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Aircraft mistakes in films

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Aircraft mistakes in films

Old 11th Jan 2011, 14:50
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Aircraft mistakes in films

Went to see "The King's speech" this weekend and found it an excellent film, but as a former planespotter, I couldn't help but notice a howler. At one point, the future King George VI's brother David, the future King Edward VIII, lands a Tiger Moth in a field, so correct, an aircraft of that era (mid-1930s). Unfortunately however, the registration of the aircraft is G-ANFM, which of course wouldn't have been allocated until the mid-1950s! Anyone else seen any similar howlers in films?
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 15:39
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There's an entire website devoted to this, and not just aviation. Can't remember the name of it, but people spend hours watching films in order to notice the 50-odd "howlers" in each and every one, like the fact that the star's dinner fork had food residue on it in one take and not in the next one. Or than two jacket buttons were buttoned in one scene and only one in the next scene. Truly obsessional.

Yet even they wouldn't notice a 1950s registration on a 1930s airplane...
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 15:46
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Just about every film I've seen that involves an aircraft shows a 747 in flight, but in the cockpit the pilot is always struggling with the controls of a twin-jet, and the cabin is narrow body.
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 15:58
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The old British version of Top Gun called High Flight and made in the 50's showed our rebellious hero taking off in a two seat Vampire T11 and then flying about in a single seat FB5. Otherwise some excellent air to air filming with piston Provosts and Hunters.
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 17:24
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As an aviation photographer and almost certainly nerd, where do I start ? !

-Tora Tora Tora, and almost every film made about WWII, Harvard soundtrack.

'Firefox' - the best reason for buying a gun ( and seeking out the makers ) I've ever seen,

Top Gun - well, you know the rest...

Any programme on Sky. On what used to be the Discovery,Wings channel; if you don't spot a howler within 10 seconds you've probably quite justfiably nodded off or indeed shot yourself - my favourite was the one about the Hunter, mentioning a Rolls Royce engine, pronounced " nee nee " ( Nene...)

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Old 11th Jan 2011, 17:59
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Tora Tora Tora, and almost every film made about WWII, Harvard soundtrack
A fair proportion of the aircraft in Tora Tora Tora were Harvards! Or BT-13s...

Usually if there is a helicopter, then it sounds like a Bell 47. If it is a Bell 47, then it sounds like a Jet Ranger.

Saw "Gold" the other day; some great flying by Nick Turvey in a PA-28, but I was slightly amused by the scene signifiying the villain's arrival in New York from Johannesburg, which showed a short-bodied 727 climbing out of La Guardia (presumably) above a Manhattan skyline. Nice nostalgic shot though...

Slightly off topic: what is the light aircraft used to drop James Bond on to Blofeld's oil rig in "Goldfinger"? It might be something common, but I can't quite make it out; looks a bit like a Windecker Eagle, though it is a retractable.

Edit: I've just looked up the Windecker Eagle on Google - I had always thought it had fixed gear, but it does retract. Therefore I think Bond does jump out of one. One lives and learns.

Also, why is the Sea Bee in "The Man With The Golden Gun" missing its left hand float when Bond arrives at Scaramanger's island?
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 18:36
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Yes, I knew a lot of the aircraft in Tora Tora Tora were Harvards, modified or not - I obviously didn't describe it well enough.

Another god-awful film is 'The Right Stuff' ; I reckon 'Thunderbirds' is much more informative !

Last edited by Double Zero; 11th Jan 2011 at 19:09.
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 18:58
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100 years ago, when I was a kid, there was a weekly TV prog called Interpol Calling. That was great - Viscount taking off, Connie in flight and a Dak landing, complete with turbo-engine sound!! Not just once, but almost every episode had similar cock-ups.
Old 11th Jan 2011, 19:00
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My rant....

I can't recall the title of the film but its a scene where Jack Hawkins (If memory is correct) standing by a window.
Screaming sound of a high speed pass by a jet aircraft (Blue note?), he looks out of the window to see.........
A DC-3 slowly lumbering past in the distance!!!!
One of the best fluffs I can remember.

Loads of War films where 1 or 2 aircraft are totally "Clean" then produce enough distruction which a whole squadron of fully racked up aircraft would have been hard pushed to produce a fraction of the "Results"

My wife has given up telling me off for my screaming insults at the producers of some of the really glaring cock ups seen in tv/films etc.

What gets me going most of all is the stupid obvious mistakes in News Reports etc. which show that no real research was done prior to Broadcasting, no excuse for it in anyway.

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Old 11th Jan 2011, 19:07
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I think the classic 'Airplane !' spoof summed it up by having a DC3 soundtrack with a 707 -on screen; deliberately !
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 19:57
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There's an entire website devoted to this,
The site you mention is probably this one. The lengths that some of the posters go to in revealing some error are really quite pathetic.

The problem with aircraft in films, particularly period films is obviously the availability of the right type and mark - take 1940 BB Spitfires for example. Add to this the director's own idea of what either he wants them to sound like, or what the viewing public think they should sound like.

Don't forget Hollywood's motto: "Never let reality get in the way"
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 20:05
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A classic today during "The Gift Horse", a classic British war movie. The ship is attacked by twin engined aircraft (Blenheims), which suddenly become Stukas as they start dive bombing !
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 21:27
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Or the 'docudrama' on the sinking of the Lancastrian with the in cockpit scenes in a Liberator - which Mk 3 Shackleton did they use (but to the uninitiated it did look quite good)?
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 21:30
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...High Flight and made in the 50's ...
I appeared in that film as an extra. It was partly made at Cranwell about 1956.
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 21:32
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G-ANFM has had quite a film career as she also played Thunderbird 6
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 22:43
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One of many aviation howlers that I recall is in the film on the hostage rescue at Entebbe. There were several films produced and I can't remember the actual title despite a search of IMDb but it starred Elizabeth Taylor and Kirk Douglas as parents of a hostage.

Anyway, the film shows the rescue aircraft as being C-130s which is all and good but when its time to start engines and depart the film shows a lovely shot of a radial piston start, complete with starter motor sounds, turning blades and clouds of smoke when the engine fires.

An almost generic howler is that any cockpit shot of an airliner in flight will show at least one if not both pilots with hands on controls, even in cruise.
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 23:10
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The end of Die Hard II ... he ignites a snow covered trail of cold Jet A1 with the mere flick of a cigarette lighter ..... I've ignited Jet A1 before now with a flaming torch and it took a few minutes and a lot of persuasion to ignite it!
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Old 11th Jan 2011, 23:36
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Tora Tora One scene has a Zero being hit by AA fire. You can see the fuselage break in half, balsa wood plainly visible, but the killer is when one or two radio control servos fall out. Kraft brand servos

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Old 12th Jan 2011, 02:00
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In the film of the Battle of Britain, the aircraft which crashed into the sea were models which were released from helicopters as underslung loads. One of the He111s is seen crashing into the sea with the long suspension wire trailing behind it. This is because the model became unstable and the helicopter pilot emergency released it.

Now the film producers were faced with a problem in that they didn't want to build a new model, so they included a scene where some control cables get shot through to attempt to explain the trailing wire!
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Old 12th Jan 2011, 08:59
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another clanger for you - the original 'Indiana Jones' film shows Indiana flying to Nepal in a AN2. Which is funny as the AN2 was not designed untill 1947 and the film is supposed to be set in the middle of the second world war !!.
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