Great collection of World War 2 planes up through today. To qualify as one of the very best, an airplane had to make a significant impact as an air superiority fighter. For example, the Me 262 jet fighter was arguably the best fighter plane of WW II, particularly deadly against American heavy bombers, but only small numbers ever saw combat and it became operational so late in the war that it had only a minimal impact. After the first couple of years, in the European theater, things become more complicated. During the 1939, 1940, and 1941, the Spitfire and Messerschmitt Bf 109 were clearly the dominant fighters. However, as the war wore on, many new designs entered combat.