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[[quoteright:350:[[UltimateMarvel http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/UM_Helicarrier_1799.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Next we build Airborne Aircraft Carrier ''[[SerialEscalation carrier!]]'']]

->''"My, who would've imagined a floating aircraft carrier?"''
--> -- '''Lloyd Asplund''', ''Anime/CodeGeass''

Flight has always fascinated humanity. First came legends of {{Winged Humanoid}}s and {{Floating Continent}}s, then eventually [[UsefulNotes/{{Airships}} airships]] and actual airplanes. When the aircraft carrier was invented, its [[RuleOfCool sheer awesome]] (and force projection) made the battleship a military relic. Considering this, is it any surprise that people have wanted to combine the awesome of the airplane, aircraft carrier, zeppelin and floating continent into one?

Well, the result of this daydreaming is the Airborne Aircraft Carrier! This is a step above the simple boat most video games use to ferry the player around; it is a literal mobile floating fortress and airport, capable of raining DeathFromAbove like few fictional {{Military Mashup Machine}}s. At its most basic, it serves as a refueling station like an island in the sky; a carrier; add some guns to make it a combination battleship; and if you're into that sort of thing, [[HumongousMecha robot transformations]]. A similar concept on a smaller scale is the usage of parasite aircraft piggybacking on larger ones.

As listed below, [[TruthInTelevision this one was attempted several times in real life]]. So far, it's only really worked with [[UsefulNotes/{{Airships}} airships,]] which are the only thing stable enough to link with the planes, not to mention have the lift and size necessary to house internal aircraft hangars. Airplane aircraft "carriers" thus far have found it too difficult for the aircraft return to the mothership to be considered [[AwesomeButImpractical practical,]] often resulting in the deaths of test pilots that tried and/or damage to both airplanes. Storage is also an issue; the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XF-85_Goblin Goblin,]] for example, was ridiculously squat in order to fit inside a bomber plane, making it largely useless as a fighter. Oftentimes the planes were simply [[http://www.sciencephoto.com/image/363321/350wm/V3200240-Soviet_bomber_with_parasite_fighters_1935-SPL.jpg festooned all over the mothership like Christmas decorations]], which was problematic for obvious reasons.

If it's a LivingShip, it's probably also a LivingGasbag, since flapping wings would be awkward on something this size. Compare to TheBattlestar, which is this with heavy armament of its own and [[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE]]! Occasionally part of a StandardSciFiFleet.

----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* The ''Arcus Prima'', ''Messis'', and assorted enemy vessels from ''{{Simoun}}''.
* ''Anime/KotetsuJeeg'': {{Orochi}}, a flying fortress shaped like the mythological beast. It has several serpent-like heads can move and attack independantly.
* The ''Silvana'' from ''LastExile'' and every other major battleship in the anime, including the ''Urbanus'', although their use of vanships (airplane analogues) is more akin to battleships and cruisers before WWII carrying seaplane scouts - ''Silvana'' was specifically built for vanship operations and using them as part of its offense and defense. The ships powered by antimatter, which they find lying around on the beaches. This makes sense in context.
* ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'': The carrier in ''{{Macross}} Zero'' was a regular carrier made airborne by alien weirdness.
* The ''{{Mazinger}}'' saga:
** ''Anime/MazingerZ'': Ghoul, a flying fortress commanded by [[CoDragons Count Brocken]]. It had capability for housing a large number of troops [[{{Mook}} Brocken's Iron Cross soldiers]], dozens of combat jets and [[{{Robeast}} Mechanical Beasts]], and it could mask itself from radar devices, fly at high altitude and spend several months airborne without needing landing.
** ''Anime/GreatMazinger'': Mykeros and later Demonika, [[AbusivePrecursors Mykene]] [[TheEmpire Empire's]] flying fortress. All of them were flying fortresses with formidable attack powress and capability to store several [[{{Robeast}} War Beasts]].
** ''Anime/UFORoboGrendizer'': [[AlienInvasion The Vegan Empire]] had a huge number of oval-shaped carriers to spearhead their inter-planetary conquest campaigns that were armed with missiles and laser beams and were used to store [[{{Robeast}} Saucer Beasts and Vega Beasts]] and mini-ufos. Some aircrafts belonging to several of the CoDragons were named, like Blaki's Motherburn, Minister Zuril's Warrior Mothership...
** ''Anime/{{Mazinkaiser}}'': Ghoul, Mykeros and Demonika showed up in this series.
* The ''Gekko'' from ''EurekaSeven'', as well as the military carriers like the ''Izumo'' and several other vessels. This is one of the few media in which doing so made sense beyond the RuleOfCool, because the surface has no oceans and the land is extremely craggy and prone to shifting and the planet releases [[MinovskyPhysics convenient particles]] called trapar that keep them airborne, so they only need fuel to move forward. Curiously though, their speed is usually very low, only around one or two hundred kilometers. Even their small high speed ships go only 500 or so kilometers an hour.
* The ''Anime/RobotRomanceTrilogy'':
** ''Anime/CombattlerV'': Several of them: Graydon's was TheDragon Garuda's personal aircraft, and its specs included slave monster production, missiles from its top, levitation even underwater, an underside tractor beam, teleportation, a buzzsaw hidden in one of six wings, and a pink heat ray; Bromber, Warchamides' attack saucer it had capability to levitate even underwater, an underside tractor beam, yellow eye lasers, and missile launchers at the midsection; and Santomagma, BigBad Empress Janera's warship used in the final episode. It was heavily armour-plated and its capabilities included tornadoes from its underside, spike missiles from the carapace, mouth flamethrower, freezing wind from front and side mouths, launch-able front and side heads, fangs strong enough to break a MadeOfIndestructium HumongousMecha, and laser beam bolts from all four heads.
** ''Anime/VoltesV'': Boazanian Flagships, Zeltan and Sugoshin Godor, all of them equiped with formidable weapons and even DeflectorShields.
** ''Anime/{{Daimos}}'': Guranrol and Cobrard. Both could carry around combat troops and several [[{{Robeast}} Mecha Soldiers]]. The first was equipped with giant missiles and four giant blades that could be turned in giant spinning cutters. The second was equiped with four-headed cobras that fired green lasers and a turret shot tinier missiles.
* The Imperial Capital in ''SamuraiSeven'', which is along the same lines as the above, except it doesn't transform.
* The ''Banshee'' units from ''Franchise/SentouYouseiYukikaze''. It was specifically mentioned in the novels that it was assembled in low-earth orbit and is never meant to land on the ground. Correspondingly, it is nigh-on ''gigantic'', presumably powered by nuclear reactors to keep it flying indefinitely, and is shown to shrug off just about any attack short of a tactical nuclear warhead.
* The Dai-Gunten in ''TengenToppaGurrenLagann''.
* The Blue Typhoon in ''SonicX''.
* The Avalon in ''Anime/CodeGeass'' and several other ships, most notably the Ikaruga which was initially a ''submarine''.
** The Submarine and the Ikaruga are actually two separate ships, despite the common misconception. The Ikaruga, rather, is actually built from scratch with the Gawain's weapons tacked on.
*** That said, the Ikaruga ''does'' have a submersible mode.
** Hey, the Damocles counts too! Even though it's shaped like a huge anchor. And is [[TheBattlestar loaded to the brim]] with [[SphereofDestruction FLEIJA warheads]].
* The ''Goliath'', and to a lesser extent the ''Tiger Moth'', from ''CastleInTheSky''
** Although they are conceptionally very different: The ''Tiger Moth'' relies solely on its smaller aircrafts for combat whereas the ''Goliath'' is not shown to carry fighters but has enough guns and infantry on board to invade a small country (or ancient airborne city state).
* ''Franchise/{{Gundam}}'' loves this trope, almost every Gundam show/manga features a Sky carrier, (Usually, but not limited to the 'Main' protagonist's ship) which often times doubles as a space ship, a sea ship, and in some cases, even a submarine. And is often times [[MilitaryMashupMachine a fusion]] of Aircraft Carriers and [[CoolBoat Battleships]](Because Anime producers will never let the era of the [[CoolBoat Battleship]] end.)
** The Gaw and and Garuda class ships from the ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam''. The White Base itself counts when operating on Earth.
** Same goes for the Argama in ''[[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Zeta Gundam]]''
** And the Endra class in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ''.
** ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam00 Gundam 00]]'''s Ptolemaios II is all of the above in an early episode of season two it dives from orbit down into the ocean.
* The Iron Wing, from ''Franchise/FinalFantasy: Legend of the Crystals''.
* ''StrikeWitches'' has one as the final opponent of the first season.
* The [[LaResistance Lost Millennium]] from Anime/{{Fractale}} have airships that carry smaller, faster airships.
* The Saint Nazaire and its sistership Calisto from the CGI animated serie ''Skyland''. Each ship houses a group of 10 small fighter aircrafts called Mosquitos. Their opponents, an organisation called The Sphere, also uses a weird kind of airborne aircraft carrier. It is a huge ''vertical'' mothership called The Monolith, which holds a large amount of fighter aircrafts and troops. And if you think that was all, The Sphere's home base is a truly enormous cubic shaped flying fortress that even dwarfes The Monolith. Speaking about size...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The Helicarriers, iconic headquarters of the spy organization ComicBook/{{SHIELD}} in the MarvelUniverse.
** The Aeromarine, belonging to SHIELD knock-off/parody organization HATE in ''{{Nextwave}}'', probably counts as well, despite appearing to be an airborne ''submarine''. In fact, ''dozens'' of submarines ''welded together''. We've yet to determine whether this is cool or not, it could frankly go either way.
* The Gull Wing from ''ComicBook/GoldDigger'' is so enormous that it isn't able to actually land, and processes clouds for hydrogen to keep its engines running perpetually (presumably there are other types of generators to make the necessary energy expenditure feasible).
* In the ''GIJoe[=/=]TransformersGeneration2'' crossover from the early nineties, Slice (a ninja working for Cobra) comments that the Ark (the Autobots' starship) is bigger than an aircraft carrier, but still flying.
** Come to think of it, does this count when the aircraft ''are'' the crew?
** In a weird sense, the triple changer Broadside. He changes into both an aircraft carrier and a fighter jet.
* The villains in the 1984 miniseries ''CrashRyan'' had a gigantic prop-driven airplane that itself carried a large number of planes.
* Used by the Lord of Lightning in Creator/DCComics 2010 ''DocSavage'' series.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* The ''Spirit of Adventure'' from ''WesternAnimation/{{Up}}''. It actually draws inspiration from a RealLife example (see folder below)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The British in ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'' have parlayed their naval supremacy into a literal fleet of Airborne Aircraft Carriers.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' features an odd example with the Valkyrie, a massive airplane with rear facing propellers on its wings built by the Red Skull and HYDRA. It turns out that each "propeller" is actually a detachable mini-fighter plane, with either jet engines or rockets keeping it aloft. Based on real-life designs, however -- see below.
* ''Film/TheAvengers'' features the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier in all its glory. Captain America, fresh from the '40s, claims that nothing will surprise him. He's proven wrong when he sees it liftoff into the sky.
* The Helicarrier returns in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'', now with rocket thrusters instead of the propellors it previously used. It's also in mass-production.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In a recent ''BattleTech'' Technical Readout "Technical Readout: Vehicle Annex" a Airship Fighter carrier capable of carrying approximately 6 Fighters was introduced.
* OlderThanTelevision: PulpMagazine superspy ''{{Operator 5}}'' confronted an AirborneAircraftCarrier in the 1930's. That AirborneAircraftCarrier was merely a large platform supported by balloons.
* Phillip Reeve's ''MortalEngines'' quartet features Airhaven, an entire town suspended from hot air balloons and gas cells, which serves as a hub for many air traders.
* '70s novel ''A Game of Titans'' pits the RealLife Soviet aircraft carrier ''Kiev'' against the USAF nuclear-powered airship ''Grand Eagle''. The airship carries a contingent of Harriers. It also has cruise missiles and lasers.
* In DaleBrown novels, although at first only single-use submunition-bearing (semi)autonomous cruise missiles are demonstrated, books from ''Air Battle Force'' onward show modified transport planes and bombers carrying mini Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles and, yes, the things ''do'' rejoin with their motherships for refueling and rearming while both are in flight.
* Deconstructed (along with various other GerryAnderson tropes) in the ''Series/DoctorWho Literature/PastDoctorAdventures'' novel "The Indestructible Man" by Simon Messingham. SKYHOME is derided as a pollution-spewing technological white elephant that uses the power of a small country just to remain stable (it has a tendency to lurch at unpredictable moments, sending equipment everywhere) and is too expensive to break up, yet can't be allowed to degrade for fear it'll crash on everyone's head.
* Played a bit uniquely in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'', where Tobias serves as the trope, carrying the other Animorphs in bug morph and then dropping them off someplace for a mission.
* The ekranoplan aircraft carrier from Creator/CharlesStross' "Missile Gap" technically counts. (Ekranoplans are ground-effect-vehicles, and thus fly only at ''very'' low altitudes.)
* In the ''GotrekAndFelix'' novels, the airship ''Spirit of Grungni'' can launch gyrocopters as scouts or attack craft.
* In ''Literature/SonicTheHedgehogInRobotniksLaboratory'' Sonic and Tails revisit Wing Fortress from ''Sonic2''. After making is self destruct the find that Robotnik is already in the middle of building a new one.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/DoctorWho'', the UNIT carrier ''Valiant'' is large enough for '''Air Force One''' to land on it -- in comparison, real world aircraft carriers barely have enough clearance for their fighters to land safely, with carrier landings being described as "controlled crashes". [[spoiler:It also mounts a [[WaveMotionGun giant laser cannon]] that helped UNIT fend off against the Sontarans]]. Also of note is that it was designed by Harold Saxon, a.k.a. [[spoiler:The Master]]. Sad to say, for all its awesomeness, it was not up to [[spoiler:fending off a full-scale Dalek attack in the next season, and was destroyed]].
* A pilot for a ''ComicBook/NickFury'' television series was filmed starring David Hasselhoff. It naturally included the Helicarrier.
* The ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'' spin-off show ''Series/{{Caprica}}'' features these in a virtual manner. In the show there is a "VirtualReality" video game called ''New Cap City'' that is ''Videogame/GrandTheftAuto'' meets ''SinCity'' in a historical sim. One of the more persistent threats in the game world are giant Zepplins that launch everything from early-model Vipers to Gyrocopters, all raining DeathFromAbove. One might even go so far as to call them an Airship Galactica.
* The X-303 (Prometheus) from ''Series/StargateSG1'' acted like this in the battle over Antarctica.
* The Biodragon from ''Series/ChoudenshiBioman'', a large aircraft which opens to launch Biojet 1 & 2, which form the [[HumongousMecha BioRobo]]
** This trope was extensively used in various Super Sentai from Series/BattleFeverJ to Series/ChoujuuSentaiLiveman.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinballs]]
* Creator/ZenStudios' ''[[VideoGame/TheAvengersZenStudios The Avengers]]'' DigitalPinballTable takes place on the SHIELD Helicarrier.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* Spectrum's Cloudbase from the original ''Series/CaptainScarletAndTheMysterons'', and Skybase from the CGI reboot ''WesternAnimation/GerryAndersonsNewCaptainScarlet''. Almost certainly inspired ''Valiant'' from ''Doctor Who'', mentioned above.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Have cropped up now and then in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' fluff, such as in the GauntsGhosts book "The Guns of Tanith".
** [[http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Harridan Tyranid Harridans]] are a biological version, carrying large numbers of smaller gargoyles over long distances.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' {{Magitek}} settings:
** ''TabletopGame/{{Mystara}}'' has the Flying City of Serraine, a mobile airborne city-state with its own {{Magitek}} air force, the Top Ballista squadrons. Skygnome-built versions of WWI-era fighter planes launch from the airstrip mounted along the edge of the city, kept aloft by fantasy physics, tactically supported by winged centaurs and venom-clawed monkeys, and occasionally imperiled by gremlin saboteurs. Yep, Mystara is a weird freaking' place.
** ''TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}'' has Argonth, a floating fortress, which has docking towers for airships and could potentially launch flying monster cavalry, so it probably counts.
* The FASA game ''CrimsonSkies'', where Zeppelins were used as aircraft carriers in an alternate 1930's.
* ''Glory Days'', the UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo supplement for the ''Brave New World'', roleplaying game included "the Liberty", an airborne aircraft carrier that served as a mobile base for the superpowered Delta Squadron.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', as a world more or less fueled by Rule of Cool, unsurprisingly has a few. The Titan-Class Aerial Citadels, which took the technical prowess and truly epic infrastructure of 300 perfection-powered demigods several centuries to create, were entire floating cities. More or less indestructible, fitted with massive magical lasers, a beam of death that could vaporize a metropolis instantly AND serving as a launching point for many, many Thousand Forged Dragons (which were superweapons in and of themselves), having one of the four that were created attack your country would be rather like the entirety of the United States military force taking on your house.
* VSF miniatures game ''Aeronef'' has these, along with flying battleships, flying cruisers, flying destroyers, etc., etc. Basically, the discovery of various forms of anti-gravity in the mid-to-late Victorian era means that the world's navies basically take to the skies shortly thereafter. With the focus on flying ships, ordinary aviation gets a boost as well, leading to dirigibles ("digs") and powered aircraft in service by the 1880s or thereabouts. Naturally, both "nefs" (anti-grav ships) and digs include carriers.
* ''TabletopGame/YuGiOh'': The Mirage Fortress Enterprisenir was developed as the Mecha Phantom Beasts' flagship aircraft carrier, and now with an aircraft carrier to work from, allowing for a variety of missions, they can now be considered a proper fighting force. Its armed high-output engines that are the best of the best at collecting the quantum energy of the decoys.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* WorldOfWarcraft: The [[http://www.wowpedia.org/The_Skyfire Skyfire]] gets an upgrade into this following the cataclysm, it uses it's gyrocopter compliment to [[CurbStompBattle Sink an entire horde fleet]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Wolfenstein|2009}}'' sports a truly awesome example of this trope. The Nazis use a Zeppelin so incredibly huge, it carries not only airplanes but ''[[UpToEleven other Zeppelins,]]'' in addition to hordes of Nazis and their dimension-warping superweapon.
* The protagonist spends some time on a skyship such as this in ''[[VideoGame/{{Gauntlet}} Gauntlet Dark Legacy]]'''s Sky Dominion world.
* ''Videogame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'' has this disabled by default, but by [[GameMod switching a certain 0 to a 1]] in the "alpha.txt" file, you can add the Carrier Deck to aircraft.
* In ''Videogame/JakAndDaxter 3'', the Krimzon bots have a gigantic floating war factory that can pump out several full sized tanks and UAVs whenever needed.
** ''The Lost Frontier'' also gives us the Phantom Blade and the ACS Behemoth, large airships capable of carrying and deploying smaller fighter craft.
* The go-anywhere Submarine from ''VideoGame/{{Xenogears}}''. It starts out as a land-sub capable of traveling below the desert... then becomes able to sail underwater... and fly... and transform into a gigantic energy-cannon for a city-fortress turned HumongousMecha. Rather than aircraft, it can launch giant robots (Gears).
* Too many shoot-'em-ups to count. Many are airborne aircraft carriers that transport your player ship(s) to the war zone, others are [[BattleshipRaid Boss Fights]]:
** All of the ''{{Raiden}}'' games. The second stage usually has a flying wing carrier as a boss.
** The ''Tetra'' in ''VideoGame/RadiantSilvergun''.
** The ''Sword of Acala'' and the flying Fortress ''Misago'' in ''{{Ikaruga}}''.
* In ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'', Dr. Eggman loves building these.
** In the MasterSystem[=/=]GameGear version of [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog the first game]], the last level, Sky Base Zone, is the franchise's first example of the trope.
** It started showing up in the 16-bit games with ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2'''s Wing Fortress Zone.
** ''[[VideoGame/Sonic3AndKnuckles Sonic 3 & Knuckles]]'' featured Flying Battery Zone as the second level of the expansion.
** The massive Egg Carrier from ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure''. It's also the first one whose abilities other than flying and being really big are shown. It's armed with missile launchers, a fleet of robotic jet fighters, laser cannons (tons of these damn things in Sky Deck), robot staff, transformation capabilities, and to top it all off, a WaveMotionGun. [[spoiler:He has [[CrazyPrepared a second one in reserve, even.]]]]
** In ''VideoGame/SonicHeroes'', he ''really'' ups the ante with an ''entire fleet'', with the flagship being at least as twice as big as the original Egg Carrier, and twice as armed.
** Altitude Limit Zone from the first ''[[VideoGame/SonicRushSeries Sonic Rush]]'' game would be an example if it had some actual structure and was more than a flying rail system. It still has plenty of aircraft, though.
** In ''[[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006 Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)]]'', Eggman uses a redesign of ''Adventure'''s Egg Carrier. It's mostly seen in cutscenes, and there aren't any levels on board, although Sonic's final boss is fought on it.
** The opening of ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'' features a whole fleet of these similar to the ''Heroes'' example, only they're in space. Sonic still [[BatmanCanBreatheInSpace has no trouble destroying them, despite the lack of air]]. The first boss, the Egg Cauldron, is a less exotic example.
** In ''VideoGame/SonicGenerations'', another one of these is seen terrorizing [[VideoGame/SonicUnleashed Spagonia]]. If you're really skilled, you can even destroy it on foot.
** Sky Fortress Zone in ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog4: Episode II'' is very heavily based on the aforementioned [[VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2 Wing Fortress Zone]] (acts 2 and 3) and the level immediately before it, Sky Chase Zone (act 1 and the boss). It also contains elements of [[VideoGame/Sonic3andKnuckles Flying Battery Zone]]
* The ''AceCombat'' flight simulator series usually features superweapons as per its "tradition". Said superweapons often include an airborne aircraft carrier.
** The [=UI-4053=] ''Sphyrna'' from ''[[VideoGame/AceCombat3 Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere]]'' serves as the first example of this. Despite being deployed many decades after other examples below, the Sphyrna is a ''blimp'' and correspondingly, it is relatively tiny in comparison. That being said, it is just as hard to bring down, and while its small size doesn't seem to hold many aircrafts, it holds two of the most important: the ultra-agile UI-4054, an AceCustom for [[BigBad Dision]], and the [[CutscenePowerToTheMax island-sinking]] X-49 Night Raven sought after the game's unwitting {{tykebomb}}, [[IllGirl Rena]]. The damn thing is so tough, most of the game's routes make you fight it in more than one mission until you can finally bring it down for good.
** ''AceCombat6'' has the most triumphant example with Estovakia's kilometer-wide "Aigaion" airborne air-carrier, which takes it a step further by having its own ''airborne fleet'' of equally gigantic flying platforms for both anti-air defense (Gyges) and electronics warfare (Kottos). At the start of the mission where you have to [[BattleshipRaid shoot it down]], it's seen undergoing mid-air refueling [[http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130719220507/acecombat/images/6/68/P-1112_Aigaion.jpg by no less than six tanker aircraft]], each of which looks small enough to be sucked into Aigaion's humongous air intakes for its gigantic engine arrays. Even better, the Aigaion is usually home to Strigon Team, the enemy AcePilot squadron. To top it all off, is also a flying missile launch complex, able to project its overwhelming anti-air firepower over very long distances. Of course, when push comes to shove, it doesn't hesitate in spamming said missiles on you, point-blank ranges be damned.
*** The Belkan XB-0 ''Hresvelgr'' from ''[[VideoGame/AceCombatZero Ace Combat Zero]]'' is a super-massive bomber. Although it was yet able to carry and launch aircrafts, the series mythology states that technology used was eventually evolved and perfected over the course of two decades to manufacture Aigaion, making the Hresvelgr a forerunner of sorts. To hammer the point home, even the man who designed both aircraft shows up as an enemy ace during the mission where you have to shoot Aigaion down.
** For varying definitions of "aircraft carrier", ''[[VideoGame/AceCombat5 Ace Combat 5]]'' has the Arkbird, a gigantic blended wing body spacecraft capable of short atmospheric flights. The Arkbird can launch [=UAVs=] for self-defense, but was originally built for peaceful purposes until the escalation of war see it increasingly militarized.
* Nearly all Zeppelins in the ''CrimsonSkies'' series also serve as aircraft carriers, most notably ''Pandora'', Nathan Zachary's flagship.
* And before ''Crimson Skies'', there was ''AirPower: Battle in the Skies'', an alternate universe flight sim where the player is one of four nobles trying to gain control of the empire after the death of the old emperor. The tools at the player's disposal are a fleet of combat zeppelins, including an aircraft carrier that serves as the player's flagship.
* True to its ''Film/IndependenceDay'' homage roots, the Aeon's experimental saucer from ''VideoGame/SupremeCommander'' does both this and packs a core-based death beam. The downside is it's rather fragile, and relies a great deal on its flying complement to protect it and draw fire.
* ''[[VideoGame/{{Battlefield}} Battlefield 2142]]'' has Titans, flying bases that are the center of a certain gamemode. The goal is to bring the enemy Titan down either by missiles launched from silos on the ground, or by invading it and destroying vital elements. The Titans launch fighter craft and dropships from their decks.
* The Protoss in ''Videogame/StarCraft'' have Carriers, which can maintain a fleet of Interceptor ships which are used to attack both ground and air units. The Carriers, however, break the pattern ever so slightly by only launching minuscule unmanned ships, visibly smaller than a single-man fighter.
** Then again, [[UnitsNotToScale since a motorbike is longer than a fighter, and a tank is about half as long as a battlecruiser in-game]], [[AcceptableBreaksFromReality we should really not judge sizes by the unit models]].
** For ''Videogame/StarCraft2'' the Terrans were going to have an upgrade for the Starport called the [[http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Star_base#StarCraft_II Starbase]], which was basically a permanently flying Starport that could still create all their air units. Sadly, the building was cut from the final build of the game.
** Terran Battlecruisers are often treated as this in the novels.
* The Halberd from the ''{{Kirby}}'' series, which makes a return both as a stage and a plot element in ''SuperSmashBros Brawl''.
* The Scrin Planetary Assault Carrier from ''CommandAndConquer'' should count, though in its case its literally nothing more than an engine, a control system, and a long, narrow span connecting the two that is lines with dozens of drone fighters that swarm over anything they see. Powerful enough that it can challenge the other ''Tiberium Wars'' GameBreaker, the GDI Mammoth Tank.
** It actually has a rather good attack of its own, but most people overlook it. The thing can create an Ion Storm around it, giving it an immediate-area attack field. The storm also buffs up any other Scrin aircraft around it. The Mammoth stands no chance.
* Most of the battleships from ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'' house small hordes of HumongousMecha as well as a few fighters, and at least one is secretly a TransformingMecha itself.
* Little-known game ''VideoGame/ProjectNomads'' has you flying about in a [[FloatingContinent small gravity-defying mass of land]] on which you can build hangars that, in turn, build and deploy small fighters. The fighters can be controlled by yourself or left to their own devices, but it's wiser to take control because otherwise they tend to charge headlong into massed defense fire.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', the ''Bahamut'' as well as the heavy carrier class airships (such as the ''Leviathan'') use these as well. The ''Bahamut'' deploys ''Valefor''-class fighters as a means of offense against Resistance forces while the Mist cannon is charging, and heavy cruisers often deploy, among other things, ''Atomos''-class transport ships, as well as the aforementioned ''Valefor''-class on the Archadian side, unnamed fighters on the Resistance side.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' has the ''Lindblum'', which is freaking huge, and the ''Palamecia'' which is even bigger.
* [=TownShip=] in ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireII'' supports a whole flying ''town''.
* The Flying Krock from ''Videogame/DonkeyKongCountry 2''.
* In ''VideoGame/BlazingAngels 2'', [[spoiler: The Final Boss is Project-C, a shielded(!), UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo era(!!), Airborne Aircraft Carrier.]]
* The Great Fox in ''VideoGame/StarFox'' is a rather moderately sized version of this, holding only about six vehicles at most. In one mission in ''VideoGame/StarFox64'', you can even enter it for repairs. Some bosses are also able of launching smaller ships aswell as missiles, such as the Assault Carrier.
** ''VideoGame/StarFox64'' also has the ''Saruzin'', the flagship of Andross' fleet in Sector Y, which transports the Shogun Warlord mecha-suit into the boss battle. It continues moving until it reaches the center of the boss arena, then stop as serves as an obstacle/platform for the boss to stand on. Strangely, it has no offensive capabilities of its own.
* In ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'', Galcian's flagship the ''Hydra'' is one of these.
* Sci-fi flight sim ''{{Echelon}}'' has both flying aircraft carriers and the standard watery sort. The flying type is equipped with significant anti-aircraft defenses and is usually defended by flying destroyers as well. Somewhat interesting is that these ships fly at low altitudes, and several missions have them assist in the destruction of ground targets.
* In ''[[DoubleMeaningTitle Just Cause 2]]'', a floating club [[MeaningfulName aptly named]] the ''MileHighClub'' features loud music, strippers and a small runway with a private jet.
* ''VideoGame/VirtualOn Oratorio Tangram'' has one as a battle stage; in the endings that do not belong to Fei-Yen and Angelan, the heroes are rescued by their fellow soldiers and carried back to the carrier for repair.
* ''SupremeCommander2'' has UEF's Experimental Mega Fortress - Airborne Aircraft Carrier with impressive damage output and more effective than a basic air factory.
* The first ''VideoGame/SupremeCommander'' features the Czar, a gigantic FlyingSaucer with aircraft manufacturing capabilities. Naturally, it has a WaveMotionGun in the middle.
* AirForceDelta Strike features one that the player launches from in the opening mission.
* The final boss in ''VideoGame/SkyGunner'' is a massive floating battleship that also carries an enormous complement of fighters. It's about the same size as the city levels you fly in.
* To further emphasize on how ''VideoGame/SaintsRowTheThird'' is [[DenserAndWackier even more batshit-insane]] than its predecessors, STAG uses a behemoth airship carrier called the ''Daedalus'' which [[MultipleEndings in one ending]] proceeds to [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill bomb the entire city just to root out a single gang.]] [[OneManArmy The airship is destroyed single-handedly by the protagonist.]]
* While not really sharing the look, Gohma Carriers from ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'' do carry smaller gohma that can't fly into space to fight.
* The final boss of ''[[Manga/{{Area88}} U.N. Squadron]]'' is one of these, though it more resembles a flying battleship/dreadnought with a few plane launch hatches. Interestingly enough, the game also features a ''land-based'' traditional aircraft carrier, [[MilitaryMashupMachine which runs on tank treads]] out in the desert.
* [[UpToEleven Taken to the extreme]] in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 4}}'' with the [[CoolStarship INF-101 Infinity]], an absolutely massive warship that can carry up to ten frigates and deploy them in space battles. And is also carrying over 6000 Marines, including the newly-created [[SuperSoldier Spartan-IVs]]. Its introduction in the first Spartan Ops episode features it coming out of Slipspace and [[RammingAlwaysWorks plowing through a Covenant warship's middle]].
* The arial city of Columbia is naturally one of these to its hordes of security barges and zeppelins in VideoGame/BioshockInfinite. It really shows this ability off in [[spoiler: the 1980s attack on New York City.]]
* The Flying Battleship Balrog from ''VideoGame/{{Strider}}'', a massive aircraft carrier that flies thanks to gravity control.
* ''VideoGame/SinsOfASolarEmpire'' has several examples; the Sova and Percheron for TEC, the Halcyon and Aeria Hosts for the Advent, and the Skirata and Lasurak for the Vasari. Additionally, most capital ships can launch strike craft wings, effectively making them this trope.
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', Baron Wulfenbach has a fleet of dirigible fortresses and assorted lighter-than-air craft as his mobile base of operations, including the enormous Castle Wulfenbach. Also, most airships have escape pods that are themselves miniature airships.
** Castle Wulfenbach is so large it's practically an Airborne AirborneAircraftCarrier Carrier.
* Some were seen in ''Webcomic/AlphaShade''.
* In one of ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' cross-dimension stories, humans have some of those, as seen [[http://www.sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/070608 here]]. Their usage is justified because the "zombies" cannot fly and staying in the air or space is the only real safe point to be, along with sheer practicality of a mobile base.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The Iron Vulture in Disney's ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin''.
* Seen in the WartimeCartoon "Japoteurs" from the Fleischer ''{{Superman}}'' theatrical shorts, after a fashion. A giant bomber, larger that anything ever built, carried a number of small, one-man fighter planes aboard, launching then off the top of its fuselage.
* Cobra had two different Hellicarriers in the ''GIJoe'' cartoon series. One was based off an unused design for the SHIELD Helicarrier from an abortive Nick Fury cartoon. It appeared in the first mini-series and in the opening animation of "GI JOE: The Movie" (possibly two different carriers as the one in the mini was captured). The second type appeared only in the opening animation for the second mini-series and subsequent episodes. It looked like a giant cobra insignia. It is destroyed by the end of the opening animation.
* The OSI from ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' have a mobile fortress called the Hoverquarters which is very much like the SHIELD Hellicarrier making sense since the Venture's OSI is a parody of SHIELD.
* Thunderbird 2, in ''Series/{{Thunderbirds}}'' served as a flying carrier for the smaller vehicles that International Rescue used, such as the Mole and Thunderbird 4. Another example appeared in an airshow in one episode-it was a giant aeroplane which could carry another.
** Thunderbird 2 doesn't really qualify for this trope as it was simply a cargo aircraft which didn't launch anything in flight.
* In ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks'', the title group uses a flying capital ship/aircraft carrier as their travelling home.
* The 60s ''[[WesternAnimation/SpiderMan1967 Spider Man]]'' had an episode where Spidey fought a former UsefulNotes/WW1 ace who had a flying aerodrome - and Fokkers that fired laser beams.
* The ''[[WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor Kids Next Door]]'' have a craft called the Gihugecarrier [[spoiler: that went down while fending off a Teenager attack]].
** WordOfGod says it's actually spelled [[FunWithAcronyms G.I.H.O.O.J.A.C.A.R.R.I.E.R.]]
* ''{{Skyland}}''
* ''TheMagicSchoolBus'' once transformed into this.
* G3 (Galactic Guardian Group)'s headquarters in ''WesternAnimation/SymBionicTitan''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Zeppelins rule this trope. During [[UsefulNotes/WW1 World War One]], they developed this capability, carrying 1-2 aircraft at first, ranging from unarmed Hummingbirds to Gloucester Grebe fighters and Sopwith Camels. After war's end, developments continued studying ways to launch them and recover them in mid-air. Even blimp airborne aircraft carriers existed. Zeppelins are usually preferred, as they can better match the speed of the docking aircraft, have payloads in the hundreds of thousands of pounds and can store the planes inside internal aircraft hangars. However, the U.S. TC-series blimps of the interwar period carried one plane each. They were used to develop the capability for the Zeppelin USS ''Los Angeles'', which led to the ''Akron'' and ''Macon'' as seen below, the greatest examples of this trope, carrying up to 5 Sparrowhawk fighters each.
** None other than the ''{{Hindenburg}}'' was also an Airborne Aircraft carrier, briefly, and the only civilian airship to be one. The airplane destroyed its mooring to the airship by accident, and the system was uninstalled just before the airship's final flight.
* USS ''Macon'' and USS ''Akron.'' Of course, they also had the dubious distinction of being the last new rigid Naval zeppelins, since both of them ended up crashing into the ocean in separate incidents, each owing to egregious human error and horrible conditions, with the ''Akron'' losing 73 of its crew; since one of the leading proponents of airships among the Naval brass happened to be aboard (and was among the dead), it's not hard to see how the Airborne Aircraft Carriers didn't catch on more.
** The concept comes up in modern circles every few years as a replacement for the aging and shrinking fleet of P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft. An airship would have significantly longer range and loiter time, and a significantly larger payload. The latest version includes proposals for [[AttackDrone UAVs]] that can be launched, recovered, and rearmed in flight, thus bringing things full circle from the Macon and Akron.
** The full circle is about to be reached. The Department of Defense and its Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are building a testbed hybrid Zeppelin called the PELICAN. It's "small" now, but it carries on the technologies intended for the cancelled WALRUS HULA (Hybrid Ultra Large Aircraft)--which was designed to be capable of carrying tanks, helicopters, planes and an entire battalion of troops. PELICAN itself can carry a few tons, but only 60% of its systems are full-size for the planned version capable of carrying 66 tons, an intermediate between PELICAN and WALRUS. The ship's skeleton is nearly complete, and it flies late this year or early 2013.
* The USAF was experimenting with using parasite fighters, the XF-85, to provide fighter escort to B-36 bombers. Eventually, this plan was scrapped as the increased range of jet fighters coupled with in flight refueling allowed regular fighters to accompany the bombers throughout their missions, in addition to the fact that the XF-85 was outperformed by conventional fighters.
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FICON_project FICON (FIghter CONveyor) Project]]: Putting an F-84 fighter inside the bomb bay of a B-36 and using the former to deliver a tactical nuke. Got a few flights in before the U-2 came along and the B-36 became obsolete. Determined to be an idea that worked better in theory than in practice.
* The Soviets also conducted their own experiments in the 1930s called the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zveno_project Zveno Project]]. Tupolev bombers would carry little Polikarpov fighters aloft, the most ambitious version actually carrying five fighters at the same time. The final version has a pair, rolled under the carrier's wings and mounted there instead of bombs. [[http://i16fighter.ru/usage/zveno/zveno.htm See photo]]. The interceptor variant was supposed to cut calling fighters time from "scramble and climb all the way up there" to "release bomb locks". The dive bomber variant had a long-range bomber carrying two fighters armed with bombs too heavy for them to take off on their own. These teams flew more than 30 missions, being among the most successful in Soviet aviation before the project ended in 1942 due to the involved aircraft becoming obsolete. You can fly the Zveno aircraft cluster in ''VideoGame/IL2Sturmovik''.
* And a relatively more mundane example, many of the early X Planes (the experimental rocket and jet planes that paved the way for supersonic flight and manned spaceflight for the Americans in the Cold War) were carried aloft by carrier planes such as the B-52 Stratofortress, and launched in mid-air. They landed on the ground, however.
** The B-52 would similarly be used later on to launch recon drones which would fly out on a preprogrammed path, take pictures, and fly back to a rendezvous location where a plane trailing a net would catch the drone and reel it in.
** Similarly, there was a variant of the C-130 Hercules that could carry up to four drones on the wings and launch them in flight, controlling them remotely.
* The Daimler-Benz Project C was a proposed plan from Nazi Germany for a massive bomber-like aircraft that would carry six-to-eight "parasite fighters" on the wings and fuselage that would be detached and launched in-flight. These jet or rocket propelled aircraft were at first conceptualized as fighters, but later iterations of these aircraft became human-guided bombs for targeting bridges, ships and bomber formations. While these bombs would have escape chutes underneath them, the likelihood of escaping alive was so low that they may as well be categorized as suicide aircraft. However, none of the Daimler-Benz Projects ever got off of the drawing board.
[[/folder]]

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