What Aircraft is the Angel of Death?

This article may contain affiliate links. For details, visit our Affiliate Disclosure page.


When it comes to aviation history, some aircraft have garnered a notorious reputation, earning themselves ominous nicknames. Among these is the “Angel of Death” aircraft. This name has been used to refer to different planes over the years, and in this article, we will explore the origins of the nickname and the planes associated with it.

What Aircraft is the Angel of Death?

The Origins of the Nickname

The term “Angel of Death” is derived from a biblical reference to the destroyer that passed over Egypt, killing the firstborns of every household during the Exodus. Over the years, this phrase has come to be associated with death, destruction, and a foreboding sense of doom.

The first aircraft to be associated with this ominous nickname was the B-29 bomber. During World War II, the B-29 was the primary aircraft used by the United States Army Air Force in the Pacific theater. Its most famous mission was the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which brought an end to the war. However, the B-29 was also responsible for the firebombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. It is for this reason that the B-29 earned the nickname “Angel of Death.”

The B-52 Stratofortress

In the years following World War II, the B-29 was replaced by a new bomber, the B-52 Stratofortress. The B-52 was designed to carry nuclear weapons and serve as a deterrent to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was also used extensively during the Vietnam War, where it was responsible for dropping more than 7 million tons of bombs.

The B-52 is still in use today, and its longevity has earned it a reputation as a reliable workhorse. However, it has also been involved in several high-profile accidents and incidents, including the 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash, where a B-52 carrying two nuclear bombs broke up in mid-air, and one of the bombs fell to the ground, narrowly avoiding detonation.

Despite its many successes, the B-52 has also earned the “Angel of Death” nickname due to the death and destruction it has caused over the years.

The AH-64 Apache

While the B-29 and B-52 were both bombers, the “Angel of Death” nickname has also been applied to attack helicopters, most notably the AH-64 Apache. The Apache was introduced in the early 1980s and quickly became a vital asset to the U.S. Army. It was used extensively during the Gulf War, where it was responsible for destroying numerous Iraqi tanks and other military vehicles.

However, the Apache has also been involved in several incidents where it has caused civilian casualties. One such incident occurred in 2007 in Baghdad, where an Apache helicopter attacked a group of Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists. The incident was captured on video and sparked international outrage.


In conclusion, the “Angel of Death” nickname has been applied to several aircraft over the years, including the B-29, B-52, and AH-64 Apache. While each of these aircraft has played a vital role in military operations, they have also been responsible for death and destruction, earning them the ominous nickname. As technology continues to advance and new aircraft are developed, it remains to be seen whether any new planes will earn this foreboding moniker.

What Aircraft is the Angel of Death?
Scroll to top