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"Put your arms forward, like Superman!"
Hogarth Hughes, The Iron Giant

The classic Flying pose: stretched out, with one or both arms forward of/above the head. In both cases, this creates the illusion of 'obvious' aerodynamicness, as the resulting shape looks vaguely bullet or gooselike, since the human body tends to look very silly in flight otherwise.

There is a very early example in the third panel of the children‘s strip Mr. Twee Deedle for January 26, 1913, by Johnny Grulle.

From Superman's catch phrase, originated on radio to indicate to the audience when he was taking off, in his earlier cartoons and comics.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Astro Boy: It's an iconic pose of The Mighty Atom.
  • The Dragon Ball series has flying poses of all kinds: hands extended (curled into fists or kept straight), hands back, one hand stretched, etc.
  • Tsuna from Reborn! (2004) uses his flames as a propellant, like the Iron Man example below, as such depending on where he needs his thrust he will point his hands in that direction.
  • Mazinger Z: The titular Humongous Mecha almost always assumes this position when it flies, curling its hands into fists or keeping them straight.

    Comic Books 
  • Star Brand, from Marvel's The New Universe, subvert this once or twice. Once while depressed the character was flying while in a classic moping pose, legs crossed as if sitting 'indian style', elbows on his knees and his cheeks resting on his hands.
  • Superman would be the Trope Codifier.
    • Golden and early Silver Age Superman artist Wayne Boring's flight style for Superman was quite unique: he would draw flight scenes with Superman standing completely upright and in a running/jogging pose, like so.
    • In War World both Superman and Supergirl stretch one or two arms forward when they fly across the galaxy, searching Warworld.
    • In Kryptonite Nevermore, Superman flies stretching his left fist upwards in the first page.
    • Christopher Reeve flew gliders as a hobby and used that experience to make Superman's flying feel more believable in his films.
  • Supergirl:
  • Kryptonian clones/counterparts Bizarro and Bizarrogirl also fly putting both fists forward.
  • Makuta performs a villainous example in one of the BIONICLE comics, as he blasts off into space in Mata Nui's Humongous Mecha body.
  • Spoofed in the "Paradise" part of La Divina Commedia a Fumetti (a comic book parody of The Divine Comedy), where Beatrice instructs Dante to assume this pose, Dante does so and asks why, and she replies it's because it looks cooler as you fly-and that's when Dante notices he's been flying.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin, wearing a cape (but not in full costume), shouts "Up, up and away!", leaps into the air with arms outstretched and lands flat on his belly.
    "ACKK! Kryptonite! Kryptonite!"

    Fan Works 
  • Subverted two times in With Strings Attached. John wouldn't dare pose like this in flight; he'd probably drop right out of the sky. He usually hooks his thumbs in the waistband or belt loops of whatever pants he's wearing. And Paul, just after receiving Super-Strength and thinking he's been turned into Superman, leaps into the air yelling the phrase—only to discover, several thousand feet up, that he can't actually fly. Good thing he's Nigh-Invulnerable.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Kara Zor-El deliberately puts both arms forward when she streaks towards Sunnydale.
    Supergirl surveyed the town with her infra-red and X-ray vision, found a few anomalies (such as a graveyard that looked like it’d been disturbed repeatedly), but nothing more out of the order than cops stopping speeders and the occasional drunk. So she checked out the street signs with telescopic vision until she found the right one, and pointed herself downward, arms pointed before her in a V.
    At a speed still too quick to be seen, the Argo City Amazon flew barely over the trees and housetops until she found the address Willow had given her.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku strikes this pose while flying straight through the body of the Starro robot during the U.A. Entrance Exam.
    With a yell from the bottom of his gut and the encouragement of every onlooker, Midoriya flew straight at Starro. His arms were facing outwards, hands flat against the air, a magnificent flying pose. Starro sounded like it might be trying to bargain, but Midoriya wasn't paying attention. He was too busy listening to the sound of steel breaking apart from steel as he tore straight through the center of its body.
  • In Shazam! fanfiction Here There Be Monsters, the Marvel family often adopt an "arms stretched forward" stance while soaring across the space.
    The two heirs of Shazam pointed their arms above their heads and flew upwards, reaching the edge of the atmosphere, seeing day fade into the eternal night of Space, feeling the cold (which, for them, was bearable), sensing their lungs automatically shutting down as they entered vacuum. Their skins worked as pressure suits, preventing their superhuman blood from boiling into the void. Like Captain Marvel, they were the perfect astronauts.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Iron Giant does this as an (in-universe) tribute to Superman. The rocket-powered giant really doesn't need to do this, but Hogarth insists for style purposes.
  • Metroman usually uses this pose when flying in Megamind. When Hal Stewart is given Metroman's powers, he initially flies like he's driving a car, until Megamind admonishes him to "be more like Metroman." Given his inexperience, though, he spends a good bit of his airtime spinning and flailing around.
  • Disney's Peter Pan doesn't give a second thought to aerodynamics and is able to fly backwards, upside down, or while pretending to run on clouds.
  • A variant in Wreck-It Ralph, when the titular character attempts his Heroic Sacrifice: Ralph is actually in freefall, but with his fist extended towards the ground, making him assume the classic Superman pose.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games: Rainbow Dash takes the classic pose after she "ponies up" during the motocross race and gains her wings, flying toward the monstrous plants to fight them.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • There is a Disney Channel Original Movie with this title, about a family of African-American superheroes. Those who can fly generally assume this position.
  • Averted in Iron Man, who keeps his hands back to use his palm-mounted repulsors as flight stabilizers.
  • Man of Steel gives you the sense that Superman doesn't do this just because, but because it helps him. He actively flies in this pose almost every time he needs to really pick up speed. It also seems to help him guide his flight path as well as stabilize his flight similar to a rudder. Since in this movie Superman flies evidently by some sort of gravity/telekinesis field, it's possible that the outstretch arms help keep this "field" stable.
  • Averted in much of The Matrix film trilogy, as Neo generally "does his Superman thing" with arms to his side. Later, in The Matrix Revolutions, Neo and Smith exchange their flight poses to meet the need for fighting. Near the end of The Matrix Resurrections, Neo attempts to fly with this pose, but is only able to jump slightly off the ground before falling normally.
  • Before that The Rocketeer flew the same way, for roughly the same reason (although he lacked the hand-mounted stabilizers).
  • And of course the original Rocketman — Commando Cody. Spoofed in the Gag Dub "Commando Cody and the Hatless Planet".
    "My nails are almost dry. I'll be right down."
  • In Supergirl (1984), director Jeannot Szwarc deliberately tried to avoid making the flight scenes similar to those in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, opting instead for a more "feminine" ballet-inspired take. Nevertheless, some promotional images featured Kara flying with a fist stretched out.
  • The Pumaman: Averted. Puma Man flies in an odd crouching position presumably meant to be reminiscent of a puma in mid-pounce.

  • Dave Barry wrote about Superman in one of his columns, wondering why Superman always flew in this pose. Why not fly in a sitting position and read a newspaper while you go?
  • Peter Pan doesn't say it straight, but it is strongly implied that you can't fly with one hand bound behind your back.
    • That, and it's hard to have happy thoughts while being fed to a crocodile.
  • Fancy Apartments has Herbert, a vampire, parodying this by flying through Vrotheus superman-style.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "Voyage of the Damned", two of the robotic Host assume this position when flying the Doctor up to the bridge, in order to smash through the ceiling to gain entry.
  • The first time in The Greatest American Hero that Ralph Hinkley tries to use his alien-powered supersuit to fly, a young bystander helpfully explains to him that he has to adapt this pose to get airborne. It works, sort of.
  • Subverted on the 1970's Saturday morning show, Isis, as she flies with her arms at her sides.
  • Kamen Rider: Skyrider
  • The Ninja Megafalconzord from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
  • Averted in Nightman, who uses an anti-gravity belt to fly. He flies in a mostly vertical pose (sometimes at a 45-degree angle).
  • In a parody sketch on Saturday Night Live, a superhero was chastised by her Super Team for, among other things, failure to assume the "proper" flying position; she flew while standing upright.
  • Unsurprisingly, Supergirl (2015) features the lead character flying with her fists stretched out. Briefly averted just after Supergirl gets her powers back in "Human for a Day," when she flies with her arms at her sides while searching for earthquake-related emergencies to help out with.
  • Ultraman and his relatives tend to fly with both hands forwards, or whatever emphasizes their streamlined alien look. The fist-raised pose and its variants come in when they transform, like they're punching upwards in scale.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Solar Exalted are required to keep at least one arm extended to fly. Other types of Exalted have different limitations.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • The characters of Lyrical Nanoha typically don't fly in this manner, but in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny, the ever flashy Large Ham Levi once decided to adopt the one arm outstretched pose when she joins her fellow Material Stern in her flight towards a Suicide Mission against the Unbreakable Darkness.
  • Played with in The Matrix: Path of Neo as Neo does the one-arm pose when taking off once, but for actual flight it's arms to the side like in Film/The Matrix example above.
  • In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, when the superhero-styled Pokémon Palafin is in its Hero form, it briefly assumes the classic 'one fist overhead' pose when it switches into battle and when it attacks.
  • Sprint Vector, being a VR game, has the player make a two-fisted pose to glide through the air.
  • When City of Heroes added flight poses, one was the classical one knee bent, one fist forward Up Up And Away pose, and another was the both hands forward "high dive" one.
  • Super Mario Galaxy. The flight power from the Red Stars seems to be centered in Mario's hands, and he needs to hold them outward to fly or hover.
  • Sanae in Touhou Project, and only rarely. Notable because in a series with over a hundred flying characters, nobody else seems to do it. Justified since she is one of the few who'd know and be into the trope.
    • Of course, arms-out is his standard flight pose in games with flight power-ups.
    • One theory is that this is because one-arm-up is already taken for his jumping pose, and his arms are too stubby to look aerodynamic or cool if he holds them both over his head.
  • Parodied in XCOM: Enemy Unknown: when an operative uses the Grappling Hook to reach a higher ground, they sometimes quip "Up, up, and away!" while being pulled up—with their right hand naturally outstretched, because said hook is built into their Powered Armor's arm.


    Web Original 
  • Parody superhero blog 'Sliced Bread 2' devotes some thought to flying poses here. Among the types he identifies are 'classic superman', 'I'm an airplane' and 'braced on barstools'.
  • In "Ayla and the Tests" of the Whateley Universe, Phase (after a couple months of having powers) is ''still' learning how to fly without having serious steering and angular momentum problems. He gets major grief from some other students because he's seen flying in the 'Supergirl' posture.
    • In keeping with the series' love for metahumor, at one point Generator tries out several different flying poses, including the two-fisted "Superman" style and the one-arm-forward "Supergirl" posture.

    Western Animation 
  • Optimus Primal did this a lot in the first season of Beast Wars, before he got proper flight modes.
    • Season three had his flight mode stuck in the "both arms forward" position, replacing his head with G1 Prime's spark cockpit.
  • The title character of Captain Planet and the Planeteers does this.
  • Danny from Danny Phantom who does it often. The same rule applies to his Opposite-Sex Clone and the Big Bad. Not a lot of ghost baddies do this though, must be more of a hero thing.
    • Or a half-human thing.
  • Freakazoid! subverts this. He attempts this pose, but gets told no ability to fly This is followed by Freakazoid running around (often completely aimlessly) with both arms stretched over his head and making "whoosh" sounds to simulate flying anyway.
  • In the first Legion of Super Heroes (2006) animated episode, the novice Clark Kent is brought to the future. As he has been keeping everything under wraps, he hasn't flown yet — but the Legion needs him at full capacity. He spends most of the episode careening about and crashing — until Brainiac 5 tells him to adopt the traditional pose — for aerodynamic reasons. It takes him a while to get the hang of it, though. And his own flight ring.
  • Even though they're miniature winged horses rather than humanoids, pegasus ponies (usually Rainbow Dash) in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic often do this when flying fast.
  • Peter from Peter Pan & the Pirates would frequently fly forwards, backwards, in a sitting position, sideways, characters go, Peter just loves to show off, in any incarnation!
  • The Powerpuff Girls
  • In The Ren & Stimpy Show, Powdered Toast Man inverts the trope by flying backwards in the pose. At least once, he did it while upright.
  • WordGirl uses this constantly.
  • Oh Yeah! Cartoons has The Fairly OddParents! "Super Humor" short, where Comet Commando Timmy fails to say this as he crashes into stuff.

    Real Life 
  • This pose (more or less) is briefly assumed at the end of the recovery phase of swimming the butterfly stroke, which is coincidentally sometimes called "fly" for short.
  • In the sixties, some ski jumpers used to use a pose rather like this in the air, with both arms up.
  • When otherwise hurtling face-first through the air, under your own volition or not, keeping your arms out and in front of your body is a good idea for warding off concussion.

Alternative Title(s): Flying Pose