aka: Cool Planes
"If Kim Basinger was a plane, this is what she'd be."The aerial equivalent of the Cool Car, Cool Boat, and the flying, usually metallic (but increasingly composite) incarnation of the Rule of Cool. Allowing you to rule the skies with pizazz, the Cool Plane will not break down, rust, or ever go out of style (unless the plot demands it). This is a plane that doesn't serve peanuts to its customers, it serves a Vesper martini, a buffalo steak burger, and a side order of whoopass given by a very pleasant stewardess. Please keep your hands inside the vehicle at all times while reading this play and take note of the exits. You may need to parachute out. Cool Planes are probably piloted by a Danger Deadpan. They will frequently include stealth technology, which in reality does not make a plane invisible to radar, but reduces the detection to such that enemy reaction times will be reduced so much they cannot really do anything bar getting the hoses out. Oh, also: Helicopters are included in this category. If you're looking for Real Life Cool Planes, they're right over here. For the Cool Plane IN SPACE!, see Space Fighter and Space Plane.
— Tom Clancy, describing the F-22 Raptor
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Anime and Manga
- In Hellsing, an SR-71 Blackbird is used to stop the naval invasion of England by Millennium. In the popular fan webcomic And Shine Heaven Now, this is lampshaded with people referring to it as the Incredibly Awesome Plane, except for Alucard, who refers to it as a Deus ex Machina.
- The VF-1 Valkryie from Super Dimension Fortress Macross, and its successors such as the YF-19 and Jetfire from Transformers (No, really): Cool Planes that transform into robots.
- As mentioned below, the YF-19 is the basis of Animated Starscream.
- Not to mention almost every LAM (Land-Air 'Mech from BattleTech... at least until FASA ran into legal troubles for ripping off designs from Macross, amongst other sources.
- From the same franchise but different lineage the VB-6 König Monster. Boxy, and ungainly in flight mode it earns its cool points when it transforms into an updated version of Monster Destroid with the firepower to take down escort cruisers and a recoil that can buckle a warship's armour plating.
- Combined with Rule of Cool and More Dakka with the VF-25 and its full armor pack. A few previous Macross fighters had armor packs that, when equipped prevented them from transforming back to fighter mode, the VF-25's not only allowed them to transform with the armor pack on, but they also had the largest missile load of any main fighter in the series.
- It's safe to say that any Macross series will have Cool Planes.
- As mentioned below, the YF-19 is the basis of Animated Starscream.
- The God Phoenix from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Imagine a large bright red and blue plane that can go into space, submerge in water, take off and land vertically, goes supersonic, carries about 30 missiles (before being kaboomed), then several large super missiles (after being rebuilt), and carries 4 secondary vehicles inside it. Most spectacularly of all when the plane's really in a jam, it can transform in to a giant flaming phoenix to escape, although this takes a lot out of the team.note
- Hayao Miyazaki uses this trope as one of his Creator Thumbprints. A love inherited from his father and uncle.
- Porco Rosso's trademark red Savoia Marchetti seaplane and Curtis' Curtis racer are both actual historical aircraft that would have been considered "cool" planes in their time.
- Future Boy Conan has Monsley's Falco.
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind features the Valley of the Wind Gunship.
- The Castle of Cagliostro, one of the Lupin anime that Miyazaki directed, features the Count's autogyro.
- Castle in the Sky has a number of smaller wacky/cool ships. The titular Castle, however, is a Cool Airship!
- The Wind Rises, being a fictionalised biography about a gifted aircraft designer most famous for designing the Zero fighter, naturally features a lot of them. In a case of Shown Their Work, all aircraft (except for the first Dream Sequence) featured in it actually exist in Real Life, and most of them are cool planes in both cases. Its poster also features a prototype of Mitsubishi A5M "Cluade" in all its inverted gull wing glory.
- Lupin III Stolen Lupin has a nod to Cagliostro in the form of two autogyros.
- The AH 88 Hellhound from the Patlabor movies. Functions mostly like an Apache, but looks way cooler.
- The Umidori in Zipang a fictional VTOL naval scout craft which looks like the result of a tryst between an Apache attack helicopter and an Osprey.
- The Golden Condor in The Mysterious Cities of Gold. Exceptionally cool as it's solar powered and built of gold. And set in the 16th Century.
- All of the planes in The Sky Crawlers are either Expies or inspired by the ultimate generation of piston-engine fighters that were left on the drawing board at the end of World War II by the advent of the jet age. Justified in that war has been replaced by a form of aerial gladiatorial combat.'
- A Certain Magical Index
- Academy City's HsF-00 and HsB-07 fighters and bombers. Over 80m in length, capable of Mach 7, can fly sideways or spin in place. The pilot's body has to be placed in cryogenic stasis in order to survive maneuvers, and controls the plane through a direct neural interface.
- The "Six Wings" supersonic helicopter. These don't even have pilots, and are drones, but are considered the equivalent to an entire conventional armored platoon in terms of firepower.
- The Saviour Gundam piloted by Athrun Zala in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED can turn into a fighter. There are also the Skygrasper planes on board the Archangel, which can equip the same Striker Packs the Strike Gundam does.
- In Ah! My Goddess, the Motor Club finds the lost fuselage of the second J7W1 Shinden prototype underneath Nekomi Tech, and restore it to flight capability for Keiichi to pilot.
- Guardian Fairy Michel has Kim's plane, the Honeybee. It's a vintage plane with transforming capabilities that never seems to run out of fuel.
- Wonder Woman's infamous Invisible Jet. Not only is it an early version of stealth technology, it can travel (depending on the source) up to 2,000 m.p.h. or 40 miles/second, be summoned/controlled telepathically, travel into space and even to other dimensions.
- The X-Men's trademark Blackbird. (See its inspiration, the SR-71, in the Real Life section). The first Blackbird was literally a modified SR-71, custom made by Lockheed. Which illustrates how absurdly wealthy and well-connected Professor Xavier is. Later Blackbirds had little in common with the the SR-71, and incorporated Shi'ar technology, but retained the name because by that point it had become an X-Men tradition.
- The Blackhawk Squadron flew a great many Cool Planes over the years, most notably the '40s-era XF5F Skyrocket whose distinctive looks made it the definitive Blackhawk plane.
- The Great Ten's Immortal Man (Men?) In Darkness flies one of these, the Dragonwing, that's based on alien technology and is phenomenally powerful. The current Immortal Man in Darkness isn't ashamed to admit that he's in love with the old girl.
- The Fantastic Four's second Fantasticar is a Cool Plane that splits into four Cool Hover Crafts.
- In Dallas Barr, Ricardo Garibaldi lives on a plane large enough to have a garden in the cargo hold.
- Evangelion 303: In this doujin the main characters pilot war planes called F-14E -or "Evangelion"-, a variant of the F-14 model and the most advanced war plane built. Among other things they are fitted with an anti-targetting field capable to render them invisible to radar systems and deflect projectiles.
- In The Student Prince, Arthur is very proud of his Learjet 40, Excalibur. He also has a brief but excited monologue about the Typhoon.
- In "Thirty Seconds Over To Ki Rin", the P-86's being flown by our heroes are clear Expies of the American F-86, used from the Korean War through the whole Cold War (mostly by US allies later, though). They are even called "Sabres," just like the F-86.
- The XB/A-1 Valkyrie in Fallout: Equestria - Empty Quiver visually resembles the Avro Vulcan with it's delta-wing design, while also having the VTOL capabilities of the Harrier. Supersonic, black painted, 5-ton payload capacity and 2 forward facing automatic 40mm cannons, it is a veritable beast of a bird.
- In Repairs, Retrofits and Upgrades, a The Legend of Korra fanfiction, Asami designs and builds a VTOL craft dubbed the Satohawk.
Film — Live-Action
- The titular hypersonic stealth fighter jet from Clint Eastwood's Film of the Book Firefox is considered by many to be the Trope Maker.
- The titular high-tech, stealth helicopter from Blue Thunder.
- Slightly more realistic is Tony Stark's private jet in Iron Man. Comes with a wide-screen television, a fully equipped bar and luxurious leather seats, and the stewardesses double as strippers, complete with poles. And, of course, the Man himself.
- The MiG-28 flown by the villains in Top Gun, while in reality a Northrop F-5 with a (pardon the pun) jet-black paint scheme and red star markings, gave the heroes a serious run for their money and even terrorized one pilot so bad he resigns.
- The Incredibles gives us a few, like...
- The "Manta Ray" jet. It flies in the air and swims under water and even serves Mr. Incredible shrimp cocktail and mimosa all by itself... with no flight attendants! Its creator is an annoying inventive fanboy turned bad, who also happens to be the creator of...
- The Velocipods — a mook-flown, and also crazy baddie invention. Being small, fast and agile, it's basically your car-sized one-man helicopter that can fly tight circles around people. Its arsenal of twin machine guns gives it some raw firepower at a healthy distance, but you know what? It's the blades that make it really incredible: we mean, it cuts entire palm trees without hurting itself, guys!
- And the Big Bad has more! There's even an unpowered glider housed inside a rocket that carries a Humongous Mecha called the "Omnidroid". But other than its incredible mass for an aircraft, there isn't much to speak of it since it demonstrates nothing else.
- The good guys, however, get a note "really fast" private jet. Although it's not up to the incredible standards set by the rest of the other aircraft, it can do some very extreme maneuvers and, if really necessary, jettison flares to confuse SAMs.
- Another Pixar film, Cars, has several. The first film has Rotor Turbosky, Strip "The King" Weathers' helicopter, Barney Stormin, a red and white biplane seen sponsoring the final race, and a quartet of fighter jets at the same race composing of Marco, Stu Bop, and two unnamed jets, while the sequel has Siddeley, Finn McMissile's stealth fighter jet and his archenemies, the Lemons' Black Helicopter, as well as Everett the passenger plane and an unnamed Samairai passenger plane. Even the spinoffs featured more aircraft: Rescue Squad Mater features a pair of rescue helicopters, Mater the Greater has Props McGee, a blue and red stunt plane, UFM: Unidentified Flying Mater has Captain Munier the attack helicopter, and Air Mater has the Falcon Hawks.
- And Graves' giant cargo plane, equipped with the controls for his satellite superlaser.
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
- The Royal Navy's amphibious squadron can transform in mid-dive into submersibles armed with cluster-torpedoes. They also have an Ejection Seat with built-in Jet Pack, leading to a Crowning Moment Of Awesome for Angelina Jolie.
- Sky Captain's modified Curtiss P-40, as it carries the usual six machine-gun loadout as well as grapnel cables and magnetic bombs. Also, it can fly under water and perform aerobatic feats that the real P-40 would be hard pressed to do.
- The F/A-37 Talons from Stealth, as well as the modified model used by EDI, or Extreme Deep Invader. Just how agile they are/can be is vividly highlighted by the CMOA where EDI turns on a dime to track and shred a Sukhoi bird flying past.
- COBRA from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has a cool gunship that is not only agile, but Immune to Bullets up to .50 cal and has the Dakka to shoot missiles out of the air. They also have the Night Raven (no relation to the Ace Combat bird), which looks rather like Firefox, does Mach 6 and has voice-operated weapons.
- In Captain America: The First Avenger, we have HYDRA's massive Flying Wing aircraft and rocket-powered helicopter, which were both based on actual designs from the period, even.
- The "Little Nellie" autogyro from You Only Live Twice. Flamethrowers? Check. Missile pods? Check. Heatseekers? Check. Aerial freaking MINES? Check and double-check. Oh, and don't be fooled by the fact that it looks like a flimsy toy plane and can be packed into four suitcases; it curb stomps four of SPECTRE's attack helicopters in a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
- The Super X-III in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah is one of the few human-built vehicles to go up against a Kaiju and come out the victor. Moreover, the Super X-III manages to do this twice.
- In Zero History by William Gibson, Eccentric Millionaire Hubertus Bigend owns an Ekranoplan - specifically, an A-90 Orlyonok
- One of the earliest, and almost certainly still to this day the greatest, has to be the MiG-31 "Firefox" from the novel and film of the same name, which was capable of Mach 5, stealth (called "anti-radar" in the book, which predates the term "stealth technology") and carried thought-controllable weapons. For which the pilot had to think in Russian nevertheless.
- The original cover had the aircraft look like the MiG-25. The distinctive design was a creation of the film and features on all later re-prints. There's irony for you: the real MiG-31, codenamed "Foxhound", is a development of the -25 Foxbat, so the original cover got it right! Of course, the Foxhound can't do Mach 5, is not particularly stealthy and doesn't have thought-controlled weapons; on the other hand, it does tote AA-9 Amos missiles, which are the longest-range air-to-air missiles that the USSR/Russia has; they're said to be the Soviet equivalent of the AIM-54 Phoenix.
- Here's a rarity. The writer of the book liked the movie better than his own novel. Mr. Eastwood, Badass Planes. You're doin' it right!
- In fact, Craig Thomas changed its description in the sequel novel Firefox Down to match the cinematic design.
- At least one aeronautically-knowledgeable fan drew up its technical specifications in a journal-worthy white paper, thus making the Firefox one of the most realistic cool machines ever seen in a Hollywood film.
- The Dale Brown novel Flight of the Old Dog and the series after it is about a junky old B-52 used as a testing platform for state-of-the-art military technology, a dichotomy reflected in its two names, "Megafortress" and "The Old Dog". When a Soviet laser system shoots down a US satellite and a squadron of sleek B-1 bombers, naturally it's the ramshackle B-52 and its rag-tag crew which comes to the rescue. Although it's valuable enough to be overhauled and eventually replaced in the continuity, the Cool Ship naturally never becomes mass-production, because that would cripple its mojo (and would make little sense militarily, anyway). Eventually the Dreamland team switches to heavily-modified B-1 Lancers with, amongst other things, LADAR, "plasma"-warhead missiles and armed UAVs. Later still the Black Stallion spaceplanes show up. The Russians also have some entries of their own, like the Fisikous/Metyor-179 Tyenee/Shadow stealth bomber in Warrior Class. Of course, there are some IRL ones flying around.
- The science fiction novella "Steam Bird", about how the crew of the titular huge nuclear-powered bomber—die-hard steam enthusiasts to a man— are so keen to have an excuse to finally fly the damned thing, during every diplomatic crisis they tool up and wait in the plane for The Call. When it finally comes, they're rolling in seconds, much to the President's dismay five minutes later when he realizes that he's just ordered a large nuclear reactor into the air. Due to the way the thing's built, once it's moving, it's got to take off Or Else (and set a whole bunch of world records in the process.) Such aircraft were actually proposed by the US Air Force in The Fifties.
- Matthew Reilly's book, the Seven Ancient Wonders (Seven Deadly Wonders for US readers), features the Halicarnassus, an extensively modified 747 used as a militarized transport aircraft. It's modifications include VTOL capability, minigun and missile pods, radar-absorbent black paint job, and an impressive military-spec sensor and communications package. Oh, and the best part? It was actually a custom order by Saddam FREAKING Hussein, and the protagonist single-handedly stole it from him during the first Gulf War.
- Matthew Reilly's previous books feature the Silhouette (a fighter prototype with a cloaking device), and the Black Raven (a modified Sukhoi S-37 with more weapons than a Bond car). Both include radar-absorbent paint and VTOL. The S-37 was an earlier name for the Sukhoi Su-47, which counts as a cool plane before the modifications.
- The Wingman series by Mack Maloney.
- It has the main character's F-16, with which he leads the forces of America's restoration. It's the last remaining F-16 in the world after the Soviets won World War III and destroyed most of America's modern equipment during the forced disarmament. It's modified to carry more and more missiles until, in the end, it can lug over twenty, and its performance is somehow not hampered in the least. It later ends up traveling back in time to World War II, then later into the far future — IN SPACE — where it's modified to become a starfighter. The series is even more silly than all of that sounds.
- From the same series is the gunship known as Nozo, a modified C-5 that takes the gunship Up to Eleven, as it is armed with a full 21 GAU-8 Avengers. Its companion plane, the rather spectacularly colored Bozo, is fitted with a bewildering array of machine guns, Gatling guns, rocket launchers, and artillery pieces; said plane becomes the setpiece for an entire novel when it crashes in Vietnam and has to defend itself from constant human wave attacks.
- The Javelin training jet from Honor Harrington is presented as this when it's introduced. Two overpowered engines (Capable of at least mach 6), minimal computer support, no inertial compensation, a deliberate technical anachronism, and extremely fun to fly.
- Older Than Feudalism: Ramayana, written long before airplanes existed, introduced vimanas, which were some sort of magical aerial vehicle. The book does not spare words in describing the "sun-equaling" splendor of Pushpaka's vimana, which is "as fast as thought", capable of going anywhere at the pilot's will, and also apparently sentient enough to understand spoken commands. (Or maybe it has a computer with voice-recognition software...)
- The Albatross in Jules Verne's Robur the Conqueror. It's a giant airship with many vertical screws to provide lift and two horizontal screws to create thrust. The novel came out in 1886, long before the creation of the first heavier-than-air craft.
- The Big One universe series of novels reflects a world in which bombers in general have much-enhanced prestige with their users and where high & fast is a valid means of penetrating enemy defenses. As a result, the novels contain a plethora of really cool military and civilian aircraft, all of which existed as either prototypes or advanced engineering concepts.
- The supersonic Airwolf helicopter, star of the show of the same name created by Donald P. Bellisario. Capable of exceeding Mach 1, stealthy and an unrefuelled range that most fighters can't get near.
- On another Bellisario series, JAG, Harmon "Harm" Rabb more than once climbs into the cockpit of an F-14 Tomcat and also flies F-18s, C-130s (and lands one on an Aircraft Carrier at sea), a stolen Mig 29 in Russia, a Boeing 747 airliner (Oceanic of course), and the Aurora spy plane by the time the series ends. Not to mention his very own Stearman biplane "Sarah". (named after his grandmother and not his co-worker).
- The SHARC (Special Hydro-Aero Recon Craft) from Power Rangers Operation Overdrive. Can fly or skate across water, and don't the Rangers look awesome jumping down from it in their circle formation? Eventually, they get a Humongous Mecha version called the Sonic Streaker, but the SHARC still popped up now and again.
- The F-302 fighter-interceptor from the Stargate Verse, reverse-engineered from an alien craft. What makes it even more awesome is the naquadriah-powered miniature hyperdrive that makes it capable of short-range tactical hyperspace jumps - and that one's an entirely human creation as no other race would even consider strapping a miniature nuclear reactor powered by an insanely unstable isotope onto a fighter. That's actually justified as the prototype almost blew itself to hell when its first hyperspace window was unstable but later proved wrong when O'Neill hyperspaced through an enemy ship's shield and missile'd its main gun directly.
- Thunderbird 1 is the ultimate aerial hot-rod if you don't count space-planes. Reputed to do 15,000 mph, which is 86 per cent of escape velocity and will get you anywhere on Earth in just over an hour, even allowing for acceleration and slowing down at either end of the trip.
- The Fireflash nuclear-powered airliner - based on designs of the time, until people realised any crash would result in an unhealthy dose of isotopes over a wide area from the crash site.
- Thunderbird 2 is not only hypersonic, but capable of carrying very large loads.
- The Luxury Liners in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica don't do much to warrant coolness but they still look pretty awesome. Technically they are starships but they are modeled after present-day airplanes and fill the same function so it kinda counts.
- Well, being able to fly constantly for 4 years with little maintenance and taking off from a warzone while dodging fighters is pretty cool too I guess.
- what about the Vipers themselves? Designed for maximum maneuverability and capable of taking down eight Cylon raiders in one go or even a Resurrection Ship in the hands of the right pilot, they're the best examples of this trope in the Fleet.
- The Vipers are also a partial subversion of this trope : the most advanced Mk. VII models turn out to be susceptible to Cylon hacking at first, so the pilots have to use older Mk II models to get any fighting done.
- The Modern Marvels episodes Extreme Aircraft and Extreme Aircraft II are dedicated to several Real Life examples of cool planes.
- The Thunderwing jet fighters from Chouriki Sentai Ohranger. They have drop-deployment hatches for the Jetter Machines, and laser cannons in the nosecones to blow up Baranoia Takonpa fighters with in addition to a fighter jet's usual weapon loadout.
- The Bus in Agents Of Shield is a VTOL capable airliner that Coulson uses as a mobile base of operations. Inside the plane is a two-car garage, a first-rate science lab, a command center, a brig, and a well stocked mini-bar.
- The Quinjet in Zen Studios' The Avengers Digital Pinball Table, which strafes the playfield and drops extra balls to start multiball.
- The Batwing in Sega's Batman Forever, which fires pinballs at playfield targets.
- The hero of Airborne Avenger gets around in a one-man flying jet-sled.
- Operation: Thunder has the player command a squadron of F-15 Strike Eagles and Stealth Fighters against the enemy.
- Flash flies into battle on his rocketsled in Flash Gordon.
- Spy Hunter has two — a white private jet appears on the backglass, while the playfield shows off a one-man mini-plane.
- Warhammer 40,000 and its spinoff game Aeronautica Imperialis have their fair share of these.
- Special mention goes to the Eldar Nightwing, which in the words of one reviewer "looks like something Batman would fly". Its page in Imperial Armor contains a background note on an Eldar squadron that shot down more than sixty Chaos fighters in the course of one campaign. Particularly awesome given that that squadron was four Nightwings strong.
- Deff Skwadron brings us da megabomma.◊
- From the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game comes the Phantom Beast Planes, which is an entire archetype of Cool Planes - namely, these guys!
- Killian's VTOL jet personnel transport / gunship in Perfect Dark Zero.
- Ace Combat
- Zero's Morgan, a plane so utterly degenerate it can actually complete several entire missions with a single subweapon shot. Later succeeded by X's Fenrir, whose subweapon has an even bigger blast radius.
- The Arkbird from Ace Combat 5. Though you don't get to fly it, you do get to use it as a Kill Sat.
- The F-22 Raptor isn't the signature plane of the series for nothing folks. You can ace four of the toughest enemies in the series with one shot. Yeah, the Real Life Cool Plane outshines even it's fictional counterparts.
- Vector Thrust
- Being a Spiritual Successor to the Ace Combat series, it also offers all the real-life standards like the F-22, Su-47, F-14, and others. Worth noting is that the game boasts several variants of each aircraft that are even cooler- The F-22X "Alvaraptor" and F-35X "Silver Lightning" come to mind, being modified versions of their traditional airframes with forward swept wings.
- More recently in a show of support for the Pride of Wardoge tournament they came out with the AXF-14G Digital Tomcat, which is a stealth-capable F-14 Tomcat with synthetic vision modules and completely modernised control surfaces.
- Tom Clancy's HAWX contains several cool planes from the Real Life page, but there are some cool ones not mentioned in that page. For example:
- The FB-22◊ (F-22 bomber variant), SR-71 combat-capable prototype YF-12◊, and the fictional XA-20 Razorback.◊
- The Razorback is a really cool one. It is officially designated as a ground support plane but it has the loadout to give even Raptors a really hard time. Especially since the Razorback is stealthed which means slower missile lock against it. And with the exception of one mission, no one in the singleplayer campaign flies this girl; after finishing the game though, you do.
- Miles 'Tails' Prower started out piloting the Tornado, a red WW1 biplane that got regularly upgraded over the series. IN Sonic Adventure it gets shot down and replaced by the Tornado II, that got upgraded in the sequel (Sonic Adventure 2) so it can transform into a Mini-Mecha and a car. It's also been seen in anime Sonic X where it, once again, gets shot down; it gets upgraded to the Tornado-X, named for its ability to shift into an X-shaped wing mode for speed, modified into a heavy armed walker, and in the into a huge Macross-style transforming jet.
- All 4 Air-frames of the MMORPG Ace Online are Cool Planes in their own right:
- The Anima Mortar (A-Gear) is a VTOL-capable hovertank, with a high-velocity Mass Driver cannon and shields thick enough to withstand fierce pounding, as well as an emergency barrier that blocks missiles, a Snare to slow their targets, and a Shield Paralyze skill that negates regeneration. A rarely-seen but awesome ability that A-gears may possess is the mighty Hyper Shot.
- The Brandy Burg (B-Gear) is a Gradius-inspired fighter-bomber with Charged Shots, the ability to fire its missiles as proximity-fused Bombs against both Air and Ground targets, and can cast the deadly self-destruct attack known as the Big Bang. They also get Option-like Chaff for defending against missiles.
- The Idle Sniper (I-Gear) is a high-speed dogfighter which can be tuned towards evasiveness or raw destructive power; their signature skills Berserk and Frenzy lets them rip loose with missiles, lots of them, while Chain Rolling lets them do continuous Barrel Rolls.
- The Meadow Bugle (M-Gear) is the toughest Air-frame known to man, with the ability to sustain punishment that would crumple an A-10 Warthog like a paper plane. They can use the Call of Hero to mobilize whole formations rapidly, and can cast ranged repair and resupply skills, as well as Purify buffs from enemy Air-frames.
- Hardwar's moths (think a plane meant for another planet's atmosphere) are generally squat-looking, boxy, function-over-form utility machines. Then you get the Swallow: sleek, aerodynamic, elegant and very deadly, it owns everything else in the skies with ease.
- The Steam/Diesel Punk mini-flyers used by the heroes in Sky Gunner.
- Command & Conquer's Tiberium saga is loaded to the brim with Cool Planes — fictional ones, that is. The most iconic of them all is the GDI Orca of the Tiberian Dawn era. Its twin tiltjet technology was so useful and reliable that in Tiberian Sun, GDI derived five different variants from the original Orca. Nod eventually catches up with GDI's technological advancements, though, namely with the introduction of the Scrin-based Banshee attack aircraft and in Tiberium Wars, Venom gunships and the Vertigo stealth bomber.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
- The game gives us the Allied Vindicator. It's stubby, not terribly fast, carries just two little bombs, and can't even kill other aircraft. What it can and will do is consistently and constantly knock out enemy resource collectors, vehicles, buildings and just about anything else. It's like a little sniper rifle you point at whatever you want dead and let fly. Entire strategies were built around the reliable little guy, and it pretty much entirely defined Allied strategy throughout the patch cycle.
- And for something even bigger, get a load of the Allied Harbringer gunship. It's more or less the Real Life American AC-130H Spectre on steroids... and the Harbringer's very much based on it.
- Oh, and speaking of which: Command And Conquer: Generals: Zero Hour's Spectre gunship is also based on the AC-130H Spectre. The only difference is that while the Real Life counterpart runs on somewhat slow turboprops, the fictionalized one runs on jet engines and takes a huge amount of punishment!
- A tier one Allied faction power makes the Vindicator even scarier, giving it a stat boost and a 50% boost in bomb capacity.
- The entirety of action RPG Consortium takes place on a futuristic passenger plane.
- Fallout's Enclave uses the infamous Vertibirds,◊ and yea, verily, they are cool. Also, there's a quest in Fallout: New Vegas where you can restore a crashed B-29◊ use it to rain death on your enemies. Awesome.
- The absolutely giant passenger airliner in Ace Attorney Investigations. The passenger compartment in First Class is two full stories tall (one "story" for passengers and one for a lounge area and in-flight shop), and the cargo compartment is also two stories tall. The first class seats are extremely luxurious, equivalent to what one might enjoy on a private jet. Given the layout that we see, that means that the airliner is at least 3 stories tall, possibly 4. As a result, this plane would be larger than any passenger airline flying today (compare the Airbus A380, currently the largest passenger airliner in the world, but somewhat less than 3 stories tall; it almost certainly could not have supported the giant cargo hold depicted in the game). Implausible to be sure, but who wouldn't want to sit in a first-class seat that comfortable?
- In Secret Agent Barbie, Barbie and her team have their own, very large and very pink, private jet, which acts as their primary mode of transportation, as well as their secret headquarters.
- XCOM gives us the soldiers' main transport ship, the SR-77H Skyranger. In the 2012 remake XCOM: Enemy Unknown, it's able to get from one end of the earth to the other, and back again, in a single day on a single tank of fuel. Nice.
- Mass Effect's A-61 Mantis is usually used as a gunship, but the codex says that it can easily act as a fixed wing aircraft. It's design in the game reflects this, making it look like a fixed wing aircraft that's been turned and contorted in various ways with fold-up parts. Also according to the codex, in this role it can fulfill the role of any aircraft, whether it be a fighter, ground attack aircraft, or high-altitude bomber, all while being faster and more maneuverable than any equivalent aircraft we have today (i.e. Harriers). While the models you encounter in Mass Effect 2 are shitty stripped down ones used by mercenary bands, the "Stolen Memory" DLC and Mass Effect 3 let you see the normal, military-issue versions. All models of the Mantis pack dual unlimited ammo cannons and ten missiles, and the military models have very powerful Deflector Shields.
- In Deus Ex: Human Revolution Adam Jensen get around in a VTOL piloted by his friend Malik.
- Saints Row: The Third has the F-69 VTOL, STAG's primary fighter jet. In addition to looking sleek and futuristic and, well, being a VTOL, it has a microwave laser cannon for it's primary armament, as well as laser-guided swarm missiles, which you can charge up for a greater blast radius if you really want to bring the pain. Additionally, Big Bad Cyrus Temple uses a special jet black one for his boss fight which you unlock in the post-game, and a DLC pack added one in Saints-purple as well. And just in case you didn't already feel like a badass while flying one, it sounds like a Transformer while switching between Hover and Flight modes.
- The Venture Bros.
- The "X-1" used to be a cool plane, in the 1960's. Now it's just the supersonic daily driver for the family.
- Jonas' EX-X-1 however, is a cool plane. It can pilot itself, has Space Invaders in the lounge... and at that it has a lounge!
- G.I. Joe has plenty of Cool Planes in both the Joes' and Cobra's fleets. The early vehicles were at least inspired by known real-life vehicles; by 1987, made-up, "futuristic" designs became the norm, with the older craft repurposed for special units (sometimes for the other side). Some of the vehicles based on real ones:
- Skystriker XP-14F (later XP-21F) - based on the F-14, with a modified forward intake
- Dragonfly XH-1 - based on the AH-1 SuperCobra, with a jet turbine stabilizer in place of a conventional tail rotor
- Conquest X-30 - a twin-engine fighter with forward-swept wings based on the Grumman X-29
- Rattler - based on the A-10 Thunderbolt II, with the engines moved to the wings, a third engine on the tail, and VTOL capability
- Night Raven S3P - loosely based on the Lockheed A-12/M-21/SR-71 series with a detachable "recon jet" even more loosely based on the D-21 drone.
- By default, virtually every Transformer with a plane alt-mode is one of these: Starscream (F-15, F-22, something that looks suspiciously like the Su-47 Berkut and a YF-19 "Alpha One") and Blitzwing (some sort of tank-plane thing) only being two examples. (An obvious drawback to listing them all is the fact that many of the flying Transformers are just repainted Starscreams.) Megatron also has an Osprey (Not that kind! A double-bladed helicopter) altmode.
- In fact, some continuities (such as Animated and Prime) make planes and other air vehicle altmodes a distinctive trait of the Decepticons, to contrast with the Autobots' ground vehicles.
- Optimal Optimus' flight mode in Beast Wars, while looking a bit cumbersome, was definitely Bad Ass, and what it lacked in speed it made up for in armor and firepower.
- Transformers Cybertron gives us a fair few. Earth planes (and one helicopter): Jetfire turns into an Antonov An-225, Thundercracker (Not a Starscream mold-mate, for once) turns into a Sukhoi Su-37, Evac turns into a Eurocopter Dauphin rescue chopper, and Wing Saber turns into a modified A-10. Cybertronian and other non-Earth: Megatron has a very menacing, evil-looking jet mode, Starscream's altmode is an homage to the pre-earth Tetrajet modes of the G1 Seekers, Sideways' looks distinctly alien, as does Soundwave's bomber mode (though his is similar in shape to some Earth stealth bombers). Mashup: Optimus Prime's Flying Fire Truck mode. Thanks for killing our wallets, Hasbro.
- The 2010 offerings brought some new blood into the mix: Lugnut as a post-modern B-52 with a Wave Motion Gun in the tail and Terradive as a Sukhoi Su-47 with a trident ((the melee weapon, not the missile) are probably the highlights.
- The Sea Duck in TaleSpin is a large cargo seaplane that can pull off some amazing stunts in Baloo's hands. Many other planes in the show can be just as awesome.
- The Batwing from Batman: The Animated Series. Capable of flying through a tunnel and spearing a car, and ripping off its door with a claw. It's Batman, so Rule of Cool is in full effect.
- The SWAT Kats' custom-made jet, the TurboKat, from SWAT Kats. It was built from junkyard scrap, and yet has three engines, VTOL capabilities, a cement-spewing machine gun, a boatload of missiles for every occasion (from blinding enemy fighters (the Tarpedoes) to cutting a pilot out of his seat (the Cookie Cutter)), and even the ability to go into space with four extra engines and heat shielding.
- Jimmy Two-Shoes. Subverted with the Misery Flyer. It's hyped up throughout the episode as a great plane, and is used to try and rescue Jez. It is quickly crashed.
- The enormous and extremely luxurious plane in the Totally Spies! episode 'Evil Airline Much?'.
- Quack Pack. The "Mega Death-wing of Doom", a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird-esque bomber plane that attacks Donald Duck at the end of the episode where Donald is forced to go back into the Navy.
- The Thingamajigger from The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, which is a bizarre helicopter-like vehicle in which the Cat flies around in.
- The helicopter the Pack used in Gargoyles is quite cool with its protection against lasers. And then after Lexington forces them to eject with the help of Brooklyn and Broadway, after crashing it safely, he manages to repair and rework it with a fitting "gargoyle" motif.
- Fantastic Voyage. The team travels around in a jet plane called the Voyager, which was built by the team's tech genius Busby Birdwell. It has both missiles and a beam weapon and can engage in stunning aerobatic feats such as incredibly tight turns.
See the Real Life page for non-fictional examples.