St. Thomas, ON, June 2009 [Click all images to enlarge]
About this photo: Thematic Photographic celebrates aviation all week long. If you've got an aviation-themed photo (or two...) to share, please click here to participate. We'd love to see what you've got.It's long been considered the bastard stepchild of the US. Air Force fleet. It isn't remotely sleek or supersonic. For much of its existence, it's fought against endless internal campaigns to have it permanently grounded in favor of faster, sexier and, yes, more expensive aircraft like the F-16.
Yet the A-10 Thunderbolt II - also affectionately known as the Tankbuster and the Warthog, and less affectionately as the Devil's Cross by its enemies - has survived and thrived as the world's most robust and survivable close air support platform. Built around a frighteningly powerful 30 millimetre gun, this is likely the last thing you want flying overhead if you're not on the U.S.'s side.
As much mayhem as this thing can cause, it's the toughness and simplicity that impress me. Everything's designed to be field serviceable. It can take hits and keep on flying - a capability proven time and again in the Persian Gulf, where A-10s with giant holes blasted through the airframe have brought their pilots home safely.
And those pilots? Probably the most genial and capable aviators you'll ever meet. I believe the world would be a better place if everything in life were designed as thoughtfully as this machine.
Your turn: Why do ugly ducklings fascinate us so?