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Not Quite Flight

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Yes, Terrax, herald of Galactus,
is flying through outer space on a rock. The Power Cosmic has its perks.

"That wasn't flying! That was falling with style!"
Woody, Toy Story

The power of Flight has been a human dream since before speech. Is it any wonder that so many Superheroes can fly? Actually, it is.

Pretty much every hero with any power (or none) can fly, the reason being that they can "improvise" a power that's not quite flight out of their existing power set or simply use jetpacks. Assuming they give an explanation, of course. Sometimes the writer would prefer a pseudo-scientific explanation to a non-scientific explanation. (Stan Lee admitted he is one of these.) Super strong heroes can "Leap higher than a tall building", those who can phase through matter will usually be able to walk on air/float (a kind of Required Secondary Powers), and heroes with grappling hooks can do a Building Swing. Sometimes there is a big winged creature too large to sustain flight that the writers explain as gliding rather than true flight, or a pyrokinetic being able to make themselves "lighter than air" or make jet-boots by shooting fire from their feet.

The reason for this is twofold; heroes will need transportation, or it's just plain so cool that they've gotta have it as part of a Flying Brick (or similar) package. This has pretty much devalued heroes whose sole power is flight into the same category as heart. The exception is if the team has ready access to a jet or other vehicle, at which point the number of flyers gets substantially smaller.

If you think about it, superheroes who can generate or control a floating platform, and then stand on the platform, are basically doing Baron Munchausen's old trick of lifting himself by his own bootlaces.

For those without any of these means of recourse, well… there's always Roof Hopping. Sky Surfing is a subtrope. See also Power Floats and I Believe I Can Fly.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Attack on Titan, 3D Maneuvering is a process that combines gymnastics, Le Parkour, and Spider-Man-esque Building Swing to achieve rapid aerial travel almost bordering on flight. During some long shots of soldiers maneuvering through urban environments, they're effectively gliding in between the buildings. The exceptions are when it's important to the plot for characters to have somewhat lengthy conversations mid-flight, in which case they will stop visibly using Building Swing and seemingly fly straight through their surroundings in order to talk cohesively.
  • Bleach has this in all the standard forms: Anyone with enough skill can stand on air by turning spirit particles into a platform outside of the Sereitei, where the material the walls are made of interfere with the control. Lampshaded in a fight between Ikkaku and Shishigawara. When Ikkaku stands on air, Shishigawara is unable to follow and tells him to stop flying away from him and fight head on. Ikkaku insists that what he's doing isn't flying.
  • In A Certain Magical Index and A Certain Scientific Railgun, characters like Kuroko can teleport several times to get airborne.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The assassin Tao Pai Pai doesn't fly. He gets around by uprooting trees/smashing down columns and tossing them with great force towards his destination, then running after them at top speed and jumping on top. He was able to travel a couple thousand kilometers in a single throw, and claimed to be able to go at about 10,000 km/hour.
    • Before learning how to fly Goku had a few tricks to simulate it, mostly seen during tournaments. He was strong enough that he could jump hundreds of feet high in a second which allowed him to fight in mid-air. He could also use the Kamehameha wave to propel himself and at one point fired it from his feet, turning himself into an improvised rocket. Other characters occasionally demonstrated these tricks.
  • In Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA, Miyu can create tiny energy platforms beneath her feet to stand in midair. In spite of this talent, she looks down on herself because she cannot truly fly like Illya can.
  • In Hunter × Hunter, Neferpitou is the only Chimera Ant Royal Guard who can't fly. Instead, he can leap incredible distances thanks to his insane leg strength. The Chimera Ant King can also do this since he initially can't fly.
  • The eponymous hero of Inuyasha makes Roof Hopping look easy. Doesn't matter if there are any buildings handy or not, treetops also work. And his leaps can cover kilometers (Word of God has stated one leap could clear three mountains). He also both rises and falls rather slowly, as if he was gliding.
  • Kaze no Stigma: Kazuma uses his extraordinarily powerful wind magic to move around.
  • In Kekkaishi, the eponymous magical barrier (kekkai) users can use airborne magical barriers as stepping stones or standing platforms.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS:
    • When we're finally introduced to major characters who are not inherently powerful enough for proper flight, Subaru, and later her sister Ginga, turns out to be able to rollerblade on magical tracks/pathways that can extend indefinitely and don't appear to need to anchor to anything. They anchor in the first episode, but seem to have discarded that limitation in subsequent episodes.
    • Caro can summon, more specifically enlarge, and ride her pet dragon, and Erio's spear has a jet-propelled form. A fancomic has Teana wondering if she's the only new major cast member without a means of flight.
    • Teana gets to try it in a limited version, using her Device to perform Building Swings via the use of magical grappling hooks.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Several quirks can be used to propel oneself in the air. For example, Bakugo uses the momentum of his Explosive Hand Blasts to push himself upwards, while Uraraka can use her Gravity Master Quirk on herself to float.
    • Hawks (whose Winged Humanoid Quirk allows actual flight) expresses surprise that Endeavor can fly (by shooting flames out of his feet). Endeavor responds that it's more like "not falling", because all he can do is hover, not lift himself any higher than he already is. He can at the very least propel himself forward by shooting flames from his back as seen when he started chasing High End during the Pro Hero Arc.
    • Hawks also inspired Tokoyami to adopt his own form of this. Tokoyami's Quirk, Dark Shadow, manifests as a shadow creature that he can summon and use in combat, because Dark Shadow naturally floats in the air, Tokoyami discovers he can "fly" by having Dark Shadow carry him.
    • Nana Shimura's original Quirk, Float, which does exactly what it says. Years after her death, the Quirk was inherited by Izuku Midoriya via One For All.
    • All Might's Super-Strength is strong enough to create powerful blasts of wind. Combined with his ability to Super Jump, he can fly around by punching or kicking and allowing the momentum of the air blast to propel him in the opposite direction. This can be seen during the Final Exam arc with his New Hampshire Smash technique and again during his fight with All For One at the end of the Hideout Raid arc, as well as the movie My Hero Academia: Two Heroes. During the climax of the Internship arc, Midoriya is able to do the same thing during his fight with Overhaul, when he takes advantage of Eri's power to allow him to temporarily use One For All Full Cowl at 100%, giving him the same max power Super-Strength as All Might.
    • Gran Torino's Quirk, Jet, gives him the ability to expel the air that he breathes from the soles of his feet, granting him the ability to fly around at Super-Speed almost as fast as All Might. However, the power of this Quirk is limited by the amount of air the user is capable of inhaling. Thus limiting how far and how high Gran Torino can go with each breath.
  • Naruto:
    • Ninja make good use of In a Single Bound combined with hopping between giant tree branches to get air travel done. Taijutsu specialists are especially good at high jumps, and launching others. Temari glides very well by riding her giant steel fan. For "by their own bootstraps," there's the occasional ninja whose summon or other type of creation can fly — these are often large enough to ride, as in the case of Deidara's and Sai's bird mounts. Gaara can also levitate sand, and stand on it. Deva path Pain can use his gravity power to launch himself long distances. Jugo can make a rocket with his body and fire chakra out of it to greatly extend the speed and distance of his jumps.
    • There is the occasional true-flying character. Konan can achieve true flight on paper wings. The Tsuchikage has the ability to give flight or grant others the ability to fly by touching them.
    • Perhaps the most intense example is Might Guy, who after opening enough of the Eight Inner Gates can match a flying opponent by kicking the air hard enough to propel himself whilst already airborne.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Kotaro can't fly, but his shadow hounds can, and being made of darkness, he just forms them into the shape of floating wheels attached to his feet so he can run through the sky.
    • Negi himself originally rode on his staff like a broomstick, but after attaining a certain level of power he can fly unassisted.
    • Rakan has demonstrated the ability to fly by throwing one of his swords and jumping on it. At Mach 3.2.
  • One Piece
    • There are only a small handful of Voluntary Shapeshifting-based Devil Fruit powers that can grant flight. However, many characters have learned to use their Devil Fruit abilities to achieve this trope.
    • Among the Straw Hat Pirates, Luffy can use elastic tension to launch himself into the air, and suck in/blow out air to propel himself somewhat. His "Bound Man" Super Mode can do this in mid-air, too. Robin can sprout many arms, then woven into wings, to glide, but it's incredibly tiresome for her and therefore only lasts a few seconds. Usopp has a belt with a grappling-hook feature used mostly for Building Swing or a variant. Brook and, through one of his transformations, Chopper can leap tall buildings in a... well, you know because he's only bones, so his body is very light. Franky can launch himself using gas.
    • The CP9 villains have Moon Walk and its faster advanced form Kamisori, which are essentially extra jumps, or "kicking off the air" a skill Sanji learns over the Time Skip.
    • Buggy the Clown can make any part of his body fly around detached as long as his feet are on a solid surface within an unspecified range of his other parts (the author stated the range to be a sphere "200 Bara Bara" in diameter, but what he didn't say is how far that is).
    • Vander Decken IX has the power to toss anything and make it go towards a designated target by itself, so he gets around by tossing something big, then hopping onto it and getting off before it crashes.
    • Most impressive are the majority of Logia users. They can manipulate their element, and turn themselves into their element, so they can move in something similar to flight and energy-based Logias can move around in a manner similar to teleporting.
    • Donquixote Doflamingo can use his strings in a similar way as Usopp, except he can use clouds as anchors.
    • The minor character Gold Lion Shiki has the ability to levitate inanimate objects, which he can use to float, so he can become airborne by touching something and then standing on it and, because of this power, he was the first person to ever escape from Impel Down.
    • Momonosuke, a kid who has the Devil Fruit that turns him into an Eastern dragon, can produce small clouds which he can then use to climb into the air. However, this useful ability is hampered by the fact he doesn't know how to activate it, and the one time he did use it, it was by accident and he didn't even remember doing it when asked about it afterwards.
    • Kaido can use clouds this way as well and is much more proficient at it, being able to levitate an entire fortress this way. This is because he's the true user of the Mythical Zoan Fruit that turns one into an Eastern Dragon and has had much more practice. Momonusuke's Fruit is an artificial one based on Kaido's Lineage Factor.
  • Similar to the Hulk, (see below) Saitama from One-Punch Man can't actually fly, but he can leap so far, high, and fast and land unscathed that you may as well call it flying. He even used this to get from the top of a building to a spaceship above the city. It might even be more impressive than Hulk's jump-flying since Saitama is such an unassuming figure compared to him. He's capable of flying from the Moon back to Earth in a single bound with such accuracy that he manages to return more or less to the exact spot he originally left from.
  • Captain Pikachu in Pokémon Horizons: The Series was originally called a Flying Pikachu, because he could create a funnel cloud using Volt Tackle, spring into the air inside it with his tail, and hover for a moment by swinging his tail back and forth.
  • In Psychic Squad, those with teleporting ability (like e.g. Aoi) can use this ability to teleport themselves repeatedly over and over while airborne until they reach the destination. Of course, since this implies that after each teleportation the person immediately starts to fall down, it's actually a rather bumpy way of travelling.
  • Shakugan no Shana: Shana starts out at Roof Hopping and later uses her power over fire to sprout large flaming wings in order to get around. Margery Daw surfs on her Lord (who takes the form of a magical tome). Sydonay shapeshifts into something with wings.
  • Black Star of Soul Eater eventually learns to stretch and control his Scarf of Asskicking so much that he can plant it in the ground and lift himself up to great heights. Lampshaded when he asks Tsubaki if this is flying. When she says it really isn't, he says he doesn't really care. Eventually he just starts levitating without the scarf doing anything, which isn't explained or commented on.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Sky High is Hero TV's local aerokineticist. In spite of his powers, however, he can't actually fly under his own power: he can hover in the air, but he can't actually propel himself. Rather, his hero suit is outfitted with a jetpack that lets him fly while he uses his wind powers to steer.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, Sweet S. flies using her bubbles, and Smart S. flies through his electromagnetism.

    Comic Books 
DC Comics:
  • Aquaman: Being a guy who can punch evildoers in the face at five hundred atmospheres of pressure, Aquaman has been known to jump really high and leap over buildings while on dry land.
  • The Atom can change his molecular density at will with his suit's equipment. On a low setting, he can glide on air currents when shrunken. In The Other Side of Doomsday, Flash outright asks him how he can fly, and Atom answers he can ride the air currents due to weighing less than a fraction of an ounce.
  • Batman (depending on the incarnation) can not only swing on his grappling hook but use his cape as a glider.
  • The Flash:
    • Flash has a rarely used ability to walk on air (though it doesn't explain one instance of Barry running through the vacuum of space), explained as consciously lessening a Required Secondary Power (the "speed aura") that normally counteracts the huge amount of air resistance the Flash should encounter (he doesn't usually create a sonic boom or leave a fiery trail like a meteor due to the same effect). With the effect dialed down under his feet, he can move his legs fast enough for the air resistance to give him traction. The older Flash, Jay Garrick specifically, would rapidly move his legs, building up air pressure under him to float when he was dropped by one of his fellow heroes.
    • One of his rogues, the Trickster, was able to run in mid-air courtesy of special shoes that pumped out compressed air jets. The original Trickster developed the shoes to help him overcome a fear of falling from the high-wire he walked on in his circus act.
  • Plastic Man, just like Mr. Fantastic or Rubberduck and other people with shapeshifting or Rubber Man powers, will sometimes shift into a glider or parachute to at least glide.
  • Teen Titans:
    • At the end of the Marv Wolfman's run, Nightwing altered his costume, removing the high collar/open chest and adding small glider wings. They were rarely used and disposed of when he changed costumes for his solo career.
    • All three iterations of Terra can fly by using their powers to pull out a large mound of land and riding around on it.
  • Robin III/Red Robin III Tim Drake always insisted on a longer cape than his predecessors specifically because he wanted to be able to use a glider cape. It saved his life once when Damian sabotaged his grapple gun.
  • The electromagnetic hero Static can't fly himself, but he uses his powers to lift a disk (originally a manhole cover or trashcan lid), which he can then ride like a skateboard. The trash can lid was lampshaded in a commercial where it was compared to the other heroes' much cooler transportation vehicles, with Static telling the viewers "Hey, ya gotta start somewhere."
  • Superman:
    • Kal-El himself originally could not fly, but rather used his super strength to "leap an eighth of a mile" or, as the radio serial put it, "leap tall buildings in a single bound."
    • Legion of Super-Heroes member Cosmic Boy can lift himself with his magnetic powers using the metal in his suit, or if he has to the iron in his own blood but that's dangerous and painful. He has also used the earth's magnetic fields to levitate when he's on earth. As he usually has a Legion flight ring he generally just uses that instead.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Diana was originally unable to fly directly in the manner of Superman, but they simplified all the handwaves to just give her flight. During the The Silver Age of Comic Books, and the tail end of the The Golden Age of Comic Books, Wonder Woman used to "glide on air currents" — which somehow always seemed to be going in the right direction unless it became a plot point (like one story in which the villain encased a city in ice, which apparently meant that there were only downdrafts). This was retconned into full flight in the 1987 revamp.
    • Diana and Steve Trevor's Earth-Two (Golden Age) daughter Lyta could glide on air like her mother, and acted as the superhero Fury who joined Infinity, Inc..

Marvel Comics:

  • Stan Lee hated superheroes who could fly just because, and created superheroes who found other ways to get around quickly even if it did not make any more sense than flying.
    • The Mighty Thor: Thor swings Mjölnir around his hand and then releases it with it still attached to his wrist. The momentum then carries him halfway across the world. That would actually work. Granted, it would take some epic deltoids or a magic hammer to avoid your arm being torn off, but Thor has both. However, his inability to fly depends entirely on who happens to be writing him at the moment. It's possible that they might still stick with the "I throw my hammer!" bit but the way it's portrayed there's no way it could be anything but true flight. In some other media, he's shown to be able to achieve true flight, though normally by summoning wind or the power of Mjolnir to levitate him.
    • Fantastic Four: Susan Storm can jump around on invisible platforms into the sky or create discs or floating spheres to carry her and anyone she is traveling with through the air.
    • Before losing his powers, Quicksilver could "fly" for short distances by flapping his arms or "vibrating" his legs.
    • The Incredible Hulk: The Hulk can use his powerful leg muscles to leap miles and miles at a time.
    • Spider-Man: Spider-Man sometimes uses his webbing to create glider-wings, parachutes, bungee cords, and other means to send himself through the air when there are no convenient tall buildings or trees to swing from.
  • Darkhawk: Darkhawk originally got around by launching himself in the air with his Grappling-Hook Gun and gliding on his wings. He eventually learned how to fly.
  • In Iron Man Noir, the Iron Man and War Machine suits aren't truly capable of flight given their size and weight. Instead, the jet turbines on their backs have jets that slow their descent after jumping out of an airship, allowing them to land safely. Basically, rather than actually flying, they fall with style.
  • Originally played straight with Morbius the Living Vampire who could glide because of his "hollow, bird-like bones". Not that such bones make any sense considering what gave him his other powers (bat bones, though narrow and light, are filled with marrow as average mammal bones), and none of the logical drawbacks of having hollow bones were ever explored in the comics. Later averted with a new explanation that says part of his brain has mutated, giving him psionic powers that enable him to defy gravity.
  • Runaways: Only Karolina can truly fly; the group relies on a giant robot frog to get around which couldn't fly either, just make massive leaps. Until it was destroyed and rebuilt with real flight capabilities. In later arcs, Victor and Nico have been seen levitating, Nico also occasionally flying by conjuring wings or a griffin to ride. Xavin has two methods of flight, thanks to possessing the powers of the Fantastic Four: they can move themself and others around in their Invisible Woman forcefields, and rocket-propel themself with Human Torch powers.
  • Spider-Woman: Jessica Drew had small wings built into her costume that allowed her to glide, but in both her cartoon and her comic-book appearances this was often treated as full flight by illustrators (she was able to gain altitude without slowing down, indicating that she was somehow actually flying).
  • Squadron Supreme: Arcanna had to use her "nature magic" to levitate a nearby tree branch or other wood to ride on; later, she just learned to use air for the same purpose, effectively making her a flyer.
  • X-Men:
    • Both Banshee and his daughter Siryn can fly by screaming really loud — no clue given as to how this is supposed to work, as they're clearly not shouting at the ground when they do this. Or, you know, moving backward. It's explained as them projecting soundwaves off of the ground, except, you know, sound waves don't work that way. Sometimes they seem to be able to speak while doing this because Talking Is a Free Action. Presumably, it's just because banshees are supposed to fly as well as scream.
    • Storm can fly by using her powers to shoot a strong gust of wind up her backside.
    • Magneto can pick himself up with metal objects that he levitates with his powers. He is sometimes stated as outright flying (or "levitating") by controlling magnetic lines of force. It is also a likely explanation for how he can move things lacking ferrous metal.
    • Iceman can make a trail of ice in the air which he surfs on. The thing is that his "Ice Slides" as he calls him still need to be anchored to the ground somewhere. Some more realistic depictions show this as a strictly short-range transportation option.
    • Kitty Pryde can walk on air using the Required Secondary Power that stops her phasing power from pulling her down into the earth. Which gets her where she needs to go, but at a normal walking pace.
    • Nate Grey uses telekinesis to pick himself up and "fly". Most telekinetic characters can do this, actually, but Nate's better at it than most.
    • Jean Grey/Marvel Girl/Phoenix possesses telekinesis whereby she manipulates atoms with her mind, enabling her to effectively fly by moving around her own atoms.


    • In the comics, the Mask of Levitation only allows you to stay still in the air. Lewa uses his Air element to create winds that propel him instead.
    • The entire Toa team got jetpacks so that they could fly through the "Universe Core" without touching the dangerous swamp waters.
  • The Toa Hordika discovered a way to achieve flight by launching their Rhotuka energy-wheels into the air, then quickly grabbing onto them, and not worrying about the absurdity of the method.
  • The various Disney Mouse and Duck Comics superheroes have various methods:
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992): When Link is about to pack off to the desert, the boy gives him a "bird" that Link can ride on — actually a sort of hang-glider in the shape of wings woven by the Hylian Sages, replacing the Flute Boy's Bird from the video game.
  • In Alan Moore's run on Supreme, there's a funny twist on the phrase "Up, Up and Away!". Originally (like, back when he was still in newspapers) Superman couldn't fly, just jump really, really high. ("Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings In a Single Bound!" Sound familiar?) At one point, we see the earliest version of Supreme, who's a Superman pastiche, and he can't fly, either. His catchphrase? "Up! Up! And over!"
  • Sand Masters of White Sand "fly" by making whirlwinds of sand carry them over the ground.
  • Originally, Hay Lin of W.I.T.C.H. didn't fly but simply used her power over air to lift and propel herself-rather notable because she and the other Guardians of Kandrakar did have wings in their transformed forms, but they were useless until the power-up of the New Power Saga (Hay Lin can still fly higher and faster thanks to the wind). Averted in the animated adaptation, where the wings give them flight abilities since the start, and Hay Lin is instead made the most adept flyer of them all because air is literally her element.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Buck Rogers, the Anti-Gravity substance "inertron" was used to make "jumping belts." A belt was simply a chunk of inertron strapped to the wearer's back, lowering his effective weight to the point where he could jump huge distances like a grasshopper. Later in the strip, low-powered jet-packs combined with an inertron belt did come to allow actual flight.

    Fan Works 
  • In Game Theory, Mei creates magical barriers in the air to use as stepping stones. While fourteen stories up. She was just lucky someone was there to catch her when she fell.
  • In Once Again, Luffy accidentally learns how to use the Geppo (Moonwalk) technique, which allows him to kick the air to float, in Chapter 43.
  • In Second Wind, Luffy is capable of using Geppo from the start.
  • The Naruto fanfic The Sealed Kunai gives Naruto this, as a generalization of canon's water-walking. Helps that here he's been Level Grinding his wind element.
  • Two examples in With Strings Attached:
    • Paul at first thinks he can fly; he can't, he can just jump real far. At his highest level of strength he can jump half a mile horizontally and thousands of feet straight up. At his lower level of strength he can jump some 50 feet with little effort. He rarely has use for this ability, though, especially given the damage he causes on both launch and land.
    • Ringo once levitated himself with his TK, but he was basically flying blind for seven seconds before he had a concentration failure, and he hasn't tried it again.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, tired of having to rely on John+George to get down off the mesa, Ringo buys a bunch of levitation potions, so he can at least go up and down. Paul uses them on occasion as well.
  • In Kage, Jade discovers that her Ninja Shadowkhan outfit includes the tissue she has seen the ninjas to use in order to glide. When she glides for the first time, this trope is discussed by the amazed onlookers.
    Irma: She can fly?
    Hay Lin: I think it's gliding, not real flight.
    Irma: Same difference.
  • In the Fate/Grand Order fan comic The New Twelve Labors of Heracles, Jason and Heracles face off against Circe and her Stymphian Birds in the air, with Jason explaining that Heracles keeps himself in the air by stomping the air so hard it lets him hover.
  • Son of the Sannin: Naruto develops the Wind Release: Riding the Hurricane jutsu, that allows him to use wind currents to propel himself in the air. However, unlike other actual flight methods it's much harder to control, and constantly drains the user of chakra as long as it's active.
  • Realistic Pokémon:
    • Lugia is depicted as a psychic levitater.
    • Dragonite is portrayed as a super high jumper.

    Films — Animated 
  • My Little Pony: A New Generation: The pegasi are no longer able to truly fly without magic, though they can still glide on strong air currents. The royal family can still do so supposedly; in practice they use wires and good lighting to pretend they can in order to keep the hopes of their people up, but when this is revealed there's an immediate revolution.
  • Toy Story: Buzz Lightyear, being a simple child's toy, cannot actually fly, though he believes he can for most of the film. He does, however, know some fancy acrobatics, and his wings seem to at least be aerodynamic enough to glide for a bit. The page quote is Woody's Insistent Terminology for it. When Woody later exclaims that Buzz is flying while he carries Woody, Buzz denies it and calls it "falling with style", showing that he has accepted his true nature as a toy.
  • In Turning Red, Mei is able to jump in mid-air by transforming mid-jump, pushing off by directing the resulting pink cloud. She chains this into indefinitely long multi-jumps while dealing with the movie's final major crisis.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Batman & Robin, Mr. Freeze of all people turns out to be capable of falling with style. While his Powered Armor is too heavy to fly, it does have mechanical wings he uses to glide to safety after a fall from a great height. When Batman latches onto him, Freeze simply detaches the wings and instead uses the blast from his freeze ray to slow his descent.
  • Batman Begins: Bruce develops a short-range glider due to his cape being made out of "memory cloth".
  • The Batman (2022) does away with the "cape as glider" thing and instead has Batman use a wingsuit (concealed in his suit) to escape from atop a building, in accordance with the film's more gritty/raw/mundane-looking approach.
  • The Chronicles of Riddick: Dame Vaako threatens the air elemental Aereon by opening the bomb bay of the ship they are in and pushing her towards it; she then reveals that while she can't fly, she can hover very well.
  • Condorman: The titular hero invents a flying suit with giant wings. It doesn't actually fly per se, but it does glide sort of well. Except, of course, for the trial run, where he leaps off the Eiffel Tower and ends up crashing into the Seine.
  • In The Dark Crystal, female (but not male) Gelflings have wings, but Kira is only able to use hers to flutter to the ground, sort of like a parachute but with more coordination. (In the novelization of the book, she tells Jen that female Gelfling wings could once indeed, provide actual flight; presumably, evolution caused them to lose this ability due to lack of use.)
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Wonder Woman has been confirmed to just be able to "leap tall buildings in a single bound", instead of flying. In Wonder Woman (2017), she is shown hovering in the climactic fight against Ares, as she's revealed to be the daughter of the Olympian god Zeus himself and starts using her god-tier powers. In Wonder Woman 1984, she uses the Lasso of Truth to snag clouds and even lightning bolts to pull her through the air for long distances.
    • Likewise, Doomsday in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice can't fly (or hasn't learned yet, having Kryptonian DNA), but can make superhuman leaps, allowing him to jump to the top of a LexCorp skyscraper In a Single Bound, and easily catch up to the Batplane.
  • One of the little demonic creatures from the Ghoulies movies can swoop at victims by gliding like a flying squirrel.
  • The fire mares from Krull don't seem able to take off from the ground vertically, but when galloping at Super-Speed they can run off the edge of cliffs or mountaintops and just keep going horizontally in midair.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Sean's flight deals with using his supersonic screams to help him glide.
    Hank: You need the sound waves to be supersonic. Catch them at the right angle and they should carry you.
    Sean: They should carry me... that's reassuring.

  • In the Babylon 5 Expanded Universe trilogy The Passing of the Techno-Mages, the titular Magic from Technology order levitates by creating invisible platforms and, essentially, surfing on them. Given their flair for dramatic, they often combine it with holograms to give the appearance of something cool (e.g. flying carpet, dragon). The platforms can also be shaped in any way one wishes, such as a chair. Naturally, this means that a technomage on a platform must constantly maintain focus on the spell, lest the platform disappear right under his or her feet.
  • In the Bounders novel Fractured Futures, Mira teaches the other kids to fly without blast packs by using their bounding gloves to manipulate the air around them.
    Mira is always quick to remind us that we're not really flying, we're manipulating matter to move and stay aloft. In other words: flying.
  • Vanessa in Daughters of the Moon can use her invisibility to fly since it is molecular-based. When she extends her molecules and becomes a weightless cloud, she is then able to fly wherever she wants although she can unfortunately be shoved around by rough wind patterns.
  • In the Discworld series, Death rides a pale horse named Binky who can choose his own ground level to stand on, even in places where there is no ground.
  • Domina: There are a number of powers that grant flight-like abilities, but very few that are simply flight. Gravity control is one of the more common types, especially since many people can only use it on themselves instead of others, but it's technically just falling with style. Morphers and shifters can grow wings, pyros can generate rockets, and most kinetics can wear a belt made of their chosen material and lift that to simulate flight. There is even one person who appears to have some power that animates a carpet that he then rides.
  • The Dresden Files: Ebenezar McCoy is a world-class arch-wizard with a particular talent for earth magic, so, when he wants to make a flashy entrance in Peace Talks, he stands on a car-sized boulder under his telekinetic control.
  • In Ex-Superheroes, Hunter's Barrier Warrior power allows him to fly by creating a force field under or around him and moving it. Also, the supervillain Antimatter can fly by projecting antimatter streams from the soles of his boots. There's also an aerokinetic in book 2 who hovers on thick columns of air.
  • In Forging Hephaestus, the one power Ivan doesn't have in his combo platter is flight. While he could cast a flight spell on himself, it takes too long and leaves him vulnerable in a fight. Instead, he uses his In a Single Bound ability to hop around, creating temporary magical surfaces in the air for him to leap off, which has the added benefit of allowing him to change direction mid-leap. Tori herself learns to sort-of levitate by directing her flames downward, but she's not even close to being as nimble with it as Johnny Storm. This is one of the reasons she wants to make her Powered Armor fly she manages to do it, when Ivan gives her a gravity-reducing device, allowing her suit's jump thrusters to keep it aloft for extended periods.
  • In the Green-Sky Trilogy (set on a low-gravity planet), the Kindar, a tree-dwelling culture, have a garment that effectively functions as patagia. This also factors into the video game based on the series where a shuba is needed to get most anywhere, and having it ripped is a major hassle.
  • In The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School, Miss Steps uses her telekinesis to create blocks of solid air, with various applications including the one she takes her name from: arranging them into invisible staircases and walkways so she can elevate herself and walk around on apparently thin air.
  • In The Heroes of Olympus Jason, who is the son of Zeus' Roman aspect, can manipulate air currents to carry himself into the air.
  • Journey to the West: Son Wukong learns a slow and impractical cloud-climbing technique to get around. Then he figures out how to basically circle the globe with one backflip.
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Olive Abroholos Elephanta levitates — it's her peculiarity. She's lighter than air, and floats up, but can't fly per se. Her peculiarity lifts her up, but any sideways motion must be provided manually.
  • Mistborn: Steel or Iron allomancy allows for telekinetically pushing or pulling (respectively) against metals to propel themselves through the air. Mistings"get only one of the metal powers while full Mistborn get all 16. In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, Steel Mistings and Mistborn carry pouches of coins to drop and then push against to "fly", and Kelsier plants metal bars along specific cross-country routes in order to cover longer distances. Iron Allomancers can only pull on metals, so their approximation of flying is more of launching themselves towards a fixed piece of metal. Vin (who is a Mistborn) is able to simulate a sort of long distance flight similar to Kelsier's by pushing off horseshoes then pulling them up behind her to drop again. Wax and Wayne sequel series is industrialized enough that Iron and Steel Mistings find flying significantly easier due to the presence of skyscrapers and a generally much more metal-rich urban areas.
  • In The Rise of Kyoshi and The Shadow of Kyoshi, Kyoshi learns how to "dust-step" from the Flying Opera Company. It appears as though they're walking on air, but they're actually walking on lots of dust particles too small to be seen. Waterbenders can do a similar thing called "mist-stepping".
  • Sorcerers in the Second Apocalypse series can create solid projections of force and stand on them, essentially allowing them to walk through the air.
  • Simon Bloom of the eponymous Simon Bloom books flies by manipulation of gravity. To be more precise though, he falls sideways. The book points out how risky that is since you'll need to slow yourself down every once in a while to avoid reaching terminal velocity, not to mention what happens if you muck it up and start falling upwards.
  • The novel StarCraft: Ghost: Nova reveals that very powerful telepaths are able to use their telekinesis to lift their own bodies, although it takes great concentration. In-game, Protoss High Templars are shown constantly levitating, presumably using this method.
  • A fun one in The Stormlight Archive, also from Brandon Sanderson; surgebinders with the Gravitation trait (Windrunners and Skybreakers) can alter the gravitational vector of a subject, including themselves, basically making them "fall" with desired acceleration in a chosen direction. Not traditional flight, but just as good if not better is most ways, as long as you don't run out of Stormlight in midair. At one point a character asks another if they plan to fly all the way to their destination. He replies that technically he's going to fall, but it's close enough.
  • In Super Powereds, it's eventually discovered that Alice's flight ability is actually a byproduct of her Gravity Master power. Violet also learns to use her density manipulation power to make her lighter than air. She then perfects a technique for throwing her body in a specific direction by punching at the air, while temporarily making her fist heavy. She actually gets pretty good at aerial movement, although not quite as good as Alice. Her body is also more vulnerable in this state. In the Corpies spin-off, Gale, being an air elemental, flies by manipulating the air currents under her.
  • In Warlock of Gramarye series by Christopher Stasheff male wizards can levitate, but witches can only telekinetically move objects other than themselves. Thus witches always need something to fly on, like a broomstick.
  • In The Witchlands, Airwitches fly by making air currents carry them.
  • In Diane Duane's Young Wizards series, wizards can walk on air by suggesting to the air that it be as solid as stone for a while.
  • In The Zombie Knight, many servants can do this. For instance, Karkash can magnetically levitate iron armor worn under his clothes, Stoker can use Explosion Propulsion, Asad creates hurtling masses with handles for him to grab, and Parson can turn part of his body into animate oxygen and propel himself with winds and vortices.

    Live Action TV 
  • In the Bewitched episode "Samantha is Earthbound", Samantha contracts a mysterious illness that makes her very heavy, but Dr. Bombay's "cure" works too well, making her lighter than air.
  • The titular Black Lightning is able to propel himself upward by firing electricity out of his hands toward the ground, because Lightning Can Do Anything.
  • The Flash (2014)
    • Mark Mardon/Weather Wizard reveals in "Running to Stand Still" that he's learned how to use his wind control on himself to soar through the air. Cisco insists by a scientific perspective, what Mardon is doing isn't flying. Everyone ignores him and says Mardon can fly. Barry also learns to sort-of fly by rapidly spinning his arms and directing the resulting twister downward. It's only really used once, when he has to get out of a building about to explode with all the doors locked.
    • Caitlin in Killer Frost mode does the travel via ice bridge routine. One wonders about flooding when those constructs inevitably melt.
    • The show does have actual flying metahumans (e.g. Firestorm) and Powered Armor (e.g. Atom), not to mention flying aliens from a parallel Earth (both Kara and J'onn have no problem flying on Earth-1).
  • In contrast to her comics counterpart, the titular Jessica Jones (2015) describes her ability as "controlled falling".
  • Ninjor, the guy who gives the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers the Ninja Megazords, uses a flying rock which he rides into battle.
  • The Most Extreme had the episode "Freaky Fliers", which showcased 10 animals that fly without the use of "proper" wings. (The bat got in, because its "wings" technically aren't.)
  • In Mutant X, Brennan's electricity-throwing power turns into an ion engine coming out of his hands after the Mid-Season Upgrade.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 brings us The Pumaman, who has the ability to rear-project major cities — er, fly like a moron — er, "leap" great distances (yet somehow change direction while in midair).
  • On No Ordinary Family the father learns he can leap long distances in a single bound. However, once he jumps he has next to no control over where he's going, and tends to make craters wherever he lands.
  • Odd Squad:
    • In "Two Agents and a Baby", Olympia and Otis, needing to catch up to Marty Marmalade fast, race after him while pushing Baby Genius's stroller. However, they're unaware that the stroller has the ability to fly by using rocket boosters to propel itself into and through the air, and when they do find out, they quickly hitch a ride on it in order to go faster. They manage to confront Marty just as he's about to attack, hovering just a little ways above him.
    Otis: There he is! Drop the marmalade, Marty Marmalade!
    Marty: Odd Squad?
    Olympia: That's right, we can fly now!
    Marty: You're not really flying, you're more hanging on to a... weird-looking... carriage rocket thingy.
    • In "Jeremy", Opal briefly gains the ability to hover in midair with the aid of a gadget that Omar fires at her feet.
    • Although Otis has the ability to actually fly by flapping his arms, "New Jacket Required" also gives him the ability to glide using a hangglider stored in his new suit. It's implied that all Investigation agents can glide in this way, as another agent seen in "Down the Tubes" has a hangglider hidden in the backside of her suit.
    • This is the main motive behind the villainous robots stealing the Float-inator in "Oswald in the Machine". They want the gadget in order to grant themselves the ability to climb stairs, as they are unable to otherwise. When Oswald, with his robot disguise exposed, manages to escape their capture with the gadget, he uses it on them, causing them to levitate.
    • When battling the Ginormouse in Odd Squad: The Movie, Oprah is revealed to have wing flaps hidden in a flying suit she wears that allow her to glide, which she uses to catch up to the creature in an attempt to slow it down.
  • Taken: In "Beyond the Sky", John uses his Psychic Powers to make Becky Clarke levitate. He passes it off as a magic trick.
  • Both Vanya and Klaus in The Umbrella Academy have used their existing powers to mimic flight, with Vanya coming closest.
  • Wonder Woman (1975): Wonder Woman could leap over trees and to the upper stories of buildings. For flight, she used her invisible jet.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a number of alternatives to true flight. Magic items which mimic the effect are common. The Immovable Rod can easily support a character's weight when activated, but is an ordinary metal rod when deactivated; two of them can be used for a set of mobile monkey bars. Spells like Reverse Gravity and Telekinesis can be used for flight-like effects. Like everything else, this is cranked up with the Epic handbook; a ridiculously high Balance skill allows one to balance on clouds. Planescape introduced several planes which have "subjective directional gravity," meaning that "down" is whichever direction you think it is, enabling literal "falling with style."
  • For quite a long time, Solar Exalted don't get to fly so much as they get to jump very long distances. Over mountains.
  • In GURPS people who can't afford Flight can get: Super Jump, Walk on Air, Glide, Super Bounce, Lighter than Air. The pulling yourself up by your bootstraps can be done with TK or Control. Absurdly high Jumping skill or just the Flying Leap skill also allow for travel that's similar to flight.
  • In Rocket Age the Lunans seem to have been a lot like bats, having winglike membranes, but appear to have been unable to truly fly.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Technically inverted by pre-sixth-edition fliers which were classified as "skimmers" (vehicles that could leave the ground in short hops, or floated just above the surface) with a lot of special rules attached. Finally, fed up with the number of special rules they had to add to make fliers act like actual dogfighters and bombers, GW decided to simply make a "flier" class in Sixth Edition, with its own standardized rule set.
    • Similarly, any unit with the "Jump" and "Jet Pack" template. Jump units accomplished this by jump packs, jet packs, hoverbikes, a flying biology, riding the previous, or wings, these units could jump across the field and over terrain and other units. They also have a host of special rules that account for crashing, entering the battlefield from the vertical, and impact attacks. Jet pack units are similar, but have a few additional rules that to quantify that the some more mobility and provide firing platform. Lastly some units have these units without fulfilling this particular trope, such as Eldar Warp Spiders.
    • Zig-Zagging Trope with Flying Monstrous Creatures, being fully capable of Flight, but having the option of moving along the ground as a Jump Monstrous Creature. Usually, the player will have to choose the tradeoff of being safer and more mobile in the air but prone to crashing and risking death or more grievous injury, or being on the ground and being more prone to enemy fire and better able to bring firepower or musclepower onto the field.
    • The psychic power of "Levitation" can allow the user or a nearby unit to make a short hop across the field, hopefully to be in a better position to shoot or assault.

    • Lewa originally didn't fly; he could levitate one thing at a time (he could be that one thing, which was super convenient) and swing from tree to tree. He used his elemental powers (Air) to help along the way, but didn't do anything resembling flying. Once he was a Toa Nuva, he combined his improved mask of levitation , greater control over his element, and a pair of BFSes that helped him glide and sort of power him to more or less fly. This was great until the Bohrok-Kal showed up. Turns out that the flying wasn't so easy when you can't manipulate the air to do your bidding.
    • Out of all the Makuta in Karda Nui, Krika is the only one to not have wings. However, he uses his Mask, the Kanohi Crast, Mask of Repulsion, to repel himself from the groundnote , thus achieving this.

    Video Games 
  • The Windham Classics Alice in Wonderland has two objects that grant this. The parasol allows you to make a controlled downward glide, but the Mad Hatter's hat lets you catch updrafts.
  • ARK: Survival Evolved:
    • Neither the Archaeopteryx nor the Terror Bird can fly, but both of them can flap hard enough to "fall with style" in a given direction with a rider. Until the Overseer boss was implemented, the last cave in the game could be shortcut by "flying" a Terror Bird from the entrance to the exit, avoiding numerous powerful hostile creatures.
    • The Microraptor can glide at high speeds along the ground, but cannot gain altitude or carry a player.
    • The Aberration DLC introduces the Rock Drake, a large dragon-like lizard that glides using feathers on its front legs. This combined with its Wall Crawl abilities make it one of the most mobile mounts in the expansion. Aberration also gives players the ability to build their own glide suits.
    • The Extinction DLC introduces the Gasbags, a giant tardigrade that puffs up like a balloon and then expels air to launch itself skyward. Just when you thought the Oxygen stat was useless...
  • In Assassin's Creed II and its sequel Brotherhood, Ezio gets to use Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine. Despite the name, it's really a glider and all use of it requires Ezio to use large fires to create upward drafts of air to keep flying (though Brotherhood has the flying machine equipped with incendiary weapons to make your own while, in the previous game, you're stuck on a linear path). It's briefly revisited in Assassin's Creed III for Rule of Funny: the carpenter at Davenport Homestead finds the designs for the flying machine and makes one, which Connor decides to take for a test drive and immediately crashes it into the sea.
  • Asura of Asura's Wrath is capable of performing In a Single Bound, but if he needs further height he simply Megaton Punches the ground and lets Newton's third law take care of the rest.
  • Avalon Code features the hammer's special attack, which involves flinging oneself in a straight line to cross gaps both large and small, since the player character apparently doesn't know how to jump.
  • In Banjo-Tooie, the Glide ability can be learned for use by Kazooie when she is not in Banjo's backpack. This allows her to assume pseudo-flight at any time in the air without requiring a Flight Pad, but it's pseudo-flight in the sense that red feathers cannot be used while gliding, preventing Kazooie from gaining altitude in any way.
  • In Batman: Arkham City Batman can use his improved Grappling-Hook Pistol and cape to move through the city much easier than he did in the first game. By diving and using the grapple to increase his speed and altitude, Bats has essentially gained Spider-Man's web swinging ability. Lampshaded in one of Riddler's comments in Batman: Arkham Knight: he notes that bats are the only flying mammals, only to point out Batman glides and is thus more of a squirrel.
  • In Battlezone II: Combat Commander, the various high-thrust Hover Tanks normally designed to only hover a meter off the ground could rocket themselves hundreds of meters into the air and hover for quite some time with careful use of the jump and reverse thrusters, allowing them to rain dakka on enemies from on high. The ability was regarded as a glitch by the developers due to it completely nullifying natural terrain obstacles, leading to it being significantly toned down in the 1.3 update.
  • Beacon of Hope: Beacon the desk lamp can "hover" (really just extremely slow falling) by spinning his power cord like a propeller.
  • In Bug, Bug has a pair of wings, but they're too small to allow him to fly. In Bug Too!, he does get the ability to slow his descent for a short while... by flapping his arms like wings.
  • Bug Fables: Leif uses his ice magic to create a block of ice that he floats while riding on it, while also carrying whoever accompanies Team Snakemouth at a time. Vi can actually fly, and carries Kabbu while Leif does this so that all of them can cross gaps.
  • Carnivores: in Debug Mode, the player has two options of motion — either actually activate the flying cheat, or combine the fast-motion movement of Debug Mode in general with the jump button to go leaping around the map like the Hulk.
  • Most of the later Castlevania games give you an ability that allows you to infinitely super jump into the air. A few characters get true flight though. Alucard and Soma Cruz can turn into a bat, and Shanoa can manifest a pair of black angel wings with the Volaticus glyph.
  • City of Heroes characters get jump jets, jetpacks, rocket boards, or even flying carpets when they're of too low a level to fly. (However, Issue 21 lowered the level and removed the previous-power requirements to get Fly, so any character could fly from level 6 if they wanted)
  • In DC Universe Online, players who choose the Acrobatics moveset can not only glide, but gain a rocketpack of sorts to fly, but it's still slower than normal flying. There's also the Aero-Discs move set, which makes you fly more like Mister Miracle. Players can also obtain the Jetpack item to gain the Flight moveset at the cost of locking them out of their current moveset until they remove the item.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind:
  • Clive 'N' Wrench is about a rabbit with a monkey in his backpack that he can swing around like a propellor to fall more slowly.
  • Disney's Pocahontas: By helping a nest of little birds, the player gains the ability to fall from great heights without losing health: Pocahontas floats down gently to the ground. The more feathers the player has (which are collected at certain points in the game), the longer the drop.
  • In Evolve, players can use Wraith's warp ability, as well as Warp Blast, to teleport themselves higher into the air as they move forward before falling to the ground.
  • In Fallout 4, the Jet Pack mod for Powered Armor allows boosted jumps for certain distances depending on the player's maximum Action Points.
  • In Far Cry, the Hang Glider has no way of gaining height due to the lack of updraft physics, so you can only glide downwards.
  • Firefall is well known for its maneuverability of an eight-ton power armor, using jetpacks/jetboots and hardlight gliders to get around. However, the maximum jet energy in a battleframe is limited and needs to recharge to prevent overloading the core, and the jets burn through energy if you are not standing still while rocketing upward. Slowly. Gliders don't do well when pointed skyward (you lose momentum trying to invoke troll physics), will disintegrate after their use, and are summoned by arkfolding a stationary molecular printer on the ground, which has a cooldown of about 120 seconds or less. The Celestial Wings item, on the other hand...
    Aero: Just remember, it's falling with style.
  • Giants: Citizen Kabuto: Delphi's Turbo ability allows short jumps over the terrain but can cut out while airborne.
  • Goat Simulator has multiple power-ups that use this trope in multiple forms. The Demon Goat has the possibility to ragdoll uncontrollably trough the air through telekinesis. The Angel Goat can glide through the air. The Anti Gravity Goat, while still using this trope, comes closest to true flight, by manipulating gravity to allow insanely high jumps.
  • Shows up in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. First you get the Grip Crystal, which allows you to use a grappling-hook power for short distances (a later dungeon even includes an area where you have to Grip your way to several spires in short succession without falling). Then you find platforms made of a wind-sensitive mineral, that Whirlwind powers will lift into the air for you to hop across. Lastly, you gain an ally who can convert warm updrafts into Thermals capable of carrying the entire party, armor, weapons, and all (which completes a Brick Joke from the beginning of the game when it was mentioned that Mars Adepts can't fly). Golden Sun: The Lost Age did it first with Hover. In fact, Hover is mentioned to be how the Global Airship upgrade on Piers's ship works.
  • Guild Wars 2's first expansion, Heart of Thorns, introduces the mastery system, one mastery of which is gliding. Improving your character's mastery of gliding allows players to ride Ley Lines across the sky. The second expansion, Path of Fire, gives players mounts. The skimmer's special ability lets the player float higher, and the speed at which you fall is lowered. The griffon's ability to flap its wings is practically flight, but it cannot fly any higher than its starting point.
  • Gravity Rush: Thanks to Kat's gravity-altering powers, her method of flight is more akin to "falling with style", but it gets the job done swimmingly.
  • Halo: Unlike in Halo 2, Elite Rangers in Halo: Reach onward can't actually fly. Instead, their jetpacks act more like the Brutes' jump packs in Halo 3. Ditto for the jetpack the player can use.
  • In InFamous despite flight being one of the more common Conduit powers, Cole can't fly until his 11th-Hour Superpower. Instead he has jumping, gliding and grappling hook powers which are admittedly slower and less cool (and less gamebreaking in the series that focuses on roof hopping and parkour).
  • Just Cause:
    • Just Cause 2: Rico can use his parachute and Grappling Hook Gauntlet in tandem to glide for pretty much indefinite periods of time just above the surface of Panau. He can also use it to not quite fly up buildings.
    • Just Cause 3 adds a wingsuit for faster and more acrobatic aerial movement. It's unpowered, but Rico can use the grapple to gain a burst of speed with it.
  • Kid Icarus: Pit is an angel whose wings are too small to allow him to fly on his own, a major sore point for him; the irony of being a flightless angel named after a hole in the ground is not lost on him. He can get around this temporarily through a few different means:
    • The Angel Feather item in the first game allows Pit to fly out of a bottomless pit (Heh), but is used up after one time.
    • The Wings of Pegasus grow Pit's wings to full size and give him unlimited flight, but are only available to use at the very end of the first game and are later destroyed by Hades early on in Uprising.
    • Kid Icarus: Uprising: Palutena can grant Pit the Power of Flight. It once again grants perfect flight, but he can't fly freely, as his wings are controlled by Palutena. These segments resemble on-rail shooters. The Power of Flight can only be given for five minutes at a time, or otherwise Pit's wings will burn up.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild:
    • After receiving the Paraglider, Link can use it to glide through the air (at least, so long as he has enough stamina to retain his grip on it). He can catch updrafts to gain height with it, such as from open flames or from the use of the Revali's Gale power.
    • It's possible to fly upward indefinitely (until Link hits the Invisible Wall high in the sky) by sandwiching a platform between Link and a large metal object and using Magnesis.
    • Wizzrobes prance around in the air, leaving a ripple effect wherever they hop. They stay firmly a couple meter above the ground when doing this and don't go any higher or lower unless you stun them and bring them to the ground.
  • In LittleBigPlanet 2 and Vita, the Hero Cape from the DC Comics Pack allows Sackboy to glide around. He can get momentum from flying down, then use it to fly upwards. If the player lowers the gravity settings, the glide physics also change, and allow Sackboy to do a high jump and change mid-jump to a glide. With lower gravity, however, it's impossible to glide downwards and use the momentum to fly back upwards.
  • The Matrix: Path of Neo has an anti-gravity jump, which lets you hover to the ground. Another example is the Witch Queen using her Telekinesis to make the ally witch hover in front of herself when you attack her.
  • Metroid:
    • Samus Aran has a rather unorthodox method of flying: jumping while already airborn. Her Space Jump upgrade goes far past double jumps, allowing Samus to spin jump infinitely. With the right timing, Samus will never touch the ground. The well-timed use of Bombs allows her Morph Ball form to cross this trope over with Rocket Jump.
    • In Super Metroid, the Shinespark will rocket you in a single direction until you hit an unbreakable obstruction or until your energy, which the technique consumes in proportion to the distance traveled, becomes too low. (This game's Shinespark is the only instance in the series where this technique consumes energy, probably because it was just too annoying a mechanic to keep. Even most Super Metroid ROM hacks eliminate the Shinespark's energy cost.)
  • Minecraft as of Version 1.9 has elytra. When worn in the chest armor slot, they trade protection for the ability to glide, much like a hang glider. You can get a speed boost by using a firework rocket or a trident with the Riptide enchantment (the latter only in water or during rain), which can allow for temporary powered flight.
  • Magmamoth from Monster Sanctuary rarely flaps its wings, preferring to glide on hot air.
  • An Octave Higher has several ways of going about this. Mages who are gifted with Willpower, like Frederic, can Nullify gravity to send themselves or others rising high into the air. Similarly, mages gifted with Faith, like Franz, can create strong air currents to lift themselves off the ground. Combining these two effects through magic machines is also what allows carriages and omnibuses to fly.
  • Pokémon:
    • Dodrio (which doesn't even have wings) seems to use Fly by jumping really high. In the 3D games, a Dodrio using this move will be shown running in place about 30 feet above ground to keep aloft while waiting for the opponent to make a move.
    • Mantine, Gligar/Gliscor and Emolga are all Flying-types, but cannot learn the aforementioned HM. This is because they are only able to catch the wind and to glide — impressive, but not quite flight.
    • There is also the fire-type Blaziken, whose Pokédex entry says "it cannot fly, but can jump so high that it doesn't matter."
    • To a lesser extent, there's the ability Levitate, which amounts to the Pokémon gaining immunity to Ground attacks without any of the other strengths, weaknesses, or moves inherent to true Flying types.
  • Pony Island: The Pony Wings, which gift your pony with the ability to glide over gaps and obstacles by holding the Jump button in midair.
    • In both games, the characters gain a power that allows them to sustain brief gliding. It can be lengthened with a couple of special moves, but eventually what's gone up will come down.
    • There's another, slightly faster and considerably more destructive example in the first game: the Hammertoss. Alex, while running, concentrates a lot of biomass in a giant rocky fist and hurls it — with himself attached, Mighty Thor style — a dozen stories up and several city blocks across. Basically, it's just a fancy form of jumping. It also leaves a huge crater at the landing point.
  • Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy: Allow you to levitate an object you are standing on to reach certain areas. "TK surfing" started out as quirk of the physics system but was kept when the developers realised what they could do with it.
  • The Quest of Ki: Ki's magical tiara allows her to continue floating upwards when she jumps so long as she doesn't hit the ceiling.
  • Saints Row:
    • In Saints Row IV shortly after you get the Super Jump ability, you can purchase the ability to dash in midair and glide in an X-formation by holding down the Super Speed button.
    • Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell improves upon this by giving you wings and gargoyle-esque gliding which you can extend the duration of by diving to gain momentum and a limited number of wing flaps. It is tied to your stamina meter, so infinite flight isn't really a possibility, but this can be mitigated through upgrades.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • Rouge tends to zig-zag with this. In some playable appearances and all of the time when it comes to her general depiction, she's capable of full, sustained flight using her wings (To the point that she's often capable of hovering around by just fluttering her wings without any sort of flapping). However when it comes to gameplay, she more often than not is restricted to gliding like Knuckles.
  • On and off, Amy's been able to use her hammer to momentarily hover or glide in the air since Sonic Heroes.
  • All the power type characters in Sonic Heroes can perform some kind of gliding technique. They can also use air currents from giant fans to gain height and speed to cover more horizontal distance.
  • This is how Flight types are portrayed in Sonic Riders. They're able to lift off from ramps and maintain altitude and speed for a few moments but unless they hit a Dash Ring to give them an extra boost, the best they can do is lazily float back to the ground.
  • For that matter, nearly every playable character to date has been able to soar vast distances through the air by going off ramps and hitting springs. This is more evident in the 3-D games (especially Sonic Heroes), though some of the more recent 2-D games have had this too.
  • One of the more useful glitches in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) is a variant of this dubbed the Telefling. It involves playing as Silver and using Psychokinesis to grab up an object while at the same time jumping onto it. With the right timing, Silver will land on the object, making it stick to his feet and grab it at the same time, which makes the game freak out because it tries to set the object up and above Silver's head. With a smooth enough object to keep from falling off and some delicate maneuvering to change Silver's orientation, you can do things like flying around the back of stage sections to the loading triggers for the next act. and even fly to areas that Silver is usually forbidden to go to.
  • Despite how it looks, Super Sonic doesn't actually fly. The most he actually does is hover off the ground (as seen in Sonic R and Sonic Adventure) and the times he is shown actually flying, he's either in space or an alternate dimension. Modern games does have a Power For A Price variant as Sonic can do a dash that makes him look like flying, but it drains his ring energy faster. So basically, Super Sonic isn't flying, he's just running really, really fast.
  • In Spore, you can get wings in four different styles, depending on the upgrade — but they don't allow you to fly so much as they let you glide for progressively longer periods. No matter how much you press the jump button, you will come back down to earth eventually. The Galactic Adventures expansion does, however, let you fly, but only by placing jump pads far away from the planet at the right angle, teleporting to them, and being launched into orbit.
  • Sundered: The corrupted form of the Leaping Device, Z’toggua’s Wings, allows Eshe to glide long distances after a double jump by transforming into a bat-like shadow monster.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: Pit's up special grants him a limited flight duration in a similar manner to the Angel Feather. He can also perform a glide by holding the jump button, an ability shared by fellow winged combatants Charizard and Meta Knight. The glide mechanic was removed in for WiiU/3DS, and his up special was revised to a quick burst of directional flight for more timely recovery.
  • Tales of Arise: Rinwell can propel herself into the air with Wind magic by creating gusts of wind beneath her feet. She uses it for her Tempest Whirl arte, second Mystic Arte and Boost Strike with Dohalim.
  • Temtem: Tuvine is a giant toucan made of emeralds. According to the Tempedia, scientists think it has mineral organs that produce magnetic repulsion to aid its flight.
  • Trine features an extremely limited form of levitation. When playing with the mage it's possible to create an object, jump on it and levitate it with you on it. The catch is that this is not only entirely unofficial — the puzzles always have a solution that doesn't require flight, which prompts some to consider self-levitation a form of cheating — but also quite hard to pull off and extremely slow. Self-levitate at more than crawling pace and the effect will stop — as it will if the game suddenly decides to change camera view and your character is no longer where the mouse cursor is pointing. This is quite effective at discouraging it as anything other than an emergency "I can't think of a better way but I've run out of patience" solution.
  • Engineers in World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria have the upgraded parachute tinker, the Goblin Glider. A pair of steampunky wings unfold out from under your cloak, (or if you have the cloak display turned off, from nowhere) and you stand on top of it and can steer yourself to land where you like.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT:
    • Martha can fly on chilling mist, which other characters don't understand at all.
    • Asia can create dandelion fluffs to slowly descend.
  • RWBY: Ruby's Semblance allows her to defy mass, enabling her to travel at tremendous speeds through the air for short bursts in a form that looks almost like a torpedo that scatters rose petals behind her. This ability evolves over time, allowing her to generate high winds in her wake, split into three to "fly" around obstacles, zigzag across the sky while fighting, and carry multiple people without slowing down.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has the "organic jetpack" which can grow out of your body if you exercise too much. It allows you to fly with methane and hydrogen as fuel.
  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe: In the climax, after returning to his full power, the Everyman manages to simulate active flight by using his levitating armor to float in midair and move himself around by continuously generating bursts of wind around himself.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Damien appears to fly through by directing his flames downward and in the direction he wishes to go.
  • JoJopolis: Wolfman Jack's Stand, Free Bird, lets him instantly change directions while preserving momentum. If he uses it while falling, he can make himself "fall" upwards or forwards, basically letting him fly.
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: Wonderella can't fly but she can totally jump hella high. And she's quite pissed that the Godhead gave her sister Penumbra the power to "float upon the axis of reality". "Frickin' FLIGHT! I am RAGE personified!".
  • The Shufflers: Hiddenite’s staff allows him to step on it and take off in a manner similar to flight.
  • Sleepless Domain: Most of Team Alchemical can use their respective Elemental Powers to achieve something close to flight. Alchemical Air can use the wind to lift herself off the ground, Alchemical Water can ride the water present in the atmosphere, Alchemical Earth can raise the ground beneath her, and Alchemical Aether can use her power over Pure Energy to leap from rooftop to rooftop. The one member who can't use her powers to enhance her mobility is Alchemical Fire — it is noted that she once tried using her fire abilities for jet boots, but "never again."
  • Those characters in Tower of God who are only Regulars usually can't fly, but...
    • Powerful and lazy Wave Controllers like Lauroe can float around.
    • Light Bearers control levitating Lighthouses, and while these don't exactly fly fast, there's nothing to keep you from standing or sitting on one.
    • Viole uses Power Copying to learn a Ranker's skill that creates a disc of energy that he can fly around on with little limitation.
  • unOrdinary:
    • Blyke is able to use his Energy Discharge ability to propel himself into the air, redirect himself when falling or help propel him across rooftops, but only for a quick burst.
    • When John copies and amps Blyke's ability he uses it to jet himself up the side of a building, coming far closer to true flight than Blyke manages. He's also being less careful about who and what he damages with the blast behind him though.
  • In Unsounded, spellwrights can "fall with style" for short periods by suspending or redirecting their momentum. Fine-tuning this into true flight has been Rahm "the Raptor" Ripa's lifelong ambition, which he eventually achieves with a highly sophisticated Magitek design.

    Web Original 
  • Ward:
    • Snag from the Mall Cluster adjusts gravity so he can literally fall horizontally or even upwards.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Phase can do this by reducing his mass and so increasing his velocity after jumping; he can also drift slowly while super-light. But it's tricky. Most other flyers, whether the Flying Brick package (PK supermen, PDPs with the superman ability, gravitic superman powers, etc.) or unique, just know what to do.
    • Generator figured out how to fake flying by casting a PK copy of herself into her clothes and lifting herself into the air. Chaka figured out how to use her Ki to make wire-fu leaps through the air and run across the tops of trees.
  • Worm:
    • Skitter is aerially mobile thanks to her giant beetle Atlas, which she controls with her mind and rides. After Atlas dies, she gets antigravity technology built into her costume and a flight pack that lets her maneuver.
    • Shadow Stalker can jump very high, very far and land very softly when she's in her (mostly) intangible 'shadow form.'
    • Shatterbird can 'fly' by manipulating the glass shards that serve as her costume to carry her around via her glass-manipulating powers. When he hijacks Shatterbird's body via his People Puppets ability, Regent figures out how to use her powers for 'flight' by levitating a wooden door with glass and using it as a flying skiff.
    • Likewise to the above, Rune can levitate around on the objects she controls with her Mind over Matter abilities.
    • For a third example of this trope achieved via telekinesis, the Simurgh doesn't actually fly despite the wings she possesses, instead, her telekinesis is used to keep her afloat.
    • The Chinese Yàngbǎn use a combination of powers (including electromagnetic repulsion) to fly a few feet above the ground.

    Web Video 
  • Highcraft: A glitch in "INFERNAL HIGH II" makes it look like Travis is walking on air, much to the editor's confusion.
  • Solid jj: Discussed in "The Avengers Interview Hulk". When Iron Man tells Hulk that one of his special ability is flight, Thor interrupts to say that he also can fly, but Iron Man disputes whether Thor's swing-the-hammer-and-throw-it shtick counts as flying.

    Western Animation  
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel Legend of Korra show that every form of bending can somewhat achieve this trope:
    • Despite their name, airbenders can't actually fly freely. On their own, they can merely stay afloat using a funnel cloud. To actually come close to flying, an airbender needs either a Glider or, in Korra's time, a special flightsuit. True, weightless flight is possible for an airbender, but only when one has completely severed all ties to the material world. Only two people have been known to achieve this in recorded history.
    • Any firebender with enough skill can fly into the air using firebending to create makeshift thrusters. Normally, this can only be maintained for a short while. However, during Sozin's comet, this power is amplified to allow for almost true flight.
    • Both waterbenders and earthbenders are the worst at this trope as they require their element to be present in order to bend it. Waterbenders can achieve this by creating bridges in the sky like Iceman, while earthbenders simply launch themselves into the air using a stone obelisk.
    • In The Rise of Kyoshi we see that the Flying Opera Company invented this for earth and waterbending, known as dust-stepping and mist-stepping respectively. They bend tiny pieces of earth or ice under they feet as they get higher and higher. They developed their technique due to the influence of one of their group's founders, who was a rogue airbender. Kyoshi's firebending sifu Rangi similalry learned how to do this for Firebending thus creating the technique we see used the most frequentely.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Batman's cape becomes a rocket-powered glider at the touch of a button.
  • Dinosaur Train:
    • The Pteranodon kids are surprised to learn that even though Microraptors have four wings, they can only glide.
    • Shiny asks Vlad Volaticotherium how he can fly if he's a mammalnote  when she first meets him, to which Vlad responds that he can't; he can only glide.
  • In Gargoyles, the Gargoyles glide on air currents, and need to jump off high places or find rising hot air to leave the ground. Nominally, at least. They swoop and swerve very high upwards whenever the plot requires that they do so. Still, they can't manage a vertical or running takeoff, or hover — Word of God specifically stated that they can't hover, but some of the animators never got the memo.
  • The Hollow: After regularly attempting to do so after discovering his fire powers, in the penultimate episode, Kai figures out how to fly by shooting flames out of his hands, which is useful during the dragon Boss Battle.
  • Multi Man of The Impossibles can "fly" by duplicating himself, disappearing, duplicating himself, disappearing, and so on.
  • Jamie's Got Tentacles!: Jamie can learn how not to shrink when he is scared and swallow his fear, but as a side effect, he can uncontrollably levitate the objects around him including himself.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "I Am Legion", Fire is carrying Flash after bailing out of their Javelin while battling robot condors. Flash tells Fire to drop him so that she can go help Hawkgirl, who is struggling in her battle with one of the condors, and Fire reluctantly does so after Flash gives her a smile and tells her to trust him. When Fire mentions this to Shayera, she says, "You know he can't fly, right?" He manages to improvise a quick way to "fly" on the way down:
    Flash: Hey, ladies, check me out! I'm just like a helicopter — [WHAM] ...I'm... sorta like a helicopter.
  • Kid Cosmic: The superpower that the green Stone of Power brings is mistakenly believed to be Flight by Kid. It eventually turns out that it isn't flight at all — it's telekinesis. Kid just believed it was flight due to levitating himself with the stone.
  • The Incredible Hulk cannot fly. But in The Marvel Super Heroes, The Hulk is known to undertake lengthy "mountain leaps" that look remarkably similar to flight.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Scootaloo, despite being a pegasus, has trouble flying, which is attributed to the size of her wings. She compensates by using her wings to propel herself when riding her scooter. She can use this to catch some major air when jumping and can hover a short height above ground.
    • The unicorn Twilight Sparkle briefly demonstrated magical self-levitation at one point, but never needed it after becoming an alicorn. Starlight Glimmer, another unicorn, mastered it to the point where she might as well be flying.
  • Starlight, Rainbow Brite's horse, can gallop on rainbows as if on solid ground. This is always referred to in-universe as flying, although since Rainbow can create rainbows and the standard course of a rainbow is through the air, it's a distinction without a difference.
  • Samurai Jack learns to: "Not fly. Jump good." So good, in fact, that he's jumping around not just nimbly-bimbly from tree to tree by the end of the episode, but between individual leaves on trees in the canopy of a forest. However, future episodes severely restrict his jumping skill.
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars demonstrates one can use the Force to achieve a form of flight by telekinetically lifting your own body. Dooky is seen doing this when greeting Assaj Ventress.
  • Static from Static Shock, like the comics example above, has a disk that he flies around on by magnetically levitating it, originally trash can lids. His demonstration of the power was doing this with a car. One time later in the series, however, has him floating above a falling billboard and slowing it down with his powers. Either this means he can also float relative to an object or may develop full flight powers in the future, similarly to how Magneto does it considering he uses purely magnetic powers at one point in the series finale.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "Steven Floats", Steven discovers he has the power to jump great distances and control his rate of descent (a power his mother, Rose Quartz, demonstrated in "Story for Steven"). He has some trouble with the latter, and spends much of the episode slowly floating to the ground, trying to figure out how to get back down. He gets better control over it in later episodes, and start using it for great effects.
    • After Peridot discovers she has ferrokinetic powers, she eventually learns to use them to levitate a trashcan lid, and move it through the air while she herself is standing on it, allowing her to fly. She first demonstrates this power in "Room for Ruby" (her Character Blog mentioned it earlier), and has become quite capable with it by the time of "Change Your Mind".
  • Seanbaby points out instances where this made Hawkman of Superfriends so useless. He also noted events where Off-Model animation allowed Flash and Batman to fly under their own power.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • When they're not in a vehicle, Cyborg is always being carried around by one of the fliers. Robin usually just uses Building Swing, but for longer distances he might hitch a ride.
    • There was that time with the bird flyer suit, but it never showed up again.
    • Terra can also ride on rocks she's levitating.
  • Xiaolin Showdown:
    • Putting the Eye of Dashi onto the hilt of the Sword of Storms gave the sword the power to fly around, and the user with if by holding on. The same goes for the Serpent's Tail, which also made you intangible.
    • The wings of Tanabi supposedly give you flight, but actually fly on their own and you have to hold onto it. The Jet Bootsu can count as well.
  • Levitating platforms are often provided for heroes who can't fly by either Zatara or Green Lantern in Young Justice. Artemis (along with the other archers) and Robin sometimes use grappling hooks of some kind to get around, as well.

    Real Life 
  • NASA's Space Shuttle generates 37 million horsepower at lift-off, and achieves a ground speed of 17,000 MPH to reach orbit, but has to come back to Earth unpowered, as a glider. The main engines are useless without the giant External (fuel) Tank. The shuttle gets one chance, and one chance only, at landing.
  • Why were the Wright Brothers considered the first to actually pull off manned flight, even though powered heavier-than-air aircraft were around for at least ten to fifteen years before the Flyer? The reason for this was because even though other aircraft managed to get airborne, they couldn't manage anything more than a short, uncontrollable hop. At the time, it was thought that this was due to insufficient engine power, but the real cause of the problem was that many of these aircraft had no means of elevation control. So while other inventors went on to build more powerful and lighter engines, the Wright Brothers primarily focused on developing more efficient aerodynamics for their aircraft and the three-axis control scheme that is still basically in use today. It did take them a while to put the tail BEHIND the plane, though; their original designs were extremely difficult for anyone else to fly.
    • One should remember, however, that the Wright Brothers are not acknowledged as the first to actually pull off manned flight everywhere. France and Brazil both disconsider their efforts, having Santos Dummont as the inventor of the airplane. However, this is largely due to nationalistic reasons — it is uncontested that the Wright Brothers flew the first fixed-wing aircraft, the French and Brazilians merely claim that it didn't count because the Wright Brothers' planes used rails and skids instead of wheels. France has later retracted such claims. Brazil, not so much.
    • Interestingly, both hot air balloons and dirigibles were invented considerably prior to the first fixed-wing aircraft — in the case of hot air balloons, more than a century prior. The first manned "flight" in one was by the Montgolfier brothers in 1783, over a century before the Wright brothers; however, because the craft were lighter than air, it was not really the same thing, as rather than relying on lift they used buoyancy — rather than flying like a bird, they floated like a boat.
  • Gliding as a form of locomotion turns up in a wide range of vertebrates, from mammals (flying squirrels, sugar gliders, colugos) to reptiles (draco lizards, flying geckos, Chrysopelea tree snakes) to amphibians (flying frogs) to fishes (flying fish, halfbeaks). Still more powered-flight species will glide as a means of conserving energy, and several climbing species (cats, sifaka) possess a limited ability to "parachute" to slow their descent in the event of an accidental fall. Then, there's the flying squid, which propels itself out of the water as an emergency escape-maneuver by squirting a jet of water from its siphon.
  • Ground-effect craft have long been the underdogs of the plane world. Because wings have much more lifting power when close to the ground, a small subset of not-quite-planes and not-quite-boats has arisen: crossbreeds with flying-boat hulls and stubby wings that need much less horsepower and wingspan to fly right above bodies of water. The compromises make them much cheaper than planes, much faster than boats, and safe enough that you don't need a pilot license to use (get it wrong and you plow into the water rather than, say, a hospital). Sadly they haven't gained much relevance yet, because the ground effect happens at too low a height to make them safe over the ground, and when on water any bad weather becomes a serious problem. Despite this, a number of officials in the former Soviet Union were in love with the idea of such a craft. A number of them were designed and built, including the so-called "Caspian Sea Monster" and the Lun-class ekranoplan (Russian name for a ground-effect vehicle). The latter was one of the few known armed GEFs and has served in the Soviet Navy until its retirement.
  • While they cannot fly, some species of spiders can create makeshift paragliders or parachutes with their webbing to float through the air like dandelions and they can reach incredible heights and travel vast distances. However, this is only effective when the spider is very light and thus only is used by baby spiders or very small species.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Falling With Style


Mr. Pigeon

Mr. Pigeon cannot fly (despite a few attempts at flapping his arms), but since he can control the birds he uses a flock of them to be carried around.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / NotQuiteFlight

Media sources: