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I Believe I Can Fly

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Wait a second, since when could Aquaman fly?

"If you're a Superfriend, being able to fly is like being able to break a graham cracker along the line."

This trope describes when there are multiple characters with a wide variety of different abilities, but the ability to fly is surprisingly common. Even if the ability to fly comes from different sources for different people (e.g. gravity-manipulation versus "I'm from Krypton"), they all seem to be able to fly in more or less the same manner.

It also works on the meta level, rather than simply within a single continuity; besides the number of Flying Bricks, there's also a rather large number of characters in general who can fly as such, one way or another. An example of this is characters who don't have flight as an expressed power, yet use their abilities in some way to allow Not Quite Flight, such as psychics using psychokinesis on themselves, elementals using elemental guff to fly, shapeshifters becoming birds, and a Gadgeteer Genius creating a jet pack. And some have this as their only power (Angel, Hawkman) and, as the page quote implies, this makes it hard to stand out as special.

Up, Up and Away! is the standard hero flying pose.

A type of Stock Superpower.

Only marginally related, if at all, to the R. Kelly song.


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  • In the 1965 series of commercial for Ivory Liquid, a maid named Mary Mild flies into people's kitchens to promote the product. Seen in June and July episodes of Guiding Light.
  • A series of commercials in the Czech Republic by an organization promoting people with disabilities, Chodicilide, show people flying as "normal", and those who cannot fly as having a disability.
  • A series of commercials for the Bic Flex 5 razor ("Smooth Up") have a flying woman promoting the product to surprised men who she feels need a closer shave.
  • The Geico commercial "Ancient Secrets", parodying Wuxia films, shows several people flying around the office.
  • Red Bull gives you wiings.
  • Sanitary napkins Sofy Air Fit apparently are so light that the women who wear them gain the ability to fly.
  • In Slin Drink commercials, people who drink the product float up in the air.
  • Vegetable oil Yudum makes people lighter than air in several commercials.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The Dragon Ball franchise:
    • In Dragon Ball, flight is initially presented as a technique of the Crane Hermit, but by the last Tournament Arc before Dragon Ball Z, pretty much everyone who fights (except Yajirobe and Master Roshi) can fly via Ki Manipulation. Apparently it's possible for someone who knows how, to teach just about anyone to do it, as Gohan taught Videl.
    • There's a joke in the Android Saga when Bulma expects Yajirobe to take off after the other heroes and he has to remind her that he can't.
    • A World Martial Arts Tournament official hilariously hangs a lampshade on this in the Buu Saga: when Mr. Satan freaks out upon seeing his daughter Videl fly, the official responds "So she can fly. What's the big deal?" Having been officiating the Tournament since well before Mr. Satan came onto the martial arts scene, he remembers the days when the majority of the finalists knew how to fly.
  • This was true in Lyrical Nanoha for two seasons. Then, in the third season, we're introduced to the grand majority of magic users who are not powerful enough to fly. (We actually did get to see some of these Red Shirts in the first two seasons, but it was never made clear that they were ground-bound as well as Mooks.)
  • Tokyo Mew Mew sometimes gives everyone the power to levitate for no apparent reason. In episodes centered around Mew Mint, the birdgirl, however, only she can fly. The manga is more consistent on the matter.
  • Bleach has Not Quite Flight by means of creating platforms of spirit particles underfoot as a basic skill for most of the major factions. It quickly becomes far easier to list the characters with notable spirit power who can't do this. It turns out this is, oddly enough, much harder to do in areas that already have high concentrations of spirit particles.
  • Day Break Illusion: If you're a Magical Girl, you can fly. Which is good, considering the size of the average daemonia.
  • In the 90s Sailor Moon anime many villains could fly, but in the manga (and thus Sailor Moon Crystal) the Sailor Senshi eventually get the same ability.

    Comic Books 
  • Amongst the big names of The DCU, you pretty much only have Batman, Aquaman, and The Flash (usually) incapable of flight, along with certain versions of Wonder Woman. Which makes Hawkman and Hawkgirl pretty lame, considering it's their featured ability. To give them more of a reason to be around, focus has started to shift to their skill at bashing villains with Anti-Magic maces.
    • In the Silver and Bronze Age comics, flight was of course what the Hawks were famed for, but they rarely used flight alone to solve problems they faced; their real go-to skill was that they were experts in archaic melee weapons (befitting their cover identity as archaeologists). They were particularly fond of maces and caestus (leather gauntlets, often with spikes or metal plates, used to give your boxing skills that extra punch). They were also pretty good at detective work, since what they really were was Thanagarian police officers (who actually were interested in archaic Earth melee weapons as a hobby).
  • Some incarnations of Aquaman have had Not Quite Flight abilities as part of the Required Secondary Powers that make him a much higher-tier hero than he initially appears.
  • Superman:
    • Although Superman is likely the ur-example, oddly enough, he could not fly in his earliest appearances. He could leap several city blocks in one jump, however. (Possibly where the phrase "leap tall buildings in a single bound" originally came from.) After several issues of Character Development, this was changed and he was able to use actual flight.
    • When Supergirl was introduced several years later after her cousin's debut, she could fly since the beginning. Most of her enemies also can fly using magic (Nightflame), technology (Reactron), psychic powers (several mutants) or mad science (Blackstarr).
    • In The Supergirl From Krypton (1959), flight is the first super-power she tests once she arrives on Earth.
    • At the beginning of Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade only Superman and Supergirl can fly. Then Linda's duplicate shows up. Later a bunch of students gain powers, and most of them can fly. And then Supergirl meets the imps of the Fifth Dimension...
    • Lampshaded in The Strange Revenge of Lena Luthor. When Blackrock shows off his newfound flying powers, Supergirl asks if she, who has been flying since she was fifteen, is supposed to be impressed.
      Blackrock: Lovely view from up here, isn't it?
      Supergirl: So you can fly! Big deal! I take it your "rock" gives you a crude matter-transmutting power. That's probably how you turn yourself into "cohesive particles" so you can ride broadcast signals in the atmosphere!
    • All members of the Legion of Super-Heroes are issued a "Flight Ring", even the ones that can already fly. Justified, as the flight rings serve multiple purposes. At a bare minimum they are the Legionnaires' badges, identifying them as deputized Science Police officers. They were also emergency signal devices in the Silver Age, and eventually become full-on communicators. And in the Threeboot, flight rings also served to generate force shields to protect them in space and underwater.
    • In Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes it became a plot point. As a kid, Clark Kent was one of very few people on Earth that could fly. Since all of the Legionnaires could fly it made him feel like less of an outcast.
  • X-Men: When Angel was introduced as a member of the X-Men, it was alongside the very flightless Cyclops and Beast, while Iceman's ice slides didn't offer the same level of maneuverability and Jean Grey couldn't levitate herself very far. But as the roster has expanded with characters who have flight as a side effect of their powers - Storm, Magneto, Rogue (after absorbing the right abilities), Mystique, Cannonball, Apocalypse, and so on - being stuck with huge feathered wings as a mutation must be annoying. In response, Angel has gained (and sometimes lost) a lot of other powers over the years, such as vision on par with a hawk's, being physically capable of flight i.e. being both lighter and stronger than normal humans, and recently universal donor blood with regenerative properties that, for some, can heal otherwise-doomed characters from fatal damage. And even when his power of flight was more exclusive, he always made it look like a lot of fun, like every childhood daydream you've had but better.
  • In the W.I.T.C.H. comic book, only Hay Lin, the Air Guardian, could fly outside of Kandrakar (where anyone can fly), in spite of all of them having wings. However, all of them could in the cartoon. This was compensated for in the second season when Hay Lin was the only to gain invisibility (which all of guardians could do in the comics).
    • As part of the power-up in the "New Power" arc of the comic, all Guardians become able to fly. Hay Lin, however, is explicitly stated to be able to fly faster and higher than the others thanks to having the Power of Air.
  • Subverted with Spider-Man. During the Acts of Vengeance storyline, when he became Captain Universe, he was able to fly, and didn't like it at all. He almost got airsick when he did it, and wondered how folks like Iron Man managed it. (Of course, had the powers lasted, he may very well have mastered them and gotten used to it.)
    • He seemed to adapt better during the Identity Crisis storyline. When he was a fugitive for assaulting Norman Osborn, he briefly abandoned his Spider-Man identity, and took on four others, including the Hornet, where he flew using a jetpack. He was much better at it, but neither it nor the other three identities lasted long. (He felt they simply weren't him, and no-one could argue.)
  • In ElfQuest Rayek learns the power of levitation, which is also shared by all of the Glider elves except, to her eternal chagrin, Winnowill.
  • Most superheroes in Jupiter's Legacy seem to be Flying Bricks, albeit much weaker than the Superman Substitute protagonists.
  • The Future Shorts story Gifts of The Magi featured a planet of flying brixks that had no stairs anywhere because none of the population needed them.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 comics, Buffy and Willow can now both fly which they couldn't do in the TV show.
  • Go Girl comic books feature a girl who can fly, a power inherited from her mother.
  • Jinty comic books had a short series in 1975 called Bird-Girl Brenda, about a girl who could fly. Despite her name, she did not need wings.

    Films — Animated 
  • According to the DVD commentary, originally all of The Incredibles could fly except Mr. Incredible. This was going to be a sore spot for him. Of course as they worked out the script, eventually it got so that none of them could fly (except possibly Jack-Jack).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played with in Sky High (2005). Only Will's mom Josie (and a few unnamed background students) are known to fly, and for those who do it's generally their only power. Will being revealed as a Flying Brick is treated as unheard of and spectacular.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is the type of movie where flying (among other supernatural abilities) is a standard martial arts technique.
  • Increasingly so in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Iron Man and War Machine have repulsor jets, Hulk can jump high enough that it's essentially flight, Thor could be pulled off the ground by Mjolnir (and might be able to do the same with Stormbreaker), Captain Marvel can fly when she goes binary, Falcon and the Wasp have wings on their suits, Vision can fly unaided, Scarlet Witch can use her magic to propel herself upwards, Doctor Strange has the cloak of levitation, Star-Lord has rocket boots, and Spider-Man's suit has web gliders.

  • Those Who Walk in Darkness deserves special mention for applying this despite stating that mutants can only have one power. The only character who explicitly has flight and another power is a freak of nature even by in-universe standards, but several older heroes are referenced as flying despite being incredibly powerful in a setting where many abilities have far more applications than flight.
  • A notable aversion is the Temps universe: the DPR postergirl Carrie Smith is the only paranorm who can fly properly, although several can levitate and sort-of steer. Even the local Flying Brick, Zeus, apparently "moves through the sky like a bulldozer on ice" and was in tears when he saw video footage of Carrie.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy universe anyone can fly. All you have to do is throw yourself at the ground and miss. And, once you accomplish that, and find yourself flying, it stops working if you ever start to think that what you're doing shouldn't be possible.
  • In Hero by Perry Moore, a couple of scenes refer to the main League group flying, implying that even The Flash and Aquaman expies can fly.
    • Near the end when Justice mind controls all the League members, dozens of heroes are flying overhead. It's not mentioned if the ones who can't fly are running along the ground somewhere below.
  • Flight is obviously an extremely popular power downloaded from the titular websites in and Also a lot of primes develop it naturally.
  • In Magical Girl Raising Project, while some magical girls can fly via their special abilities, such as Top Speed (ride a fast broomstick) or Archfiend Pam (control four wings), others are able to fly because it's part of their motif, such as the Peaky Angels having wings (since they're angels) or Magicaloid 44 having rocket boosters (since she's a robot).
  • Most adult magicians in The Magicians seem to be able to fly but it uses up a lot of energy so they can't stay airborne for long.
  • In Sword Art Online, the ALO game's most famous feature is allowing players to fly through the air as a fairy race.
  • In Slayers, "Levitation" and "Ray Wing" are simple and common spells that ensure almost every magic-user can fly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Look Around You has a joke where flight power is presented as perfectly normal.
  • In Heroes, when Peter is first brought to the future (a future where powers are both known and widespread), the sky over New York seemed to be full of flying people.
  • In an unsold pilot for a proposed series Take Me To Your Leader, a "flying pill" gives several people in an office the power to fly.
  • Flight is the standard superpower for all the heroes of the Ultra Series, besides the usual transformation moves and energy beams.

  • Although the other characters in the video for "Bury It" by CHVRCHES discover their telekinetic powers on their own, they don't learn to fly until Haley shows them it can be done. Lauren's face as the power surrounds her is pretty much the visual embodiment of this trope. Martin, on the other hand, doesn't believe hard enough and has a Die or Fly moment. He doesn't die.
  • Mamamoo, a Korean girl group, does a lot of flying in the video for "Sky Sky".
  • "Tvoje múza" (Your Muse), by Czech girl group Aquababes, shows all 5 beautiful women flying in the sky for the entire 3-minute video. There is also a behind-the-scenes video of how the women learned to fly: "Jak jsme se učily létat"
  • In her video for Mushaboom, Canadian signer Leslie Feist jumps out of a window fully believing that she will fly, and she does.
  • In her video for Oxygen, Swedish singer Marie Serneholt jumps into the air fully intending to fly, and she spends most of the video flying through the air.

    Myths & Religion 
  • There was also a folk tale among African-Americans about slaves who escaped their bondage by discovering how to fly home. Video of The People Could Fly here.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Princess: The Hopeful: The sourcebook mentions that Wings Of Air (the Charm that grants true flight) is the single most popular charm for someone to create a Bequest from.

    Video Games 
  • Characters from the Touhou Project series have abilities ranging from Super-Strength to controlling insects to "manipulating boundaries," but without fail every single one of them can also fly. A footnote in an article from Perfect Memento in Strict Sense could imply that everyone in Gensokyo can fly, even the "normal" humans.
    • Special mention must be made of main protagonist Reimu Hakurei. In the PC-98 games she was incapable of flight and rode into battle on the back of her flying, bearded turtle Genji, but since the Windows games she's evidently learned to fly on her own while Genji is "probably living in the lake at the back of the shrine." Not only that, but Reimu is also able to exploit her power of flight to literally float out of reality with her "Fantasy Nature" spellcard, making her effectively invincible for its duration. The only reason she's beatable is that she's sporting enough to impose a time limit on her own ability.
  • This is a main feature of the MMORPG Flyff, in which everyone gains the ability to fly. Via hoverboards or flying brooms, that is. It's even what the name stands for: Fly For Free.
  • A major part of City of Heroes, as one could guess from the comic book setting:
    • The most commonly-taken travel power was Fly, part of the Flight Pool powerset. It was relatively slow and used a lot of Endurance, and Super Jump and Teleport and Super-Speed were also available as alternatives, but it's simple to use, unaffected by topography, and highly thematic. Its speed could be vastly increased with the secondary power Afterburner (though you couldn't attack while Afterburner was in effect).
    • The Flight pool also has a separate Hover power (much much slower flight, but a bonus to dodging) that non-melee characters used to use to float twenty feet in the air and rain death on their opponents with impunity.
    • There was also a variety of jetpacks you could acquire, as well as some more unusual flying abilities on the Paragon Market (like hovering discs and flying carpets).
    • The final Beta introduced a second, separate flying power, Mystic Flight (part of the Sorcery powerset), that also let you teleport while it was in use. Datamining revealed several more dual-powers like this were being planned, including a Jetpack power in the Gadgetry powerset (which came with its own version of Afterburner, Turbo Boost).
    • The Group Fly ability actually allows non-flying teammates to fly alongside you.
  • In Perfect World, every character eventually gains the ability to fly. Humans use giant magical swords, Elves use their wings (and they can replace them somehow), Untamed use flying beasts, Tideborn use wings made of Pure Energy, and the new Earthguard use kites.
  • Comes and goes in Super Robot Wars. On the one hand, many Super Robots can fly just for cool and Real Robots, especially Gundams, are inherently aerospace weaponry. On the other, there are just as many "lower-tech" adventure stories where the robot is grounded, as well as the tendency to have Transforming Mecha with a plane mode and ground mode. (Variation: Mazinger Z and descendants can always fly provided they have a Scrander, but their performance is often better when standing than in the air.)
    • There is actually a part known as the Minovsky Drive (Tesla Drive in OG): Stick it on a mech and it now flies. Any mech. From lightweights to uber-heavy tanks like The Big O.
  • Champions Online provides no less than twelve means of flight: Rocket boots, Hover disk, Jet pack, Fire flight, Earth flight, Magic Carpet Flight, Phoenix flight, Rainbow Flight, Rainbow Flight: Cloud, and Tornado Flight, not to mention generic Flight, and the crafted travel power Aethyric Flight. Oh, and both Ice Slide and Teleport behave pretty much like variants on flight, themselves. This means that from 50% - 58% (if you count Ice Slide and Teleport) of the existing travel powers are flight related.
  • In LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, itself based on a comic book franchise and so prone to this, after shooting lasers easily the most common character ability is flight. Some characters also have 'hover' as an ability, which only hovers about a foot of the ground but allows for things like faster movement and travel over surface hazards and water.
  • A good number of heroes in Freedom Force can fly or, at least, levitate (which is somewhere in-between running and flying, speed-wise; only Mentor has this ability). This helps some heroes who are normally too slow to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time (e.g. Man-Bot). However, the fastest hero, Bullet, is a speedster who can run faster than any other character can fly (and that's without using his special abilities to Flash Step). The original game includes El Diablo, Man O' War, Sea Urchin, Alchemiss, Man-Bot, and Blackbird. The sequel adds Sky King, Quetzalcoatl, and Green Genie. A number of enemies can fly as well, including Lord Dominion, Red Oktober, Fortissimo, and Entropy (Alchemiss after her Face–Heel Turn).
  • Child of Light initially plays like a platform game, until you defeat the first boss, whence Aurora (literally) earns her wings and flight becomes the primary means of travel.
  • Occurs due to Power Creep in the Super Smash Bros. series. In the first game, Kirby and Jigglypuff's multiple jumps gave them a slight edge due to their mobility compared to the other fighters. By Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, ten different fighters have more than two jumps.
  • Metroid II: Return of Samus: At least half of the creatures encountered in this game can fly, including all but maybe one type of metroid, even those with legs. Samus herself gets a flight mode of sorts in the space jump.

  • M9 Girls!: Clau can levitate as part of her telekinetic powers.
  • In Schlock Mercenary the body armor contains gravitics that allows flight. The generation equipment can also be used with the rest of the uniform cut away, as Chelle does for her "fairy" act in the "Barsoom Command" story arc.
    • It's occasionally noted that gravitics aren't an instant-win feature- one term for (untrained) flying soldiers is "skeet".
  • In El Goonish Shive, when Elliot got his superheroine spell the first power it was shown to have was flight. Also Nanase's first spell was flight and Grace's Omega form grants flight among other things. Non-main characters with flight include Damien, Vlad, Magus, The Demonic Duck (an actual sapient duck-like creature, not an oddly named humanoid), Dex, Terra, The Writer's Block, Noah, the griffins and all Immortals.
  • Tower of God: Lauroe has learnt Shinsu techniques that allow him to fly.

    Web Original 
  • Christopher Walken can fly, although he doesn't like to in public — apparently many people find Flying Christopher Walken even more disturbing than regular Christopher Walken. However, this skill did come in handy when he made the music video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon Of Choice."
  • Team Kimba of the Whateley Universe has everyone except Chaka able to fly in one way or another, and Chaka can do Wire Fu to run through treetops and such. The only problem is they don't all fly at anywhere near the same speed.
  • In Phaeton:
    • Trayen uses elemental propulsion
    • Teliha magically levitates
    • Tom floats in an antigravity bubble
    • And so on.
  • In Homestuck, "dreamselves", "god tier" characters, psionics, and wand users can all fly. Other characters are capable of acrobatics and strong jumps that drastically overstep the bounds of plausibility. This got a long overdue Lampshade Hanging in Act 6 Act 6 Intermission 2:
    KANAYA: It Really Is Such Bullshit

    Western Animation 
  • In the original The Transformers cartoon, all Decepticons could fly in robot mode, whether they turn into jets, cement mixers, tanks or cassette players. Compared to the Autobots, where flight in robot mode is mainly seen only from the few with flying altmodes (though this was inconsistent early on), this looks really weird.
    • Transformers: Animated seems to follow the rule that if their alt-mode can fly, their robot mode can fly, except for Soundwave and Shockwave, who fly even though their alt-modes are a car and a tank (Shockwave has a jet booster, while Soundwave seems to just levitate like the 'Cons of old). Also notable in that most Decepticons can fly, while Autobots can't. That is until the Autobots reverse-engineered technology from Starscream to create Jetstorm and Jetfire. Oh, and Optimus Prime's wings and jetpack. Word of God is that the lack of flying Autobots has more to do with them regarding flight as a Decepticon trait rather than technological difficulties.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: besides the obvious airbenders who can fly with gliders, earthbenders can levitate rocks and travel on them, and we've seen at least one firebender use her fire for a Rocket Jump. When Sozin's Comet is around, higher end firebenders like Ozai and Jeong-Jeong can straight up fly.
    • The Legend of Korra: The legendary airbender Guru Laghima was said to have perfected true flight, without the aid of a glider or propulsion from air currents. In the Book 3 finale, Zaheer also develops the ability to fly unassisted. This levitation style of flight is the only one that is considered to be highly abnormal in-universe.
  • Three of the five core Teen Titans can fly, either by superpowers or transforming into something with wings. To compensate for Robin and Cyborg's little "handicap" is the T-ship and the "glider-thing". Cyborg was once outfitted with rockets ("Maybe we should call me flyborg!"), but was unfortunately unable to control his flight.
  • In ReBoot Hexadecimal and Glitchbob could fly. Despite having this power, Bob preferred to use his Flying Car or a zipboard whenever he could. The reason for this was that using any of his Glitch-based powers, including flight, would eventually cause a Heroic Red Ring of Death.
  • Wile E. Coyote thinks he can fly with a mail-order superhero outfit (Chuck Jones described him as animator Ken Harris in a Batman outfit). Guess how that turned out.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, in addition to the numerous pegasus and alicorn ponies, pre-alicorn Twilight can briefly levitate with her unicorn magic. In "Sonic Rainboom", Rarity is temporarily granted magic butterfly wings, which get burned off when she flies too close to the sun. Come the Season 5 finale, we see Starlight Glimmer performing straight-up magic flight without wings.
  • Superfriends provides the page image. As the caption points out, Aquaman is not normally associated with the power of flight. Wonder Woman (in the comics at the time of the series' original run, and in the series itself) had an "invisible jet" rather than the power of independent flight. Presumably the pose was just chosen so for balance; it would have been awkward trying to fit FIVE characters on the ground under the three (Superman, Green Lantern, and Hawkman) that can canonically fly. Wonder Woman could be explained as lying on the floor of her invisible plane, though Aquaman really is a mystery.