The 30 second plane project

How do most people draw an aeroplane? With a 30 second time limit and banned from doing any research, our artists were asked to draw a plane. Let’s have a look at the results. If you’d like to add a drawing to this project, please send it to @hush_kit on Twitter. 

1. 10614407_10203808207099061_561753218079020764_n

Joel Tom Long is a rapper and charity fundraiser based in Bristol. His drawing appears to be of of a mid-wing, high-tailed airliner. The swept wings suggest that it would be jet-propelled but no engines are apparent (maybe he ran out of time). The pitot or instrumentation probe suggests this may be a prototype or test aircraft. The undercarriage consists of a single nose wheel and no main unit. The high wing sweep makes it likely that it is an aircraft that operates at speeds above Mach 0.8. The operator is one previously unknown ‘Cunt Airways’. It is not known whether this fictional airline is based on the now-defunct Madrid-based Air Comet (who lost the author’s bags and took four days to return them). The form is an expression of speed which may have been influenced by the cancelled East German Baade 152. 

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This friendly, rather fish-like machine was drawn by the animator Ruth Lingford. Its elliptical wings are reminiscent of R.J Mitchell’s Spitfire and its general ‘doughiness’ reminds the viewer of Maurice Sendak’s dough plane from his ‘Midnight Kitchen’. This aeroplane has no visible means of propulsion or windows for its crew. The tail assembly is very small, meaning that this design could have serious controllability issues. The overall shape suggests that this would be a pre-1950 piston-engined aircraft. The organic lines call to mind the aborted Bugatti 100P Racer. 

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Krystal Turner’s aircraft is a happy living entity. It is doubly anthropomorphised–  having both a friendly mouth and being able to talk. This is yet another 30-second plane without engines but does score highly in having windows for the crew and passengers as well as a front and rear undercarriage, though it does lack a horizontal tailplane. It appears to be a jetliner but with a large bulky fuselage suggesting a strong secondary freighting role. 

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Charlotte Florence Wormley-Healing’s very stylish aircraft lacks in realism but gains points for its expressive dash. This advanced airliner has no tail assembly and large, possibly variable-geometry wings. Perhaps this is based on Barnes Wallis’ futuristic Swallow proposal from the 1950s? According to Charlotte the aircraft features ‘Jazzy wings’, reference to the exciting wiggly mural emblazoned on the upper-surfaces of the wings. An advanced fly-by-wire control system would be necessary to solve the severe centre of gravity issues caused by the unorthodox arrangement. The confident line work and baguette-like form are delightful and make you want to eat a sandwich.

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Artist and guide Edward Ward’s aircraft scores the highest in terms of both realism and inclusion of parts. To be far though Ed cheated as he is a professional illustrator and aviation expert. However he gains back points for how cute and lovely this radial-engined open-cockpit aircraft is. 

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Kane Martindale’s drawing is very exciting and suggests an aircraft with a story. It combines the happy dog-like features of some of the earlier images with the doughy-fish-like forms introduced by Ruth Lingford. Its well-depicted turbofan engines are a breath of fresh air as are its Soviet air force markings and the inclusion of the call to action slogan,’Yeah!’. Like Joel’s aircraft it includes a nose probe of some kind. The large dorsal shark fin is a suprising feature that may have been added to cure directional issues or to house an electronically scanning radar or satellite communication device. It is not known where the air intake for the rear central reheated engine (unless this is a rocket engine). The aircraft has a crew of two and room for at least twenty passengers (assuming a two abreast configuration). 

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Heathcote Ruthven has drawn his aeroplane on the side of a pear. His Primitivist depiction may be a reference to the Cargo Cult or a general reflection on how low-technology societies would view the modern aeroplane. It has many windows on the side and appears to have a sensor turret below the forward fuselage (perhaps indicative of an intelligence, surveillance or reconnaissance role). 

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Clemens Vasters from Viersen-Dülken, Germany has gone for an aircraft based on Concorde but with some influences from the Avro Vulcan. Clemens demonstrates a good understanding of the shape of aeroplanes combined with an unwillingness to use paper the normal way up. 



9. Michael Piper’s highly unorthodox aircraft combines features of a fighter – the bubble canopy, large radome and sharp forward fuselage features – with a capacity for passengers and forward swept wings. Forward swept wings, despite their aerodynamic advantages have rarely made it onto production aircraft, perhaps the wings on this are a reference to the Hamburger Flugzeugbau HFB-320 Hansa Jet. I’m not sure why so many 30 second aircraft look like obscure German jetliners. Attention is drawn away from the absence of horizontal tailplanes by the the operator’s logo- a large vampire baby’s head. 

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James Sanna’s moving portrayal of the last few moments of a crashing C-47 is a stark reminder of our mortality. Showing through the back of the paper are voyeuristic glimpses into Sanna’s early works which are full of an optimism absent from his submitted work. The viewer is forced into becoming a peeping tom in this dangerous and confrontational debate on life and sexuality. 

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Despite having a sophisticated grasp of perspective, Sally Megee’s piece is about innocence, just one of the many contradictions in this work. Why is the nose a motorcycle helmet? Perhaps because this is not an aeroplane at all but an adventurer on a journey into a dreamworld. Despite the quaint Saint-Exupéry-esque stars this is a dark metaphorical flight – could it be a reference to the metaphysical, while very real, ‘Flight to Arras’? And why is God striking the wing with lightning and punishing this gentle traveller? Perhaps this is a fierce critique of a 20th Century robbed of God by Nietzsche and destroyed by the wills of ambitious and cruel men.  

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A very lovely Blackburn Roc from a man by the unusual name of Mossie 633 (60yrs, male, Japan). Confident, skilled line-work and an excellent memory of what a Roc looks like combine in this very pleasing doodle. Was his choice of such a terrible aeroplane a subtle criticism of Britain and a comment on how a post-colonial power has lost its way? I guess we’ll never know (unless we ask him). 

Add your 30 sec plane to the gallery!

30 second plane project

Hi- if you have 30 seconds free you can help me with something I’m working on.

1. Without researching it, draw an aeroplane
2. Stop drawing after 30 seconds
3. Post your picture along with your age, sex and country of origin to @hush_kit on twitter. 

Thank youXF2Y-600

Kick the tyres and light the fires.. pilots and their cliches


Tired old cliches are standard issue to every pilot. Here are some of the old groaners that will have you banging your head against the table in exasperation. Remove 100 hours from your logbook for each offence you have made.

Mark-One Eyeball  refers tlooking out of the window rather than relying on the instruments. Mainly used by airline pilots who wish they were flying a Piper Cub… to Australia.

Hot and High… reference to flying a Mooney or in more recent years a Cirrus SR22 and failing to slow it down before landingThe equivalent of walking into a nightclub with a younger girlfriend (or boyfriend) and knocking a table over.

Turning and Burning Indeed, the engines are functioning as we expected

Clockwork or Steam-powered instruments A sentimental or arrogant (depending on the orator) reference to the fact that times have changed.

Gear down and welded An unnecessary allusion to the standard downwind check that reminds the hirer that he/she is paying £160 per hour for an unsophisticated aircraft.

Kick the tyres and light the fires.. An irreverent nod to to pre-flight walkaround

Fill it with go juice...Once said by an instructor. I could never forgive her.

When it all goes quiet up front...I’m losing my patience now. An engine failure would be a relief.

Old pilots and bold pilots…. .Anyone who ever said these things has reduced their minima..that’s my contribution.

Runway behind you….blah blah blah…

Dorian Crook, proud co-owner of a Maule

Ten most expensive aircraft in production (2014)


The price for a modern aircraft is astonishing. Today there are at least nine types that cost more than $200 million dollars for a single aeroplane.  If the Northrop B-2  Spirit were still in production it would top this list at a horrendous $750 million per aircraft. 

These are prices per single aircraft based on the best available figures, I’m happy to adjust any of these if you have better (and verifiable) data. 

10. Airbus A400M Atlas

$198 million


9. Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II


$200 million (average across A/B/C, 2014) 

8. Boeing P-8 Poseidon


$201.4 million

7. Boeing 787 Dreamliner

First 787 Flight Test Aerial Photos FA251253 K64839-01

$250 million

6. Airbus A350XWB


US$260.9 million

5. Boeing C-17 Globemaster III


$270 million

4. Boeing KC-46 Pegasus


$287 million

3. Boeing 777


US$296.0 million

2. Airbus MRTT


$300 million

1. Airbus A380


$397 million

Fortress versus Lightning: B-17 and F-35 compared


The Boeing B-17 and Lockheed Martin F-35 are two American bombers separated by around 70 years of history. They belong to the same weight class and bear interesting comparison.

First flight:

B-17 1935

X-35 2000 / F-35 2006

Time from requirement to service entry:

B-17 4 years (1934-1938)

F-35 23 years  (1992-2015 est. for B)


Maximum speed compared to average contemporary fighter:


287 mph/400 mph (71.75 %)


1200 mph/1450 mph (82.7 %)


B-17G:  1,738 nmi, 3219 km with 2700 kg (6,000 lb) bomb-load

F-35: 584 nm (1080 km) on internal fuel (combat radius)

Take-off speed:

B-17: 115 mph

F-35: 0 mph (B variant)

Maximum conceivable amount of enemy aircraft that can be destroyed by standard defensive weapons on one mission

F-35: 2

B-17G: 25+


Max loaded weight:

B-17G: 65K Ib

F-35: 70K Ib

Max internal bomb-load:

F-35: 4670 lbs

B-17: 8000 lbs (4500 lbs for long range missions)

Max bomb-load (including external munitions):

B-17: 17, 600 lbs

F-35: 18,000 Ibs

Max internal fuel:

F-35: 19,200 lb (C model)

B-17: 10, 200 lbs

Wing loading

F-35: 107.7 lb/ft² (526 kg/m²; 745 kg/m² max loaded)

B-17G: 38.0 lb/ft² (185.7 kg/m2)


B-17: $238,329

F-35: $170 million (flyaway average A/B/C 2013)

How many bottles of coke* could you buy with the cost of each aircraft (contemporary prices)?

F-35 is worth 113,333,333 cokes an aircraft.

B-17 was worth 4,766,580 cokes an aircraft in 1943.

The $238,329 it cost to build a B-17 would be worth $3,209,272.19 today.

*based on bottle of Coca-Cola (1943): 5 cents, (2014): $1.50

The last turbojet: the tale of the Lyulka AL-21


The turbojet is an endangered species–  so what aircraft are left that still use it? It is easy to think of the dwindling MiG-21 populations, and at a push the EA-6B – but you may be surprised to recall that the Su-24 and Su-25 both have turbojet engines. The ground attack mission, with its frequent long range and low-level operations would seem to necessitate the use of turbofans. So while the West used turbofans on the A-7, Tornado, F-111, A-10 and F-15E, why on earth would the Soviet Union use fuel-thirsty turbojets on their equivalent aircraft? One reason why they employ this seemingly archaic powerplant is the turbojet’s unfussy tolerance of any kind of fuel, a blessing in the event of fuel shortages in war. The Su-25’s R-95Sh was designed to be able to run using different fuels, it can even run for four hours on ground vehicle diesel. 

The turbojet aircraft that has dominated the news this year has been the Su-25, but it is the engine of the Su-24 that we are looking at today, the Lyulka AL-21. Designed by Ukrainian Arkhip M. Lyul’ka in 1959-60, the AL-21 is a turbojet with a 14-stage axial compressor with variable stator blades. This engine powered the Sukhoi Su-17, the Su-24, early MiG-23s and (as a non-reheated variant) the Yak-38. The engine also powered the Sukhoi T-10, an aircraft that became with many modifications, the famous Su-27 ‘Flanker’. By 1982 nine ‘Flanker-A’ prototypes had flown, seven with AL-21F-3A1s and only two with Al-31Fs. 

The AL-31F which powered the definitive Su-27 was based on the AL-21F-3 which powered the Su-17/20 and the Su-24. It is interesting to note that Lyul’ka was aware of the turbofan concept as early as the 1950s, but politics got in the way of him being able to apply these theories in practice. Russian-born Dr. Pavel Aleksandrovich Soloviev was in a better position and it was his D-20P that became the first turbofan to enter service. The D-20P-equipped Tupolev Tu-124 entered service on 2nd October 1962 as the world’s first turbofan airliner. Today almost all jetliners are turbofans.

Another Su-25 shot down today


Another Ukrainian Su-25 downed

In an age supposedly dominated by high technology, the warplane involved in more headlines than any other in 2014 is the simple Sukhoi Su-25. This aircraft is an armoured close air support developed by the Soviet Union and remains in widespread use around the world. 


When the Iraqi government forces urgently required close air support they turned to the Su-25; Iran obligingly giving back the airframes they ‘confiscated’ from when they claimed asylum to operate alongside ex-Russian aircraft which were delivered with alacrity to aid the fight against ISIS (though in the event the Iraq air force didn’t have the experience to operate them). 

Russo-Ukraine War

In 26th May, Ukrainian Su-25s supported Mi-24s helicopters during a military operation to regain control over the airport in Donetsk, during which the Su-25s fired air to ground rockets. On 2nd July 2014, a Ukrainian Su-25 crashed due to a technical fault.

According to Russian new agencies and western anti-globalisation websites, the Malaysian Airlines 777MH17 was shot-down by a Ukrainian Su-25. The Western view is that it was downed mistakenly by pro-Russian forces with a Buk surface-based defence system. 

On 16th another Su-25 was shot down. Ukrainians claim it was shot down by a Russian MiG-29 fighter with a R-27T missile, allegations which the Russian government have denied. On 23rd July 2014, two Su-25s were shot down in the Donetsk region of Ukraine. A spokesperson from the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine stated that the planes were shot down by missiles fired from Russia. Another Ukrainian Su-25 single-seat fighter was shot down today by pro-Russian forces over Luhansk Oblast in eastern Ukraine (August 20th).