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Fighter-Launching Sequence

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"Emergency! Emergency! Incoming! enemy fighters! Prepare for launch!"


Rule of Cool insists that when a bunch of fighters (planes, spaceships, or even Mecha), go into battle, you always have to see them taking off first. Always.

There are several reasons for this. One is the sound of the fighters starting up. There is something very evocative about fighter engines — the promise of power and danger right there in the turbine's whine (or the exhausts' roar). Science fiction versions of the trope will have the fighters make a very similar sound despite not running on turbine engines. This isn't always a case of Space Is Noisy (because they're probably still in the pressurized hangar) but it's definitely common.

This is closely related to Red Alert with its attending imagery of lights flashing and klaxons sounding as the pilots in their flight gear race for their fighters while the ground crew calmly preps them for take-off as their commander goes over the PA with something like "All fighters, Scramble!"

This can be combined with a Lock-and-Load Montage, with the pilots suiting up and flight crew loading the fighters with fuel and ordnance before they take off.

In anime, you always have to have the commander gesture impressively on the Bridge when they do this. In fact, this usually shows up in the Opening Credits.

Sometimes this trope is subverted, with the pilots attempting to scramble only to have their airfield or mothership disabled or destroyed before they can launch. That would be an example of Sitting Duck.

A Sister Trope to Lock-and-Load Montage, Technology Porn.

Compare Attack Pattern Alpha, Engaging Chevrons, Epic Launch Sequence, Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot, Transformation Sequence.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This trope dates back in anime to what is possibly the oldest surviving anime film, Momotaro's Sea Eagles. The cartoon is a Roman à Clef of the attack on Pearl Harbor, with cute puppies and monkeys flying the planes. The trope is played straight, as all the planes take off to attack Oahu—uh, "Demon Island." The monkey co-pilot of one particular torpedo bomber falls out of his plane while taxiing and has to run to catch up.
  • All the time in the various series used to make Robotech (Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, Genesis Climber MOSPEADA), complete with a Stock Footage unfurling of the tail fins from their storage mode.
  • The Macross franchise as a whole has plenty of this.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion does this with its giant mecha.
  • Getting to the robots in GoLion, and therefore Voltron.
  • Dairugger XV, the series that became the vehicle-team Voltron, has the fifteen fighters that form Dairugger take off from their "aircraft" carrier at least Once an Episode.
  • Every Gundam series (with the possible exception of ∀ Gundam) has had at least one launch sequence.
    • Gundam SEED Destiny gratuitously abuses this — not only is there the launch sequence but the whole lengthy combination phase as well in which the four segments of the Impulse Gundam (three-piece Gundam itself plus the expansion pack of the day) meet up and combine. The full version of this sequence can waste upwards of three minutes. Considering the Troubled Production the show ran into, this was probably intentional to pad out time.
  • The title sequences to the various Getter Robo series pretty much always include a scene with the three machines taking off and going through a tunnel.
  • The first opening sequence of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS did this using Nanoha and Fate in the place of planes and Humongous Mecha, complete with flight strip lined with lights and Hayate gesturing for them to launch. Humongous Mecha series disguised as a Magical Girl series, remember?
  • Space Battleship Yamato: The Black Tigers.
  • GaoGaiGar doesn't bother showing GaoGaiGar and its components launching, even ditching the stock "summoning Galeon" scene early on, but it does show pretty much everything else launching regularly: HyoRyu and EnRyu, the Dividing Driver, the Pliers, the individual component ships of the GGG base, etc. etc. etc.
  • With both sides of the conflict in Star Fleet having carrier ships that launch fighters, this tends to crop up in pretty much every episode.
  • A one-time example occurs during episode 14 of My-HiME, where an Amazon Brigade made up of most of the HiME is shown heading into battle against the season's Big Bad. Each of the girls (minus Mikoto, who just goes into a blind, screaming charge) emerges from an Elaborate Underground Base, summons her CHILD, and launches into the fray while a Theme Music Power-Up triggers in the background. Midori naturally lampshades it by yelling "TAKEOFF!" when it's her turn.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico features a Hot-Blooded pilot yelling, "MANUAL LAUNCH!" and just running his Aestivalis out of the hangar on foot. This is directly lampshaded.
  • Tekkaman Blade has a Stock Footage launch sequence every time the hero launches up to the space ring.
  • Strike Witches most prominently uses this at the beginning of the second episode of the first season, where Sakamoto and the rest of the Akagi's fighters prepare for takeoff.
  • Area 88, which is set in a Quraci Legion of Lost Souls air force unit, has several of these across all continuities, usually sending the fighters off to attack some objective. Actual attacks on the eponymous base are relatively rare.
  • Eureka Seven sometimes has Stock Footage of the Nirvash launching into battle, complete with Transformation Sequence.
  • Sengoku Basara has Honda Tadakatsu who uses a launch sequence reminiscent to that of Gundam despite being in the Sengoku era and just wearing very heavy armor with jet packs and treads.
  • The Full Metal Panic! anime has a scene several episodes into the first series where Kurtz and Mao launch their M9s off the catapult on the deck of the Tuatha De Danann. This sequence is repeated with the Arbalest in the opening credits of The Second Raid.
  • Last Exile and Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing have several, the straightest example being the Gracies rocket fighters' launch sequence, complete with lots of smoke and impressive booster jettisoning.
  • A one-episode event in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman episode "Jumbo Shakora, the Ocean Devil King". It's the bad guys, launching from their latest mecha.
  • Happens several times in Sentou Yousei Yukikaze. The most prominent one is in the final episode when whole squadrons of planes are taking off from an Airborne Aircraft Carrier thousands of feet in the sky.
  • Episode 15 of Aldnoah.Zero has a major space battle featuring this, complete with a Suspiciously Similar Song to Hell March 2 from Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2.
  • Dragon Ball has this in the episode "Deep Blue Sea", featuring an extended Scramble filler sequence of General Blue's forces preparing to depart by air and sea.
  • The first episode of KanColle includes such a sequence with Naïve Newcomer Fubuki launching into battle for the first time. Because this is her first live battle ever, she winds up stumbling out of formation, irritating the rest of her fleet.

    Films — Animation 
  • Used by both sides in Battle for Terra.
  • The Iron Giant
    • "Mr. President, we've got a situation sir."
  • Invoked in Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius when the kids take off in their spaceships crafted from amusement park rides, lead by Jimmy Neutron.
  • Done in Planes as Dusty and the other airplane contestants are starting up and taking flight at the start line for the Wings Around the Globe.
  • Wallace & Gromit:
    • Parodied and subverted in A Close Shave. Wallace uses a visual feast of overly-elaborate Technology Porn, a clear Affectionate Parody of the sequence from Thunderbirds, to get on a bike to go and clean windows. Gromit achieves the same end result by walking through a door.
    • Then there's the very impressive rocket launch from the first film, which is played more like an actual rocket launch — complete with massive roar, blinding engine flare and slow launch before blasting into the sky.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • When the ships take off in A New Hope to attack the first Death Star. The 1977 version showed the takeoff from a distance, with the fighters rendered as glowing dots. The 1997 Special Edition replaced these with CGI fighters.
    • The Empire Strikes Back with the Rebel Snowspeeders taking off in Hoth Base to fly off against the attacking Imperial walkers.
    • The Phantom Menace has the scene where the Nabooan pilots scramble their N-1 fighters to attack the Trade Federation battleship.
    • Rogue One has the scene where Rebel forces are being scrambled for the attack on Scarif.
    • In The Last Jedi, it's subverted horrifically. As the Resistance are about to launch their fighters, almost all their pilots are killed and their fighters destroyed by a surprise attack on their hanger.
  • The opening of Top Gun is a launching sequence. There are two additional abbreviated launch sequences, one in the second act (right before Goose dies), and one more in the climax battle.
    • The opening is so iconic an edited version was used at the beginning of US Naval Academy home football games for years.
    • Top Gun: Maverick reproduced almost the exact same opening scene with a modern aircraft carrier and F-35s, and the exact same Kenny Loggins music. In the climax, Maverick and Rooster escape from enemy territory by stealing a F-14 tomcat and taking off from a reduced airstrip that was battered by Tomahawk missiles, only losing the front wheel.
  • Tora! Tora! Tora!:
  • Similar, done thrice in Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor.
  • In The Rock when the plane meant to bomb Alcatraz takes off.
  • The Final Countdown starts off with an F-14 Tomcat taking off from the Pearl Harbor airfield, and has many shots of Navy aircraft being launched off the aircraft carrier Nimitz.
  • Battle of Britain: Well don't just stand there! Get them up!
    • Also features a subversion: throughout the film the pilots at the main viewpoint squadron are repeatedly shown trying to kill time while staying within earshot of the office with the telephone, because reacting to that buys an extra few seconds before the main alarm goes off. Near the end everyone is extra nervous, because the Luftwaffe should have launched their first raid of the day by now. The telephone rings, everyone jumps up... and it's just the canteen announcing that the Tea's ready.
    • Another subversion comes in a scene in which the pilots are sitting in their planes ready for the order to take off.
    Canfield: The engine's overheating and so am I. Either we stand down or blow up. Now which do you want?
  • The transports taking off in A Bridge Too Far. The movie spends a significant time on this one, zooming in on the C-47 tow planes to show that they are piloted by officers and the gliders in tow to show that they are piloted by enlisted men.
  • Used repeatedly in Transformers (2007) (another Michael Bay film — yes, he loves this trope). Each time airplanes are called for an air strike, the camera will cut from the battle taking place to show the air planes take off. Happens first when the A-10s are called in to attack Scorponok, and later, when the Secretary of Defense manages to get an air strike order out, we are treated to F-22 Raptors taking off. Both times the sequences are covered with voice-over of the operators giving the air strike orders.
  • The scene in Avatar where nearly everything at Hell's Gate that can fly is mustered for the assault on the Tree of Souls. Notice the guy on the catwalk whose cap gets blown off by the propwash.
  • A (very) low-tech case could be made for The Wizard of Oz when the Wicked Witch of the West sends her flying monkeys after Dorothy and Co, and we see the monkeys swarming in the sky from the window of her castle.
    The Wicked Witch of the West: Do take care of those Ruby Slippers! I want them most of all! Now fly, FLY! FLY, FLY!!..."
  • Subverted in David Lynch's Dune (1984). As the Atreides troops become aware that their shields have been crippled, they run for their ships... which are blown up in their faces by Harkonnen bombers.
  • A brief sequence in We Were Soldiers when Hal Moore calls a Broken Arrow, diverting all air assets in-theatre to help him: in addition to F-100s and A-6 Intruders taking off from land bases and carriers, there are shots of other aircraft already in-flight breaking off from their missions. Similar in spirit, but with transport Hueys instead of fighters, is the evocative sequence when the first lift leaves the base to go to the Ia Drang valley.
  • Done with B-17s in Memphis Belle complete with an officer shooting a flare-gun to signal the launch.
    • Okay, this is more bombers than fighters, but it still works as an example of the trope. The Dam Busters does it even better with a long sequence of preparation for the launch of 617 Squadron on the historic raid, culminating in the flare gun, multiple engine starts and formation take-offs.
  • Pacific Rim opens with the Beckett brothers suiting up and deploying Gipsy Danger.
  • In Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, pilots on the Doolittle Raid take off from an aircraft carrier in B-25s, something that had never been done before. It led to this exchange between a pilot and co-pilot.
    Pilot: Raise the flaps
    Co-Pilot: (Looks) They weren't down.
    Pilot: Great. I wonder what else we forgot.
  • 1944 documentary The Fighting Lady has more than one of these, real ones, as the pilots fly off for bombing runs against Marcus Island and Truk, and then go out for the huge Battle of the Philippine Sea.
  • Midway (2019): Done several times over the course of the film, which is to be expected as one of the major settings is carrier USS Enterprise. The first one is a pair of SBD dive bombers taking off for Pearl Harbor the morning of December 7. They run into a flight of Japanese Zeroes. There are several more as various attacks and raids are launched against Japanese targets, and one that shows what happens when the ship isn't moving fast enough to provide enough headwind for a successful takeoff. The last major ones are as the strikes against the Japanese carriers at Midway itself are launched.

  • Throughout the X-Wing Series there are pre-flight checks where characters sound off — "Red Flight, are we good to go?" "Red Two, ready." "Red Three, four lit and ready to burn." "Red Four, nothing's gone wrong yet." Then there's that scene near the end of Starfighters of Adumar where Wedge gives a speech about purpose to the united Adumari nation, then has someone hit the air siren to get people in their fighters, tells Iella the two reasons why nothing is going to happen to him, and gets into the cockpit to lead them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Both Battlestar Galactica series. Each have their Vipers housed in individual launch tubes as their thrusters fire for maximum acceleration as they roar out.
    • Subverted in the first episode of the 2003 series. Starbuck is in the tube, prepping for launch when a fuel system malfunction is detected, and her Viper is ejected back onto the flight deck amid much cursing.
    • Also subverted in the 2003 season one episode "The Hand of God". The true attacking force is hidden nearby, rather than launching from Galactica.
  • This trope is used in the shows of the Ultra Series. Often featured in opening theme sequences.
    • Ultraman: Towards the Future did this with the UMA fighter jets, in nearly every episode.
    • Ultraman Gaia featured the XIG fighters launching from their base in the series' opening sequence.
    • Ultraman Nexus featured the launching sequence of the Chrome Chesters in the series' opening sequence for the first 25 episodes of the series.
    • The opening sequence of Ultraman Mebius shows the Gun Phoenix taking off.
    • The opening sequence of Ultraman Tiga is mainly an extended launch sequence for the Artdesei, which takes flight just as the theme song swells into chorus. It's interspersed with short clips of other GUTS vehicles launching.
  • Babylon 5 launches fighters by having them drop out of the spinning space station. The follow on Crusade uses a launch rail that extends out of the ship — slightly more compact but no less Rule of Cool.
  • Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. Every time Earth Defense Force fighters launched out of their tunnels, whether going into battle or not. It is preceded by a triangular light pattern that moves toward the fighter before launch, probably as a final safety diagnosis for the tunnel to confirm it safe for launching.
    • The pilot actually subverted this - the outnumbered defenders of Earth saw the enemy ships fly out of their launch tubes only to explode. What they did not know was that our hero was roaming the launch bay shoving munitions up the Draconian ships' tailpipes.
  • Batman (1966) again (the Adam West incarnation): "To the Batmobile!" followed by "Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed..." (the latter appears as a Shout-Out in Wing Commander III, as the fighter start-up while waiting for the mission to load.)
  • Power Rangers, a LOT. Especially Power Rangers Operation Overdrive.
    • This goes back to the series' Super Sentai origins, of course, which heavily preferred vehicular mecha in the early years — the first one, Himitsu Sentai Gorenger, could do this with a hot-air balloon.
    • Early Sentai also had mobile bases which carried their mecha... which first emerged from the heroes' main base. It's a good thing Transformation Is a Free Action, otherwise Tokyo would be gone while the second base was launching.
  • UFO (1970): When Moonbase interceptors or Sky One launched to fight incoming UFOs.
  • An elaborate one in Space: Above and Beyond, in which the cockpits descend and attach to the bodies of the fighters before launch.
  • Just about every episode on JAG taking place on an aircraft carrier will feature this trope in some fashion.
  • Not fighters, but the ending of the opening episode of Band of Brothers has the paratroopers getting into the plane, the plane taking off, and then another and another, as the camera pulls back to slowly reveal the whole sky full of planes,and the fleet below, to show just how damn big the invasion was.
  • World on Fire: Episode 1x7 has a brief shot of British fighter planes taking off, presumably to take on the Luftwaffe, as it's summer 1940.
  • Masters of the Air: A Spiritual Successor to both Band of Brothers and The Pacific, this military drama focuses on the exploits of the 100th Bombardment Group of the United Staes Army Air Force during the Allied bombing campaign of World War II. Naturally, every mission begins with the launching of the heavy bombers within each squadron from the airbase before they all form up and make their way to the target.


    Puppet Shows 
  • All the Gerry Anderson shows had epic stock launching sequences. They are pretty much the trope codifier. This was because with puppets, they couldn't simply just walk to their vehicles. Anyway, what is the fun in just walking to them?
    • Fireball XL5 blasting down the track on its rocket sled may be the Ur-Example.
    • Stingray took the trope underwater with the crew of the eponymous super-sub manning the craft to the sound of drumbeats, followed by the boat travelling 10 miles along a fairly narrow tunnel before entering the Pacific Ocean through the Ocean Door.
    • Thunderbirds
    • The Angels from Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.

    Video Games 
  • Both the original Andro Dunos and it's sequel begins with an FMV of the Yellow Cherry and Red Fox taking off the combat the hostile invasion forces.
  • Battlestations: Pacific features this both in Stock Footage before some campaign missions, as well as in-game, as it takes quite some time for carrier-based aircraft to launch.
  • Zero Wing for the Sega Genesis has sequence of launching. Captain is said "Take off every Zig!" Zig move for great justice as the base which somebody set up the bomb explodes behind them.
  • Star Fox in most games, (the original being pictured above) shows the team taking off before the first mission. In the original, they launch from a base on Corneria, but later games launch them from the Great Fox.
  • Rendering Ranger: R2 have it's levels alternating between on foot, or in a prototype starfighter stolen from the aliens. In the first starfighter-themed level, you hop on the fighter after defeating a bunch of enemies, leading to a cutscene of your fighter launching into space.
  • Super R-Type and R-Type III use it.
  • The player character of The Guardian Legend is always shown to go from Walking to Flying mode in a Transformation Sequence before she tackles a corridor. It's also inverted, where she transforms back once the corridor is complete.
  • Happens in Kingdom Hearts II every time you enter an area with the Gummi Ship. Never mind that it was already in space. Fortunately, it's mostly skippable though.
  • The Wing Commander games like to have mini-cutscenes before every mission, showing you and your fighter being readied for launch. In the first game, it was an animated scene (complete with Red Alert, even for routine patrols) with pilots and technicians racing to the hangar, and a similar scene in III showed Col. Blair boarding his ship as it was being prepped by the deck crew; while in the last, it featured your fighter being loaded into the Midway's massive catapult. III and IV had an optional launching scene which was triggered if you launch your ship using the autopilot (it was skipped if you launch manually by upping the throttle).
    • The novels and later games also mention a "magnum launch," where a carrier simply takes every available pilot and loads them into every available ride, then dumps them into space as fast as possible, usually when the carrier itself is about to come under attack. Such missions in the games, while usually awesome, are also a bit more challenging because you can't personalize your loadout and are stuck with the defaults.
  • This occurs in the Ace Combat series from time to time, too. Sometimes you have to play through the takeoff as well.
    • The introduction of Ace Combat 2 has the protagonists taking off from a carrier to intercept enemy planes.
    • The X-49 launch scene from Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere. Right before it destroys Megafloat using its laser cannon .
    • The opening mission of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies features a carrier launching Mobius One's F-4 if the player chooses that aircraft for the mission; otherwise it is skipped. One could also count the launch sequences from when the player uses the RTB line to rearm.
    • Another example is the opening to "First Flight" in Ace Combat 5, where your home base is under attack from enemy planes, and you're taxiing to the end of the runway so you can take off, while planes, buildings and vehicles explode and fall around the player. Due to the damage sustained during the bombing and the lack of qualified pilots, it falls to your wing of three, and later four, to defend the entire base.
      • Another occurs during "Ancient Walls" as your squadron launches from the Kestrel. In both cases these are skipped in Free Mission mode unless certain aircraft are used (F-5E in First Flight and any of the carrier-capable jets in Ancient Walls).
    • The Ace Combat 5 example was recycled for Ace Combat Zero when PJ, after Pixy's defection, and Cipher launch from a base that is under attack by the XB-0 super-bomber.
    • Played straight at the beginning of Ace Combat 6 during the opening sequence. It's solely a cinematic like the AC04 example, but with the caveat that it actually reflects whichever plane you picked for the level rather than skipping it if you don't choose a specific one.
    • The opening of "Charge Assault" in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. As part of the Mage Squadron, Fort Grays is under attack by unidentified bombers, forcing you to take off and engage the bombers with the Golem Squadron.
      • Another occurs during "444" as you are labeled a convict for killing President Harling and had to defend the base by acting as a decoy to the enemy as a member of the Spare Squadron.
      • The cherry on top occurs during "Dark Blue" where your aircraft is launched from the Admiral Andersen.
  • In the game Over G Fighters, you have to perform the takeoff manually, after manually taxiing your plane to the runway. It's possible to botch the taxiing so bad that the landing gear are ruined... in which case, mission failed.
    • This is taken much further, of course, in virtually every actual combat flight simulator. Many also require a full startup sequence and correct radio communications.
  • Ace Online has a relatively cinematic launch sequence for whenever a player leaves town. There's also a bit of a tradition within the playerbase to send duel challenges while landed and then take off as it starts.
  • Both Andro Dunos and it's 2022 sequel begins with an animated cutscene of the player's fighter jets, Yellow Cherry and Red Fox, taking off from their hangar on earth before launching into the skies to battle the aliens.
  • X-Wing and its various sequels had launch sequences before every mission. However, due to the specific way that Star Wars fighters are launched, the cutscene may be much less exciting than with other games. However, it compensates for this with the subsequent hyperjump directly into the combat zone.
  • Cloud Cutter have the enemies doing this, whereas your titular jet fighter is already airborne at the start of each level. In the background you can often see enemy jets and planes taking off while you're busy battling enemies on the same elevation as you, lining up to be shot, and the Battleship Raid stage where you take on an aircraft carrier have said carrier's planes lining up and lying off-deck in a straight formation to attack.
  • Creature Shock introduces Commander Jason Barr, your Captain Space, Defender of Earth! hero in a Fighter Landing Sequence. And then he heads to space, with several cutscenes depicting his trusty starfighter leaving hangars into orbit.
  • Final Fantasy XII had as many gratuitous take-off scenes as it did airships. It had a lot of airships.
  • Your spaceship from Galaga '88 does that at the start of the game.
  • Ikaruga has an equivalent sequence at the start of each level where the player's ship accelerates to intercept the enemies while the music kicks in.
  • Star Control: The Ur-Quan Dreadnought's secondary attack is essentially a mini-version of this trope.
  • Many games in the Raiden series start with the player's aircraft taking off.
  • The 194X series of arcade shooters had an initial launch sequence from an aircraft carrier.
  • Freelancer has a skippable mini-sequence every time you enter a planet, station or capital ship.
    • There is also few better examples in storyline missions. Especialy defense of planet Toledo from Nomads with pilots running and ships launching with sound of alarm. Also the escape from Sprague and other few examples.
  • This is rife in the original trilogy of Another Century's Episode, where the player's selected Humongous Mecha lumbers or gets a lift to the catapult of the hero faction's warship. This is most accentuated in ACE 2 where each robot ends up on the catapult with a short musical jingle accompanying them, which gets lengthened if the mecha in question has large thrusters like the Dragonar units. Then, a 3D cut-in of the mecha's pilot appears, requesting for launch, of note is the Prince of Darkness Akito Tenkawa simply saying "Going." with a grin on his face. The logical extreme that went with all this presenation in mind was Domon Kasshu summoning the God Gundam by snapping his fingers and appearing on the Albion's bridge rather than the flight deck).
  • Gradius III has a scene of this if the title screen is left to play.
    • Gradius V has it at the beginning of the first stage. "Emergency! Emergency! This station at planet Gradius is under attack by the Bacterians!"
  • Halo:
    • Halo: Reach: When you get into your Sabre Space Fighter, you get an extended sequence of it taking off from Reach into space.
    • Halo 4: In the first episode of Spartan Ops, following the Infinity's Dynamic Entry at Requiem by way of ramming through a Covenant battlecruiser, the massive starship then proceeds to a scrambling sequence that involves mass deployment of Pelicans, Broadswords, and even entire Charon-class frigates from internal bays, immediately engaging the Covenant remnant forces above the shield world.
    • The launching sequence for a Pelican is a shoutout to the Viper tube launch of Battlestar Galactica, so close that it's almost copied.
  • FreeSpace 2 usually just starts you in space, but your first mission into the nebula (full of Interface Screw and mystery) starts you and your wing on the wing of your flagship so that you can fly off into the blue in style.
  • Rescue on Fractalus! featured a first-person launch sequence from the player's orbital base to the planet below.
  • Top Gun: The plane is seen firing its engines in the opening cinematic, and then you watch your jet take off in first person. You also have to land the thing at the end of the level, much to a generation of players' immense frustration.
  • Combat Flight Simulator always starts campaign missions and one-off missions with the player on the ground, requiring you to start your engines and take off before getting to do anything fun. Ordinary flights usually let you start at altitude, though.
  • Metal Warriors features this for the player's Giant Mecha as part of the first mission's opening cutscene, complete with dramatic switch-flipping.
  • Terminal Velocity (1995) has the launch scene (complete with caution sirens, and launching from out of a rotating space station) when the game is first started (since the player continues flying between each mission without returning to base or even docking).
  • Fury³ had such a scene for when the game is first launched (the ship is prepped and launched from a space station), while the next sequel, Hellbender had its launch scene at the start of the first level (where the player's ship is launched from a carrier, where it never returns to after each mission - both the player's ship and the carrier warp independently to each succeeding mission).
  • The opening cinematic of Silpheed for the Sega CD.
    "Emergency! Emergency! Bogies approaching! All interceptors scramble now!"
  • The first game in the Galaxy Angel Gameverse has a cutscene for the Emblem Frames launching from the ventral hangar of the Cool Ship. It's played at least twice.
  • In Rogue Squadron and its sequels, each mission starts with a cutscene showing your selected craft take off from a hanger (which functions as the Playable Menu) and fly out through space towards the appropriate planet. Including when that craft is a non-spaceworthy snowspeeder.
  • The intro cutscene of Quake II has a squadron of drop pods launching. The pods are knocked out of the sky by an EMP blast, killing most of the soldiers except for the player character.
  • Raiden Trad featured the player's ship taking off from atop the Airborne Aircraft Carrier as an opening to the first stage, and then again as an opening to the third stage. Interestingly enough, the carrier is shown with extensive battle damage for the second take-off.
  • Battlefield 3 The start of the level Going Hunting had this as well as all of the pre-flight checks.
  • All of The Tale of ALLTYNEX games do this in some variation or another.
  • XCOM: Enemy Unknown has a dramatic cutscene for interceptor launches, where its launch catapult is primed, and it's shot out of the big double-doors in the ceiling to chase down a flying saucer. It's played in full in the first time of each playthrough, and abridged to 2-3 seconds all subsequent times.
  • Soukyugurentai has a 9.92-second launch sequence before the first level. The two levels after that start with the player ship launching from a floating fortress or carrier.
  • In MechWarrior Living Legends, aerospace fighters are assembled in a hangar and must be taxied out before taking off. Some levels like "Stone Rose" and "Kagoshima" have dramatic launch tunnels, which can be harrowing in the large and lumbering Shiva and Xerxes aerospace fighters.
  • Image Fight does this right before the final few stages of the game.
  • No Man's Sky evokes this when you take off from a space station.
  • In Star Wars: Squadrons during single-player missions you get to watch your chosen starfighter start up, hover, and leave the hangar. During multiplayer it doesn't show this whole sequence, but there is a sequence at the start of fleet battles where the squadron forms up and the pilots check in with each other.
  • The opening cinematic of Assault Suits Valken features the player character, Jake, being launched in his Mecha, from the battlecraft Versis.
  • ZeroRanger: The game startup cutscene features the player's craft's startup and launch sequence, with stills from cutscenes later in the game interspersed.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Although modern military aircraft are complex machines that can take 15 minutes or more to start up under 'normal' circumstances, if kept on alert they can be scrambled in as little as 5 or even 2 minutes. A Canadian F-101 Voodoo Squadron was once able to scramble a pair of alert aircraft in 57 seconds flat.
  • Catapult-assisted carrier launches fit this trope extremely well; no book or encyclopedia entry featuring carrier planes is complete without a money shot of the plane hooked up to a catapult with a flight deck man pointing the plane forward.
  • To quote Wikipedia, "A minimum interval takeoff (MITO) is a technique of the United States Air Force for scrambling all available bomber and tanker aircraft at twelve- and fifteen-second intervals, respectively." An "elephant walk" to set this up can result in impressive launch volumes.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Launch All Fighters, Scramble All Fighters, Take Off Every Zig


Charge Assault intro

In the opening of the first mission, Erusean bombers attack Fort Grays Air base, whis is under control of the IUN. In response, the base scrambles Golem and Mage squadrons

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / FighterLaunchingSequence

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