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Wings are cool. If you have a pair, you can fly, blow people away with their flaps, and generally look cool. Unfortunately, because of their size relative to the body, it makes a very good target. As such, if anything has wings, it has a fairly high chance of having its wings, or just one of them, damaged. Having one or both of their wings damaged might cause the flyer to never be capable of flight again.

Of note is that this can be a very serious danger for flyers if done mid-flight — wings aren't just big targets, they're what allow the flyer to remain airborne in the first place, and sufficient damage to them can effectively insta-kill their owner by making them unable to stay airborne while an unsafe distance above the ground. Consequently, even a strong and undamaged flyer can be taken out by clipping its wings and sending it plunging to its doom.

This usually doesn't refer to clipping feathers so a bird can't fly, although it can overlap, or to Clipped-Wing Angel.

See also Anti-Air and Fragile Flyer.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: In the penultimate episode, Sakura attempts to use the Fly card to fight. Her opponent shoots one of the wings with a laser blast, setting it on fire.
  • Digimon Adventure: Angewomon gets impaled on the wall by her wings, courtesy of Piedmon. Puppetization followed soon after.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Winged Braves: The villain Seagrid holds a grudge towards humans because he was once shot in the wings by humans, during a routine migration trip to the human world. And then there's the hero, Icarus, who tries buying time for the gang in the final battle by battling the monster Phoenixia only to have his wings incinerated by Phoenixia's flames.
  • Hoshin Engi: When the Makai Yonshu manage to put down Raishinshi, they immediately decide to tear of his wings, that allowed him to fly and project powerful winds.
  • In Another World with My Smartphone: While on their way to Mismede, Touya and his group end up running into a wild dragon attacking a nearby village, and are forced to fight it off. Linze uses her Aqua Cutter spell to cut off its wings, preventing it from escaping and allowing Touya to kill it off.
  • Hawks gets his wings badly singed and left nearly de-feathered when he gets caught between Endeavor’s fire blast and All For One in My Hero Academia. Fortunately, they grow back eventually.
  • Rosario + Vampire: Invoked. After defeating Kurumu, Inner Moka explicitly threatened to tear off both Kurumu's wings and tail to ensure that she never tried anything against Tsukune again, and it's implied she would have gone through with it had Tsukune not stopped her.

    Comic Books 
  • Lady Death: In the final story arc of the Avatar Press continuity, Lady Death's angel ally Valora has her wings turn off by the Big Bad before she is killed.
  • Red Sonja: One of Sonja's allies in the original Dynamite run is a winged bipedal lion named Caska. One of his wings gets impaled by an enemy while trying to protect Sonja.
  • Supergirl (Wednesday Comics): Streaky the Supercat bites a plane's back wing off during a rampage, causing it fall down. Fortunately, Supergirl is able to stop the aircraft from crashing into the ground.
  • X-Men: Angel has large wings: during the "Mutant Massacre" storyline his wings are mutilated and later develop gangrene so they're amputated. For a while he uses artificial wings; later real wings grow back.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Pessi And Illusia, a Finnish fairytale, Illusia-fairy decides to leave her rainbow home to visit the ground below. While being there, however, a spider bites off her wings when she's asleep. Since Illusia can't fly anymore this prevents her from returning home. It also leads her to fall in love with the troll, Pessi, of which the story is about.

    Fan Works 
  • Ennea Series: Kaetsu cuts off Hawks' wings with a hacksaw in Chapter 34. They may grow back, but the regeneration will take a while.
  • Everything Turns to Gold: A lot of the violence inflicted on Scott involve targeting his wings, with one of the reasons being how delicate wing bones are. Restraining his wings or pulling on his fathers later become a severe Trauma Button for him.
  • Lost Reflections: Part of the plan for dealing with Fluttershy involves putting a bullet through one of her wings.
  • National Anthem: Twilight Link, in wolf form, attacks Pit and takes off one of his wings, setting Pit up for a slow death from infection in the wound.
  • Saruman of Many Devices: The Army of the Hand manages to bring down one of the Nazgul's winged steeds by shooting its wings full of holes. The second beast they bring down unfortunately crushes over a dozen soldiers, but it's still considered a worthwhile trade-off.

    Film — Animated 
    Film — Live Action 
  • Air America. The protagonists crash a cargo plane on a jungle runway. Later when they're being pursued, they land the smaller airplane they're flying on the same runway and taxi it straight into the cargo bay of the previous aircraft, ripping its wings off but concealing them from the helicopters searching for them.
  • Dogma: Bartleby uses a Batman Gambit to get rid of his wings. Angels can't die as long as they have their wings and Loki's already long gone. When Jay races up with a submachine gun, ready to shoot him, Bartleby ducks down and spreads his wings, figuring Jay's too stupid to aim, shooting his wings off instead of trying to hit him. He wastes his bullets on those wings.
  • Flight Crew: Both planes get one wing damaged, and one of them ultimately has it fall off.
  • Happens to King Ghidorah twice in the film Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Both times his wings are ripped to shreds by Godzilla's atomic breath, the first being when he first fights Godzilla and the second being when he returns as Mecha-King Ghidorah.
  • Godzilla: Final Wars: The climatic battle has Godzilla and Mothra battling Monster X and Mecha-Gigan, in that order. Gigan managed to sever one of Mothra's wings during the battle, with a shot of the wing floating from the stratosphere down to earth.
  • James Bond:
    • Licence to Kill: Pam's crop-duster gets clipped by the stinger missile Perez fires at her. She manages to put the plane down on a dirt road, but the road runs into a narrow canyon. Unable to stop in time, the wings of the plane are torn off on the canyon walls.
    • GoldenEye: Bond and Natalya are in a light plane searching for the backup GoldenEye facility when they are shot down by a missile. Bond manages to crash land the plane in the jungle, but it slides between two trees and knocks its wings off.
  • Maleficent: King Stefan instigates Maleficent's Face–Heel Turn when he cuts off her wings. Stefan only did this because he couldn't bring himself to actually kill her but wanted to make it look like he did so he would be made king. In the film's climax, the wings are reattached to Maleficent's back.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Speed Zone: This happens to a commuter plane the Van Sloans are using to get to Los Angeles before the other racers. Due to a very ill-conceived hijacking attempt (while the plane was still preparing for takeoff), the plane ends up on the highway and shears its wings off after going under an overpass. The Van Sloans' solution: have the pilot "drive" the plane to L.A. Yeah, it's that kind of movie.
  • Superman Returns: After helping the shuttle craft achieve orbit, Superman goes to save the launch platform airplane which is in a flat-spin. As he tries to stop it by grabbing one of the wings. Unfortunately, the torque causes the wing to rip from the fuselage. The other wing soon comes off as well, so Superman has to catch the plane and gently lowers it onto a baseball field near what would have been the crash site.
  • Ultraman X The Movie: Here Comes! Our Ultraman!: The climax has the Ultramen trio — consisting of Ultraman, Ultraman Tiga and Ultraman X battling the monster trio of Gorg Golza, Gorg Antlar and Zaigorg. Tiga and Antlar takes their battles into the sky, an aerial dogfight ensues until one of the Xio jets assists Tiga by unleashing Birdon's Phoenix Move on Antlar, burning off one of the monster's entire wings and making it crash.

  • Artemis Fowl: Chix Verbil is hit in the wing with a softnose laser during the events of Arctic Incident. Holly is able to save his life with some quick thinking and faerie magic, but, since the blow ruptured several major arteries, she reckons that he'll never fly again.
  • Gor: In one of the books, Tarl is riding on his tarn (a giant bird used in the military as a Horse of a Different Color) when he's attacked by a wild Ul, a fearsome flying creature somewhat akin to a pterodactyl. In the fight Tarl slashes the membrane of the Ul's wing and it retreats, flying down towards land in a spiral so as to favor the uninjured wing. Attacking the other guy's tarn in battle is often done by less scrupulous warriors.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "The Web Planet", the ant-like Zarbi from the planet Vortis (who have been made militant by the evil Animus) remove the wings of captured Menoptra (a race of humanoid butterflies) as a matter of course. At the end of the story, the Animus has been defeated (with the help of the Doctor and his companions) and the inhabitants of Vortis are learning to work together again, but the mutilated Menoptra will never regain the power of flight.
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: During their fight in episode 5, the wings on Sam's Jet Pack are destroyed by John Walker. He gets a new set in finale.
  • Ultra Series examples, winged kaiju be damned:
    • Ultraman: A dragonfly-based monster called a Dorako ends up in a fight against the series' infamous kaiju brute, Red King, which results in Red King ripping off both of Dorako's wings.
    • Return of Ultraman has this in the battle between Ultraman Jack against King Maimai, which has Jack crumpling the monster's wings like wastepaper.
    • Ultraman Ace: The second episode, where Ace battles the winged monster Chameleking, ends with Ace pulling off the monster's wings, one at a time, resulting in the downed Chameleking a sitting duck for Ace's Metallium Ray.
    • Ultraman Tiga: The battle where Ultraman Tiga and Rena (piloting a GUTS-Wing) against Zoiger, a fast-moving monster, is resolved when Rena managed to shoot off one of Zoiger's wings causing the monster to crash to the ground. Zoiger then rips off it's other wing to fight Tiga on land.
    • Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle features yet another Dorako, who ends up fighting Rei's Eleking. In a Call-Back to the original Ultraman, this Dorako also ends up having its wings pulled off by Eleking.
    • Ultraman Ginga: At the conclusion of a two-parter, the Ultramen duo, Ginga and Victory, battle the fusion monster Five King. When the monster unfolds its wings, Ginga and Victory retaliates with their own energy beams, destroying both wings and severely weakening the kaiju.

  • We Are All Pokémon Trainers: A common strategy for dealing with flying Pokémon is to freeze their wings, causing the mon in question to crash on the ground.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Per the 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide, flying creatures with wings will be unable to fly if they take too much damage, due to their wings being a prime target for enemy attack.


    Theme Parks 
  • Shrek 4D at Universal Studios has its stone dragon antagonist getting defeated when Shrek and Donkey trick it into flying through a small hole in a canyon, which reduces its wings to dust.

    Video Games 
  • A number of Shoot 'Em Up games (like 1942) require you to shoot off the wings or engines off giant airplane bosses in order to destroy them.
  • Aero Fighters: The original game for the PlayStation has the boss of the Paris stage, a massive bomber plane vulnerable in its wings. You shoot off either its left or right wing (your choice), only for the bomber to then spin itself in circles trying to slap you with its other wing.
  • Bomber Crew: It's possibly for your Lancaster to lose half of a wing and still remain airborne. Lose the whole wing however, and it's time to bail out.
  • Dark Souls: In the DLC Artorias of the Abyss, the Blind Weaponmaster Hawkeye Gough picks up his bow one last time and snipes down the Black Dragon Kalameet for its boss battle.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: During the Final Battle, Riordan sacrifices his life to ruin the draconic Archdemon's wing, robbing it of flight capability and thus allowing your party to engage and kill it on the ground.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: You can't target a dragon's wings specifically, but if you deal enough damage to one it'll land (or plow into the earth, leaving a long furrow) and spend the rest of the fight on the ground. Then later in the main quest you gain the "Dragonrend" Shout, which briefly forces immortal, aedric beings to experience the concepts of mortality and a finite, temporary existence. This proves so disorienting that any dragon hit with this Shout is temporarily unable to fly or Shout itself.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout 3 allows you to target bloatflies' wings in VATS mode. This is roughly equivalent to shooting the legs of dirt-bound foes and will severely reduce their movement speed (although even crippling their wings won't stop them flying altogether).
    • Fallout: New Vegas: Crippling a Cazador's wings is an excellent way to soften them up for the killshot. Of course, that assumes you can actually hit them in the first place, and not get stung to death by five or six of his buddies.
  • Fate/Grand Order: At the climax of the Babylonia chapter, King Hassan uses his power as a Grand Assassin to cut one of Tiamat's wings and impose the concept of "death" upon her, causing her to be unable to escape by flying, allowing the other heroes to trap and fight it.
  • Final Fantasy X: The Giant Flyer monsters will fall to the ground once they take enough damage and fight from there. This also means that they cannot be killed in a single turn, first suffering HP to 1 before the deathblow even if your party has all 99999-damage weapons.
  • From the Depths: Clipping off the wings of plane, rotor of a helicopter, or balloons of an airship are some of the fastest ways to ground them. However, many craft have internal wings and internal rotors to reduce their chances of damage. The Deepwater Guard Barracuda, an Airborne Aircraft Carrier, is remarkably resistant to being downed, but the aircraft it deploys can easily be damaged; one good missile into the side will result in them losing any form of control, causing them to endlessly spin in the air until they plow into the ocean.
  • God of War:
    • God of War II: At the end of the boss battle with Icarus, Kratos rips Icarus' wings off and takes them for himself, leaving Icarus himself to fall to his doom.
    • God of War (2018): When fighting against Baldur to save Atreus on the top of a dragon, Kratos falls and has to use the Blades of Chaos to hold himself in the wings of the beast. It fails, but the dragon's wing is damaged enough for it to fall.
  • Jade Cocoon: Some minions have access to a 'Rend Wings' attack which is especially effective against flying monsters (there's also a 'Break Legs' attack which is more effective against monsters that are land-bound).
  • Kirby Super Star: In "Revenge of Meta Knight", Kirby fights one of the (mini) bosses on top of the Meta-Knight's Cool Airship, the Halberd, and destroys one of its wings as collateral damage; the crews then desperately attempt to restabilize the ship. When Kirby goes to destroy the other wing, Captain Vul (the ship's captain) says that it might be just what they needed.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Mega Man ZX: Hivolt's weakness (where the Model H Biometal is stored) is located in his wings.
  • Monster Eye: Airborne kaiju bosses, like the rhino and stag beetle Dual Boss and the giant bat, are vulnerable in the wings, and you'll need to shoot their wings to damage them.
  • MechWarrior: In MechWarrior Living Legends, blasting out the wing or tail of an aerospace fighter will cripple its ability to turn — shoot out the tail of a diving bomber and it will plow into the ground at terminal velocity.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: The Chrysalis AI weapon takes more damage if you hit its turbines than if you hit the fusilage.
  • Metroid Prime: Meta Ridley starts his battle flying around and over the arena attacking Samus Aran with lasers and missiles. Once he loses half his health, his Hard Light wings will be destroyed and he'll spend the rest of the fight attacking on foot.
  • Several enemy types in Ōkami are invulnerable, or at least much harder to attack, while flying, but you can use brush techniques to cut their wings off and/or knock them out of the air with gusts of wind.
  • Phantasy Star Universe: In the first Playstation Portable spinoff, one of the bosses can be knocked to the ground by hitting its wings enough times. You can hit it with melee weapons, and then the wings grow back and you repeat until you beat it.
  • Phoenix subverts this. The Phoenix's wings are large and vulnerable compared to its body, but shooting one wing only slows it down slightly, and shooting off both wings just makes them regenerate.
  • Soul Sacrifice: Because the game tracks damage for each of a monster's parts, this is a valid means of weakening flying Archfiends. Most are still fairly dangerous on the ground, but destroying their wings means they can't simply lift themselves out of range of your attacks any more.
  • Star Fox: Your ship can sometimes lose its wings when it's damaged, particularly if you fly too close to something big and clip them yourself. It stays flying thanks to the ship's G-Diffuser system, but its laser goes back to being standard if you had collected upgrades. Star Fox 64 not only keeps the laser loss penalty if your wings are clipped, but your Arwing will also start drifting to the side depending on which wing is broken. If both wings are broken, you'll be constantly descending.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: In the story mode The Subspace Emissary, Meta Knight has one of his wings damaged by the Ancient Minister's laser. It doesn't deter him too much, as he simply morphs them back into a cape to avoid damage; they're good as new the next time he uses them.
  • TerraTech: This is a viable strategy; wings are wide and fragile, not to mention hard to cover with shields and repair bubbles. Shooting one off, or letting it get smashed by a tree during take-off, can cripple an aeroplane.
  • Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria has a mechanic where you can "break" individual body parts off of enemies—with flying enemies, either wing is such a part. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs when you manage to break a wing, as the monster in question spends the rest of the battle lying on the ground, unable to move, defend, or attack.
  • Warthunder allows pilots to blast off the wings of other players with some good aim and heavy firepower, or with incendiary ammo igniting the fuel stored within the wings. Some aircraft are capable of firing with a significant portion of their wings missing, such as the famous Mighty Glacier, the B-17 Flying Fortress. Loss of control surfaces is as big of an issue as losing entire parts of the wing, because wings won't help you if your elevators get shot off during a dive.

  • Spacetrawler: Martina doesn't like killing, and suggests shooting the wings off enemy spacefighters as an alternative. Emily, the one manning the guns, thinks it's stupid.
    Martina: That said, is there any way out of this without killing them?
    Emily: Nopers.
    Martina: Don't suppose you could just aim for their wings?

    Western Animation 
  • Private Snafu: In "Coming Snafu", Snafu is towing a plane and, as usual, not paying attention when he drives between two pylons and rips the wings off it.
  • TaleSpin: In "Flight of the Snow Duck", Baloo, Wildcat and Molly escape from a Thembrian prison by flying a plane made completely out of ice, while being pursued by military fighters. When one of the wings gets shot off, Wildcat scoops some water out of a lake and tosses over the wing's stub, instantly repairing it.
  • Looney Tunes: Babbitt and Catstello (here as mice) use a plane to get into the kitchen so they can snatch a wedge of cheese in the short "A Tale of Two Mice". Catstello pilots it but the wings get ripped off as the entranceway to their mousehole didn't have the clearance.
  • Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines: This happens with frequency, notably in "Windy Windmill." Zilly's plane is the only one left among the squadron, so Dastardly pilots it with Klunk and Zilly sitting on the wings. But when Dastardly pulls up to chase the pigeon, the two weighted wings rip off the fusilage.

    Real Life 
  • The plane on the picture of the main page is B-17G-15-BO Wee Willie, 322d BS, 91st BG, 8th Air Force USAAF, after a direct flak hit on its 128th mission 8 April 1945. The plane got a direct flak hit on wing root, which tore the starboard wing off. Amazingly, pilot and several crew members survived.
  • Demonstrating the durability of the F-15, which shows that not even losing a wing would necessarily crash it. Kudos to the pilot too for his Improbable Piloting Skills.
  • Tragically occured to Gol 1907, which collided in midair with an Embraer Legacy jet, one of the Legacy's winglets slicing off a good portion of the airliner's left wing, causing it to tumble from the sky into the Amazon rainforest with no survivors. The Legacy managed to make it to a Brazilian airbase and landed safely.
  • The space shuttle Columbia broke up because the area of heat shield on the left wing’s leading edge was damaged by falling foam at launch. The hot gas entering the hole and damaging the internal structure eventually caused most of the left wing to fall apart and tear off. The shuttle's computer tried its best to fight the movements caused by the failing wing, but eventually, lost the battle and the shuttle pitched up and went into a flat spin, causing Columbia to break apart.
  • Yes, this is I Thought It Meant territory. But it's worth adding the derivation of the phrase, as applied here to aircraft and given new meaning in a new age. The practice of clipping the wings of actual avian birds goes back a long time. It is done by cutting back or plucking flight pinions (feathers vital to flight) so that valuable caged/captive birds are restricted in how far they can fly, or are unable to fly at all. This was apparently also done in falconry to prevent hunting birds straying too far from their handler or getting thoughts of independence. There is a folk myth that if the ravens of the Tower of London take flight and desert the city, doom will befall Britain. This is taken seriously enough today for it to be finessed by the raven population having had their wings clipped....


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Vaggie's Past (SPOILERS)

Adam reveals that Vaggie used to be one of his top Angel Exterminators before being banished to hell for sparing a demon child

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