Created By: Lore on November 6, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on December 17, 2013
Troped

Instant Flight Just Add Spinning

Making a rotor-based flying machine from anything that isn't supposed to act as one.

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Page Type:
Trope
The staff wielding Kung-Fu monk follows his Ninja enemy, but suddenly they stand in front of a cliff. The Ninja pulls out some type of parachute and jumps down and our monk is not Made of Iron or at least not enough to shrug of the fall. What is he to do? Add spinning of course! By spinning his staff above his head he'll generate the uplift needed to gently glide down the cliff or, if he is strong enough even to levitate or fly!

Basically this is whenever a character spins something above his or her head to slow a fall or even hover or fly. This trope excludes anything made to be used like that, since that would just be a flying machine with an odd look or functionality. The same goes for MacGyvering something, since that just constitutes a weird, but still made for that purpose flying machine.

Sub-Trope of Everything's Better with Spinning, Super Trope to Heli Critter and Helicopter Hair. Contrast Helicopter Blender, where there is improvisation with an actual helicopter.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Dragon Ball a young Son Goku uses his tail to fly and avoid touching the ground outside the ring in the first Tournament Arc. He also used his Staff as a rotor repeatedly.
  • One Piece
    • Miss Valentine's Kilo Kilo Fruit power allows her to make her body lighter. While being light, she can spin her umbrella to fly.
    • Buffalo of Donquixote Pirates uses Spin Spin Fruit power to spin things on his body, allowing him to fly. He notably spins his odd dreadlock hair and the juttings on his shoes to make himself a biplane.

Comic Books
  • In older comics, The Mighty Thor flew by throwing his hammer and holding on. To hover he'd spin his hammer around over his head.
  • A few Cow And Boy strips involved Billy inventing a flying technique called "Man-Copter", which involves him attaching some slabs of wood to his arms and wrapping a piece of string around himself, which Cow then pulls, which allows Billy to take off like a helicopter.

Film

Live-Action TV

Video Games
  • Dixie Kong and Tiny Kong from the Donkey Kong series hover by whipping their hair.
  • Kirby
    • The title character's whip ability has an attack that makes him spin the whip around, elevating him, but unlike the lance variation he doesn't have much control over his movement.
    • In Kirbys Return To Dreamland, Waddle Dee can use his lance for this effect by spinning it rapidly above him, using it to hover for a little time. Kirby can do the same if he has the lance copy ability.
  • In Chrono Trigger the staff-wielding mooks in the Kingdom of Zeal could use their staves as rotors to hover.
  • In Super Smash Bros., all the different Links use their spin slash attack as a recovery move, making them go upwards when performed in the air.
    • Almost every character with a spinning move uses it either as their official B-Up third jump or can at least use it to hover, Mario Tornado, Spinning Kong, Spin Attack, Whirling Fortress etc.
  • Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog flies by spinning his signature two tails.
  • Yoshimitsu from SoulCalibur can do this to set up a Sword Plant.
  • In games based of off the 2003 series and the 2007 movie, Michelangelo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can hover by spinning his nunchakus.
  • Deku Link from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask can fly using propeller-like flowers.
  • The titular Earthworm Jim can spin his worm head to slow his fall or extend his jumps.

Web Comics
  • Awkward Zombie has a take on how Doduo, a flying Pokemon with no wings, can fly using this trope.

Western Animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Aang has the added advantage of airbending, but he uses his Gliderstaff for this purpose numerous times.
    • Played with in Sokka's Master. Sokka tries out different weapons and spins a lance above his head. It flies away after a short time.
  • Apple Bloom of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic can twirl a Loop De Hoop on her tail fast enough to turn it into a helicopter. She doesn't do the trick without the hoop, and it may have been a one-off due to "The Cutie Pox."
  • Classic Disney Shorts
    • In "Chef Donald", Donald Duck has to deal with waffle mix that has rubber cement in it, making it all rubbery. As he tries to stir the spoon just twists the mix, and when it unwinds the whole bowl takes off and dives after Donald.
    • In "How To Play Baseball", pitcher Goofy spins his arm too fast during the wind-up and takes off like a helicopter.
  • The Flash used his arms as a helicopter in an episode of Justice League Unlimited.
  • Japeth the Crazy-Prepared Goat in Hoodwinked has a pair of spinning horns that he uses as helicopter rotors to escape from an off-the-rails mine cart.

Community Feedback Replies: 62
  • November 6, 2011
    TonyG
    Using one's tail may be covered by Heli Critter.
  • November 6, 2011
    Lore
    It obviously overlaps, but it only covers Animals, so stuff like the Dragonball example is not covered imho.
  • November 6, 2011
    andycyca
    I'm not sure if that Flintstones episode would fall into this (the one where Barney invented a flying device which needed Fred to flap his arms in order to actually fly)
  • November 6, 2011
    KZN02
  • November 7, 2011
    Lore
    ^^ It doesn't fall under this trope, it is meant to exclusively cover helicopterisms ;) ^ built in :)
  • November 7, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Bugs Bunny has used his ears as a helicopter, as has Snoopy.
    • Aang, the Avatar The Last Airbender has an advantage with airbending but does this with his staff and his glider (which are the same piece of equipment).
  • November 7, 2011
    randomsurfer
    .
  • November 7, 2011
    Lore
    I think the Bugs Bunny thing falls squarely under Heli Critter. I'll edit the Tail stuff out, since it has is own trope.
  • November 20, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Apple Bloom of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic can twirl a Loop De Hoop on her tail fast enough to turn it into a helicopter. She doesn't do the trick without the hoop, and it may have been a one-off due to "The Cutie Pox."
  • November 22, 2011
    TBeholder
  • November 22, 2011
    Lore
    Thanks, wasn't entirely sure about the hierarchy. Since Heli Critter and Helicopter Hair are closely related, I'd guess the same goes for both.
  • November 28, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In older comics, The Mighty Thor flew by throwing his hammer and holding on. To hover he'd spin his hammer around over his head.
  • December 8, 2011
    Elbruno
    • In Kirbys Return To Dreamland, Waddle Dee can use his lance for this effect by spining it rapidly above him, using it to hover for a little time. Kirby can do the same if he has the lance copy ability.
      • Kirby's whip ability has an attack that makes him spin the whip around, elevating him, but unlike the lance variation he doesn't have much control over his movement.
    • In Super Smash Bros, all the different Links use their spin slash attack as a recovery move, making them go upwards when performed in the air.
  • December 11, 2011
    Elbruno
    Bump
  • December 12, 2011
    Frank75
    See also Helicopter Hair.
  • December 12, 2011
    Lore
    The relationship to other spinning-tropes is already indicated in the last line
  • December 22, 2011
    moocow1452
    Ape Escape has it's spinny hover stick thing.
  • December 23, 2011
    Lore
    ^ Is that an actual prop or is it designed specifically for flying? Because stuff made to be used like that isn't this trope
  • December 23, 2011
    hevendor717
    Yoshimitsu from Soul Calibur can do this to set up a Sword Plant.
  • December 23, 2011
    Lore
    I'm not sure, but I think he could do the same in Tekken. Does anyone remember clearly if he could or couldn't
  • December 23, 2011
    TonyG
    • Classic Disney Shorts:
      • In "Chef Donald", Donald Duck has to deal with waffle mix that has rubber cement in it, making it all rubbery. As he tries to stir the spoon just twists the mix, and when it unwinds the whole bowl takes off and dives after Donald.
      • In "How To Play Baseball", pitcher Goofy spins his arm too fast during the wind-up and takes off like a helicopter.
  • December 24, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    That name is really awkward. It seems to be clever just for the sake of it.

    And I keep seeing "teleprompter" whenever I look at it.
  • December 24, 2011
    Lore
    How is something clever just for the sake of it? I actually thought the naming was almost too easy with this one, though I will of course change it, if the majority decides I should. Could you maybe elaborate on what your problems with the name are, so I can better understand, where you're coming from?
  • December 24, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Shoehorning "prop" in "helicopter", without thinking how awkward it would be to type or remember.
  • December 25, 2011
    Lore
    Not my opinion, but it's officially up for discussion now, everyone: suggest away ;) Given the close relations to Heli Critter and Helicopter Hair, Helicopter Prop or Helicopter Staff suggest themselves, the later is too limited, the other one even more awkward imho.
  • December 26, 2011
    JonnyB
    Neo makes a move like this in The Matrix Reloaded, with a metal pole in the fight with all the Smiths.
  • December 26, 2011
    Omeganian
  • December 26, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Improvised Helicopter?

    Or Impossibly Improvised Helicopter, since it's things that cannot make a helicopter effect.
  • January 4, 2012
    Lore
    So... I guess this is up to any fellow troper with an opinion on the matter... so... discuss away guys ;) As I said, I don't really see a fault in the current title, but I'll listen to arguments.
  • January 6, 2012
    acrobox
    i put together a YKTTW a little while ago with the same premise and the name Improv Helicopter. all for combining under this: A supertrope to Helicopter Hair and Heli Critter

    Often times in cartoons or other unrealistic media characters will be able to simulate flight simply by spinning really fast. It could be a part of their body, usually something long and floppy like ears or a tail, or their whole body, or even holding onto a small object that spins.

    While some characters can actual fly by this method, many others will be able to hover at a given altitude or at least glide and slow their descent.

    Examples
    • The Flash used his arms as a helicopter in an episode of Justice League Unlimited.
    • A few Cow And Boy strips involved Billy inventing a flying technique called "Man-Copter", which involves him attaching some slabs of wood to his arms and wrapping a piece of string around himself, which Cow then pulls, which allows Billy to take off like a helicopter.
    • Tails from Sonic The Hedgehog flies by spinning his signature two tails
    • Dixie Kong and Tiny Kong from the Donkey Kong series hover by whipping thier hair
    • in games based of off the 2003 series and the 2007 movie, Michelango of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can hover by spinning his nunchakus
    • Super Smash Bros, almost every character with a spinning move uses it either as their official B-Up third jump or can at least use it to hover, Mario Tornado, Spinning Kong, Spin Attack, Whirling Fortress etc.
    • Awkward Zombie has a take on how Doduo, a flying Pokemon with no wings, can fly using this trope.
  • January 7, 2012
    Lore
    Worked in your examples, changed the title, so we've got that out of our way. I took out the genre restrictions from your description, since we do have two live action examples. Might need a better laconic. If there's nothing else, we're off to find us some hats ;)
  • January 14, 2012
    acrobox
    Deku Link from Majoras Mask can fly using propeller like Flowers
  • February 12, 2012
    spudwalt
    If I recall, some of Dalton's mooks in Chrono Trigger (the staff-wielding guys in the Kingdom of Zeal) could use their staves as rotors to hover at a couple points.
  • February 13, 2012
    SilentReverence
    Is the Matrix example actually an example? In-matrix Neo already has crazy flying/levitation powers; if anything, he was swinging the pole awesomely to build momentum and fling Smiths away like pinball balls if I recall.
  • February 18, 2012
    Lore
    ^ Just reviewed the scene and you were right. The only time Neo actually leaves the ground while wielding the pole he seemed to be jumping, so I took it out, though I guess one could call YMMV on this particular example either way...
  • February 21, 2012
    JonnyB
    In Batman Returns, the Penguin uses a spinning umbrella (the fabric comes off and it's just the metal skeleton spinning) as a helicopter to make an escape.
  • February 21, 2012
    Lore
    ^ I'd think this would be excluded on the grounds of being made for that exact purpose, and therefore being more of a flying machine with built in umbrella function ;) Thanks for contributing anyway :)
  • April 20, 2012
    Statalyzer
    I agree with Lore.

    Here's what should really happen - all of the tropes where spinning somehow creates a helicopter flying powers should be one trope. Ear helicopters, rope helicopters, and hair helicopters are all the same trope, not 3 separate tropes. And that one trope is a subtrope of Everythings Better With Spinning.
  • April 30, 2012
    acrobox
    I agree with Statlyzer

    they can be like Type A, B, C, etc if we feel the need to distinguish them, but they're basically the same thing
  • May 1, 2012
    Lore
    Thanks to both of you for helping to get the whole trope hierarchy thing cleaned up. Any additions for this particular description or is the one sentence dealing with it good enough? Should we take Heli Critter und Helicopter Hair to the repair shop or just leave them be and create this one as a supertrope?
  • July 5, 2012
    fulltimeD
    Music: "This one's for North Carolina, come on and raise up, take your shirt off twist it 'round your head, spin it like a helicoptah!" - Petey Pablo, "Raise Up"
  • January 11, 2013
    Lore
    Did anyone take off and fly? If they didn't it's not an example ;)
  • January 11, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    • At the end of The Great Mouse Detective, Basil falls along with Ratigan off of Big Ben. He grabs a piece of Ratigan's crashed zeppelin with him, but luckily it turns out to be the propellor, which he uses as a bicycle-helicopter to save himself.
  • February 16, 2013
    electronshock
    in The Brave Little Toaster goes to mars, the cast makes a helicopter/spaceship out of a fan, a laundry basket, and a microwave.
  • February 16, 2013
    elwoz
    I'm a little confused about whether this includes Mac Gyvering a helicopter out of whatever's handy, or whether it has to be "somehow manually spins a long thin thing very fast and achieves flight."

    If Mac Gyvering counts, then, a Literature example:

    • In Bridge Of Birds, Li Kao constructs a Bamboo Technology helicopter -- powered by gunpowder rockets -- so that he and his friends can escape from a castle in the middle of a volcano.
  • February 21, 2013
    IsaacSapphire
    If improbably improvised helicopters count, then the one that the Professor makes in a Vegi Tales short (one based on Gilligans Island) "entirely out of bamboo and coconuts!"
  • February 22, 2013
    Kellor
    Earthworm Jim: Jim can spin his worm head around like a propeller to slow his descent and extend his jumps.
  • April 22, 2013
    lunaleven
    What about improvised flying machines that don't involve spinning?
  • August 11, 2013
    clockworkboy
    Compare Improvised Sail.And also you should add that the amount of time you can stay in the air with an Improvised Helecopter may sometimes depend on how fast and long you can twirl it.
  • October 22, 2013
    foxley
    In The Great Mouse Detective, Basil uses the pedal powered propeller from Ratigan's dirigible as a helicopter after he falls off the clock tower.
  • October 23, 2013
    DAN004
    Contrast Helicopter Blender when helis are used as improvised blender.

    Subtrope of Just For The Heli Of It.
  • October 23, 2013
    Koveras
    • Japeth the Crazy Prepared Goat in Hoodwinked has a pair of spinning horns that he uses as helicopter rotors to escape from an off-the-rails mine cart.
  • October 23, 2013
    DAN004
    So Improvised Helicopter is confused for actual helicopter made out of spare parts, eh?

    So I'd suggest Instant Flight Just Spin Things or When Things Spin Flight Happens. Or Instant Heli Just Spin Things?

    Anyways, example
    • In One Piece, Miss Valentine's Kilo Kilo Fruit power allows her to make her body lighter. While being light, she can spin her umbrella to fly.
      • Buffalo of Donquixote Pirates uses Spin Spin Fruit power to spin things on his body, allowing him to fly. He notably spins his odd dreadlock hair and the juttings on his shoes to make himself a biplane.
  • December 15, 2013
    Lore
    I added improbability to the title, I hope this clears up, that Mac Gyvering does not count. Still looking for that final hat ;)
  • December 15, 2013
    Tuckerscreator
    There are a lot of examples in the comments that have been left out. Once those are included, I will give the final hat.
  • December 15, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced the examples.

    EDIT: By the way, since Weblinks Are Not Examples, the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers example is lacking context.
  • December 16, 2013
    Lore
    Thanks for that. The Power Rangers example might need discussing

    ^^ Most of the examples not worked in at this point are not the trope on account ef either beeing flying machines or because Mac Gyvering does not count, I'll look into it though.

    Not sure this is at all related to Just For The Heli Of It, since it does not involve actual helis. Same goes for Improvised Sail, since that seems to be more af a Mac Gyvering thing.
  • December 16, 2013
    DAN004
  • December 16, 2013
    Lore
    Might be a bit cookie cutter-ish this way, but we have many tropes with names like these, so it should fit well enough
  • December 16, 2013
    arbiter099
    Has a bad case of Example As Thesis
  • December 16, 2013
    KZN02
  • December 17, 2013
    Arivne
    Deleted a Circular Link in the description and corrected a bunch of spelling and punctuation errors.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=tkqirspjbjmefpiq48k48hpo&trope=InstantFlightJustAddSpinning