Nicknames bring personality to machines. If an airplane really great airplane or a really crappy one, it’ll get a great nickname. If you are a pilot, you probably remember that the first plane you soloed was a Piper Cherokee, or a T-37 Tweet, or a T-34 Mentor. It’s not uncommon for old pilots to say, “I remember the first time I took that Tweet up solo. It was a fantastic day!”
Then some nicknames are so iconic that ‘next generation’ of planes adopt them as their own. The T-6 is named ‘Texan II’ after the original Texan that trained a whole generation of pilots, the F-35 is named ‘Lightning II’ after the original P-38 Lightning, and the C-17 takes on a third generation moniker, the ‘Globemaster III’.
But then there is a third category of nicknames. Ones that are odd, weird, or even really snarky. These nicknames for planes are a mix of cutting, a bit snide, and a large dose of humor mixed in… Here are our top 5 snarky nicknames:
Number 5: Boeing B-52, Nickname ‘BUFF’
The Boeing B-52 is legendary. Behind the stealthy B-2, it is probably the most recognized bomber in the world. The jet has a lengthy history. The first demonstration jet flew way back in 1952. It is now on it’s ‘H’ iteration with a whole host of modifications since its introduction. There is even a possibility of upgrading the engines on the venerable bomber in the next couple of years.
So why in the world is the B-52 ‘Strotobomber nicknamed the “BUFF”? The B-52 owes its infamous moniker to a bad paint job from back in Vietnam. The B-52 originally had a bright and shiny bare metal paint job. But the beautiful buffed metal would stick out like a sore thumb over the jungles of Vietnam. So instead, they painted it in a camouflage color scheme. Officers who flew the jet weren’t impressed with how it looked.
The B-52 earned the nickname ‘BUFF’ standing for ‘Big Ugly Fat F*ck’. It might have not been the most PC name, but it stuck. And the B-52 has stuck around too. Some say that the B-52 will become the first military aircraft to fly for at least 100 years.