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The names of the planes

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posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 01:07 AM
One wonders just why aircraft came to be named. Most WWI aircraft had no names.

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 01:36 AM
Thats an interesting question Wombat. You could say the first aeroplane, the Wright Flyer, had a name, but does Flyer count as a name or a prospective generic term? Maybe the Wrights hoped that all future such machines would be referred to as 'Flyers'? After all Clement Ader's 'Avion' series gave the French their word for an aeroplane a decade earlier without really flying at all.

What is the earliest anyone can therefore difinitely identify a aircraft name that was not just a nickname or another word for 'Aeroplane' or other descriptive term?

The 14 Bis might be an answer, although I have forgotten exactly what the name referred to, something to do with his airships wasn't it? The earliest I can think of that definitely comes over as a name in the same sense that we call a Spitfire or a Typhoon by their name is the 'Demoiselle' of about 1908.

Even the Sopwith Camel was only named after the hump over its machine guns.

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 01:57 AM
I've always loved the tomcat name waynos... here's why tomcats here fight on top of our wood fences. they have such power and grace and raw animal fury as they dance and hiss spit and strike on the narrow ledge they call a battlefield. In the meantime what better than a housecat to evoke the name furball, commonly used slang for multifighter dogfight here, than an animal that immediatelly conjures the image of the occasional furball on the carpet.

I dunno I always thought tomcat evoked a fearsome sorta no holds barred brawler sorta feeling.

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 08:51 AM
Yeah, I can see how that works, well said.

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 01:24 PM
Russian aircraft “names” like Flanker and Fulcrum (which both sound cool) are actually the NATO reporting names.

For many years NATO deliberately gave irrelevant (read condescending) names to Soviet aircraft in order to play down their potency (pretty full list of all the less cool sounding ones):
An-2/3 = "Colt"
An-8 = "Camp"
An-10 = "Cat"
An-12 = "Cub"
An-14 = "Clod"
An-22 = "Cock"
An-24 = "Coke"
An-26 = "Curl"
An-28 = "Cash"
An-30 = "Clank"
An-32 = "Cline"
An-72/74 = "Coaler"
Be-2 = "Mote"
Be-6 = "Madge"
Be-8 = "Mole"
Be-10 = "Mallow"
Be-12 = "Mail"
Be-30 = "Cuff"
Che-2 = "Mug"
Il-2 = "Bark"
Il-4 = "Bob"
Il-10 = "Beast"
Il-12 = "Coach"
Il-14 = "Crate"
Il-18/20/22 = "Coot"
Il-28 = "Beagle"
Il-28U = "Mascot"
Il-38 = "May"
Il-40 = "Brawny"
Il-54 = "Blowlamp"
Ka-10 = "Hat"
Ka-15 = "Hen"
Ka-18 = "Hog"
Ka-20 = "Harp"
Ka-22 = "Hoop"
Ka-25 = "Hormone"
La-7 = "Fin"
La-9 = "Fritz"
La-15 = "Fantail"
Li-2 = "Cab"
MiG-9 = "Fargo"
MiG-15 = "Fagot" –(the ultimate insult?)
MiG-15U = "Midget"
MiG-17 = "Fresco"
MiG-19 = "Farmer"
MiG-21 = "Fishbed"
MiG-21U = "Mongol"
MiG-23/27 = "Flogger"
MiG-23-01 = "Faithless"
Ye-2A = "Faceplate"
Ye-152A = "Flipper"
Mi-1 = "Hare"
Mi-2 = "Hoplite" –(sounds naff but is a cool Ancient Greek soldier)
Mi-4 = "Hound"
Mi-6/22 = "Hook"
Mi-8/9/17/171 = "Hip"
Mi-12 = "Homer"
Mi-14 = "Haze"
Mi-34 = "Hermit"
Po-2 = "Mule"
Su-7/17/20/22 = "Fitter"
Su-7U = "Moujik"
Su-9/11 = "Fishpot"
Su-11U = "Maiden"
Su-15 = "Flagon"
Su-25/28 = "Frogfoot"
Tu-10 = "Frosty"
Tu-14/89 = "Bosun"
Tu-16 = "Badger"
Tu-22 = "Blinder"
Tu-70 = "Cart"
Tu-85 = "Barge"
Tu-91 = "Boot"
Tu-98 = "Backfin"
Tu-104 = "Camel"
Tu-110 = "Cooker"
Tu-114 = "Cleat"
Tu-124 = "Cookpot"
Tu-126 = "Moss"
Tu-128 = "Fiddler"
Tu-134 = "Crusty"
Tu-154 = "Careless"
Yak-6/8 = "Crib"
Yak-7U = "Mark"
Yak-9 = "Frank"
Yak-11 = "Moose"
Yak-12 = "Creek"
Yak-14 = "Mare"
Yak-15/17 = "Feather"
Yak-16 = "Cork"
Yak-17U = "Magnet"
Yak-23 = "Flora"
Yak-24 = "Horse"
Yak-25/27 = "Flashlight"
Yak-25RV = "Mandrake"
Yak-27R = "Mangrove"
Yak-28 = "Brewer"
Yak-28U = "Maestro"
Yak-30 = "Magnum"
Yak-36 = "Freehand"
Yak-38 = "Forger"
Yak-40 = "Codling"
Yak-41/141 = "Freestyle"
Yak-42 = "Clobber"
Even during the early cold-war era a few cool sounding names crept in though, presumably by chance:
La 11 “Fang” –no doubt one of Waynos’ favorite aircraft.

The ultimate example of this “play down” allocation of names was the Tupolev T-22 which was so cutting edge and impressive that NATO intelligence analysts wanted to call it the “Tu-22 Beauty”. But Beauty was a compliment so some clever individual outwitted the system and called it the “Tu-22 Blinder” – innocuous sounding unless you put it in the context of “Blimey, what a blinder!”.

Somewhere in all this deliberately naff naming of Soviet aircraft, someone, presumably in the US DoD, decided that actually it would be a good idea to give the Soviet aircraft more dangerous sounding names so that they could play up the threat. Suddenly you get the Mig-25 Foxbat, Mig-29 Fulcrum, Su-27 Flanker, Su-24 Fencer, Mi-24 Hind etc.

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 05:20 PM

Originally posted by planeman
Russian aircraft “names” like Flanker and Fulcrum (which both sound cool) are actually the NATO reporting names.

An-14 = "Clod"

"Bloody great Clod!"

Il-4 = "Bob"

"Look out, Bob's coming!"

Il-14 = "Crate"

"Pavel Leonidevitch"
"Yes Uri Stepanovitch, my Captain?"
"What do you say we get this Crate off the ground, Pavel Leonidevitch, ha ha ha?"
"You are funny man, Captain Uri Stepanovitch."

La-9 = "Fritz"

How did the Russians let this one through, someone forget about "The Great Patriotic War"?

MiG-15 = "Fagot" –(the ultimate insult?)

You need a double g for that particular insult. Originally it meant a bundle of wood!

MiG-23/27 = "Flogger"

Ooh, kinky...

Mi-12 = "Homer"


Su-25/28 = "Frogfoot"

Crap name, but I always thought it was a cool Ground Attack ship.

Tu-85 = "Barge"

Now that's just nasty for nasty's sake!

Tu-104 = "Camel"

Wonder how Sopwith (or should that be BAe?) feel about that...

Isn't Fulcrum the first time the Russians decided to use the NATO designation as the official title?

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 05:22 PM

MiG-15 = "Fagot" –(the ultimate insult?)

Lost somewhere back in this thread I mentioned how this policy is illustrated in the sudden rethink over the reporting names for the MiG 15 and Il-28. Prior to 'Fagot' the MiG 15 was initially known as 'Falcon' which was WAAY to cool and was rapidly changed. Likewise the tame and cuddly sounding Il-28 Beagle was, at first, called 'Butcher' by NATO, until someone realised WE were the ones that stood to be butchered by it, not an image you want to plant in the minds of your own forces!

Also, I think with Foxbat and Flanker the Russians just got lucky rather than it being a change in policy. Two of the most recent names allocated are the very uncool sounding 'Firkin' (Sukhoi Berkut) and 'Flatpack' (MiG 1-44).

footnote; The Mikoyan Ye-2 'Faceplate' was the first of three aircraft to be allocated the designation 'MiG 23' by the Soviets. (Faithless and Flogger being the others). Bearing in mind that the West originally also thought the MiG 21 was the MiG 23, and that the MiG 25 was the MiG 23, thats a lot of MiG 23's to get muddled over

[edit on 15-2-2006 by waynos]

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 05:38 PM
Some of my faves (not!) are the Fairey "Battle", "Firefly" and "Fulmar".

I think that nicknames became necessary in the hurried nature of war. Instead of having to explain which model aircraft you were referring to, everybody understands a name. It also kind of imbues a machine with a personality.

I think that the "Rhino" also refers to the enlarge nose/radome on new

[edit on 2/15/2006 by JungleMike]

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 06:26 PM
You missed a few NATO code names - and remember they apply also to other countries such as China and other Warpact members....

Shenyang F-8 II - 'Finback'
Shenyang A-5 - 'Fantan'
Aero L-29 Delphin - "Maya"

An-74 (AWACS) - 'Madcap'
Beriev A-40 - 'Mermaid'
Il-18* - 'Clam'
Il-62 - 'Classic'
Il-86 - 'Camber'
Ka-26 - 'Hoodlum'
La-15 - 'Fantail'
MBR-2 - 'Mote'
MDR-6 - 'Mug'
Mi-10 - 'Hark'
Mya M-17 - 'Mystic'
Mya M-50 - 'Bounder'
Pe-2 - 'Buck'
Ts-25 - 'Mist'
Tu-2 - 'Bat'
Tu-4 - 'Bull'
Tu-144 - 'Charger'
US Supplied B-25s - 'Bank'
US Supplied A-20s - 'Box'
US Supplied P-63s - 'Fred'
UT-2 - 'Mink'
Yak-12* - 'Crow'
Yak-32 - 'Mantis'

I'm sure there are others.....

Aero L-39 Albatros, and WSK-Mielec Iskra must also have NATO names, but I can't think of them at the moment.

Waynos, I seem to remember that the MiG Ye-152 also copped the MiG-23 moniker, at least in the West.

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 06:30 PM
Yes, we gave it to that too. In fact I mentioned it myself on a thread about the 'MiG 23' a while ago but forgot it this time, duh

You could add the two I mentioned to your list too for completelness, Firkin and Flatpack.

Whoops, just spotted another one that was changed. The Yak 28 Brewer was originally named 'Brassard' by NATO but this was changed because it might cause confusion with the French 'Broussard' light transport family designed by Max Holste, like yeah, of course!

[edit on 15-2-2006 by waynos]

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 07:52 PM
I'm guessing aircraft names came in for easy identification in times of stress.
Especially so for enemy aircraft.

How about some of the multiple name aircraft?

Apache, the original name for the P-51 Mustang.
Then when the British bought it, it was named or re-named Mustang.

There was a Mustang version - in the early stages of the war - named Invader and bore the designation of A-36.
It was a dive bomber complete with drag flaps and fixed tail wheel.
I believe it was used mostly in the Aleutians.

The fixed tail wheel P-51 was also a characteristic of the Mustang "trainer."

Fwiw, the P-51A, the first one.
P-51 B denoted manufactured in California.
P-51 C denoted manufactured in Texas.

Then the Lightning P-38 in it's many versions.
Also called by either - or both - the Japanese or Germans "Forked Tail Devil" which fits pretty well I think.

Bell Airacobra, P-39 which was later the P-63 King Cobra.

The P-61 Black Widow which was the US' premier night fighter in the latter stages of the war.
A big airplane carrying radar and mucho armament along with twin engines.

One small, but interesting story about the P-51 when it was first shown to a congressional committee.
One senator commented that he thought it ought to have a chin radiator like the P-40 did.
He thought the belly radiator and scoop was an aerodynamic handicap.
The P-51's belly radiator actually was a negative drag device.
Especially when they dropped it down a little lower and got rid of laminar airflow drag.
The radiators heat actually had a small amount of thrust to it which nullified drag.

Sometime during the latter stages of the war, the P-51 was mocked up to be a center engine aircraft similar in layout to the Airacobra.
The pilot sat further forward than in the P-39.
It was dropped because the benefits gained were not commensurate with the production line changes required.
Done in England I believe, which is where the Rolls Royce engine was first installed into the P-51.

WW2 aircraft are much more sophisticated than most realize.

And as a small fwiw, the P-39 Airacrobra was tried on carriers by the Navy.
Called the AiraBonita a the time, but the Navy turned it down, probably due to lack of performance along with they would have had to carry coolant supplies for the P-39's liquid cooled engine.
The AiraBonita had a taildragger landing gear arrangement when configured for carrier use.

The P-51 was also tried on carriers, but the landing gear was not deemed to be to the task.

[edit on 15-2-2006 by Desert Dawg]

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 09:22 PM
Hey.. but off late the names ain't so bad aye?

Fulcrum, flanker..

posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 10:51 PM
Another one from the Vietnam era.

The F-105 Thunderchief fully loaded took so much runway to get airborne that it gained the nickname "The Lead Sled" . They reckoned that if you couldn't get airborne you could just taxi right over 'em and kill'em that way.

posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 05:12 AM
If my memory correct, the yak-27 was named by NATO should be "machinator" or something meaning like this.

posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 05:48 AM
Some of the earliest "named" aircraft, perhaps the earliest, were those of the Aerial Experimental Association. Here is what Aerofiles says of the group.

'1907-09: A design consortium comprised of F W Baldwin, Glenn H Curtiss, John McCurdy, and Lt Thomas Selfridge gathered by Alexander Graham Bell at his Canadian home; an early "think tank," advancing the experiments of Australian Lawrence Hargrave during the 1890s. Aircraft were built at Hammondsport NY'

They named their 'Aerodromes' as they called them...

Aerodrome #1, Red Wing (1908)
Aerodrome #2, White Wing (1908)
Aerodrome #3, June Bug (1908)
Aerodrome #3-A, Lune (1908)
Aerodrome #4, Silver Dart (1908)
Aerodrome #5, Cygnet (1909)

For further info on the aircraft and the group, have a look at...

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 04:48 AM
The Russians do indeed name their fighters independently of our system, the MiG-25 was called the 'alchohol wagon' (teplozapravshik metanola) because of the large methanol tanks needed to cool the engines at speed (and their resulting 'popularity' at outlying bases).

While the Su-27 is locally known as the Zhuravlik or 'Crane' due to it's 'poised', graceful, look with the radome hooked down over the tall nose gear.

It should be noted that they did appreciate the relative compliment inherent to the 'Fulcrum' as potentially meaning 'at last, we've tipped the scales!'.

Unfortunately, the MiG-29s sensor systems and overall ordnance options destroyed whatever preeminence it's airshow displays indicated might be present. And subsequent evaluations of the type against the F-16 showed a lot more hangtime on the Viper than the Fulcrum could supposedly manage, 'limiterless' or no.

As such, 'they may be the fulcrum but we are the lever' ended up being the secret behind the who's-on-top joke.

Other names that come to mind include 'Grach' meaning rook or crow for the Su-25 and 'Gorbin' (duuhh, IIRR) or hunchback for the Su-25T (I've also heard it used on the Mi-24).

The Ka-50 is variously known as the Black Shark (Chorniiy Ahkula) and Werewolf (Oborotein) while I think it was either the Ka-50-2 or Ka-52 which got the names Alligator and Crocodile, both of which are phonetically more or less identical to their English useages.

THAT being the key to taking back your own identity from 'name callers' trying to fit you into a box. Using words that match either the 'feel' (visual silouhette etc.) of an object while having at least an understandable if not exact pronunciation cross-useage in multiple tongues.


posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 07:22 AM
But KPI, wouldn't these be crew allocated nicknames rather than genuine type names? Especially in the case of the MiG 25?

Although I do remember Kamov promoting the' Alligator' so at least that one can be classed as officially sanctioned.

I know that in a lot of cases the crews nicknames for their aircraft are much more apt and entertaining than the official ones, 'Harmonious Dragmaster' is one of my favourites which was allocated to the Gloster Javelin, and when you look at it you can see why, and also why Gloster never produced another plane after it.

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 04:07 PM
"20,000 rivets flying in close formation".....

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 09:10 PM

Originally posted by soulforge
I seem to remember the F-16 with various monikers, such as "The Electric Jet", and the Viper. Even the F-22 was initially dubbed the Lightning II

Also, the A-10 is officially the Thunderbolt II.

Worst unofficial monikers?

F-105 THUD (the sound it makes hitting the ground)

U-2 Dragonlady (known for her high morality rate)

[edit on 10/25/2005 by soulforge]

Actually the F-105's THUD name came from th sound it makes when the water afterburner is kicked on for takeoff.

The U-2 gots its name from being such a b**ch trying to land it.

[edit on 17-2-2006 by ULTIMA1]

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 09:18 PM

Originally posted by gimmefootball400
Let's see here.

Grumman F6F Hellcat
McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom
McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom II aka Wild Weasel
The General Dynamics F111A Aardvark
McDonnell Douglas F15E Strike Eagle
McDonnell Douglas F15Active
Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star
Republic F-84 Thunderjet
North American F-86 Sabre
Northrop F-89 Scorpion
Lockheed F-94 Starfire
North American F-100 Super Sabre
Boeing B52G Stratofortress
B2 Spirit
B1B Lancer
Tu-160 Blackjack
McDonnell F-101 Voodoo
Convair F-102 Delta Dagger
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
Republic F-105 Thunderchief
Convair F-106 Delta Dart
North American F-107 Ultra Sabre
Lockheed MartinF-117 Nighthawk

Your off on the F-4's. There was the original F-4 Phantom and then F-4 Phantom II, the wild weasel is just the F-4G model of the Phantom II

[edit on 17-2-2006 by ULTIMA1]

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