iraq II, Afghanistan
(Russian and American participation) - shock and awe yes! Valid decisive doctrine NO! Basic rule of warfare - the troops eventually have to take the
ground the hard way - everything else is just a means of making that happen - always was, always will be. (Hmmm now where, I wonder, does that leave
the strategic concept of UCAVs - the troops will still have to go in)
The Winged Wombat
[edit on 18/6/07 by The Winged Wombat]