Flying was not the relatively mundane commute that it is today, but an adventure into an unexplored realm, a victory over gravity that was long though to be impossible. Flying machines were not the shiny, high-technology Cool Planes we regularly see in the sky nowadays, but fabulous contraptions cobbled together by Mad Scientists, sporting lots of spinny bits, belching smoke and fire, risky and magnificent. This trope is for all Flying Machines that reflect this aesthetic, and this romantic way of looking at human flight. It is most usually found in Steam Punk and Raygun Gothic works, but may also have a place in Fantasy and even Historical Fiction. In more fantasy-oriented works, Sky Pirates may make use of Those Magnificent Flying Machines to plough the ocean of air in their search for prey. Floating Continents and a World in the Sky may or may not be involved. But don't try to take this trope too far into the realm of fantasy. Letting flight be entirely explained by magic, for example, would not have the same feel or meaning for the story. A flying ship kept airborne by a wizard's spell would not count as an example (though a flying ship that uses magic to drive a hundred tiny propellers very well might). Generally, a Magnificent Flying Machine will have one or several of the following features:Once upon a time
- It will be powered by steam.
- It may have an inordinate number of wings.
- Which may flap.
- And may be far too small to be what's really keeping it aloft.
- It may also have lots of propellers.
- Which may be corkscrew-shaped.
- It will be a clear example of Bamboo Technology.
- Or, sometimes, Magitek.
- It will have an open, fragile-looking frame, possibly with thin canvas wings and lots of machinery visible inside.
- Or its hull may be incredibly heavy-looking, totally un-aerodynamic, and studded with rivets.
- It will have lots of spinning cogs and gears and other shiny moving parts.
- Its designers probably Failed Engineering Forever.
- And yet, against all odds... it will still fly.
- The film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines, Or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 Minutes opens with a brief "history of flight," featuring plenty of improbable and amusing contraptions. The opening credits feature a flotilla of humorous animated examples. The racing airplanes in the movie itself are also examples, and, notably, are all fairly faithful reproductions of actual early aircraft.
- In The Great Race -- a Dueling Film with the above -- the evil Professor Fate uses a small pedal-powered airship to try and drop a bomb on the hero, with predictable results.
- Gil's bat-wing flyer in Girl Genius counts. As do the numerous Cool Airships found throughout the work.
It's a Falling Machine. Very impressive.
- The air-ships in The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello appear to stay in the air solely through reaching a critical mass of Steam Punk.
- The steam-powered, wing-flapping aircraft of Howl's Moving Castle are beautiful examples, including both giant war-planes and small commuter craft.
- The flying machines built by Gadget in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
- Futurama, despite being set in the year 3000, shows flying machines that fit this trope right alongside Flying Cars and Shiny-Looking Spaceships. Bender once referred to the protagonists' Cool Starship as "the Flying Machine", evoking this trope (though their ship is not itself an example).
- Master of the World featured the propeller-studded Albatross.
- Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
- Castle in the Sky is filled with crazy flying things.
Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.