Superhero-shaped UAVs buzz Manhattan

These three fellows made superhero-shaped RC airplanes and buzzed New York with them, giving the city the aerial defenders it has dreamt of for so long. Much of the video was recorded with UAV cameras, which makes for dramatic footage.

Flying People in New York City (Thanks, ArbitraryAardvark!)


  1. The illusion is surprisingly effective once they’re at distance.. they really did a great job with the build.

    I wonder if anyone on the bridge noticed them, and spent the rest of the day confused as to what exactly had been witnessed.

  2. Why is nobody pointing out that this is just another one of those lame adverts for that Chronicles movie?   

    1. Advert, sure. Lame movie, also maybe. Thought it was pretty compelling, though. What I’m wondering, though, is “did that actually happen, or do we have another WipEout quantum levitation vid on our hands?’

    2. Perhaps because the video itself ends with the logo, so there’s no need to point it out?

      Does that make it any less cool? The technical skill involved in making that form factor airworthy, and in successfully controlling them is tremendous. I hope it inspires others to do the same stunt.

      Hell, I hope it becomes a trend so ubiquitous that the slightest mention of it makes message boards drip with hipster disdain, because long after it is a novelty and a surprise, I will still be delighted to live in a world where some people so completely threw off the suffocating gloom of the last decade that the sky itself is fucking filled with soaring figures.

      1. I’m just saying that this would be a whole lot cooler if there wasn’t an advert.
        When watching at first, I admit that I was slightly mesmerized. To see the human form soaring unattached made me smile.

        But then, like a cavity warning on Halloween, I was brought back to earth a bit too quickly.

        Nice music video.

        1. You’re right, of course. I was hoping it was a group of twelve-year-olds doing it just for the joy of it.

          At least it wasn’t the cast of Jersey Shore.

    3. I didn’t know it was a movie until you pointed it out.  I often enjoy television, movies and the radio, even if it’s 95% content and 5% ads. 

  3. 1. What makes them superhero-shaped? They look like ordinary humanoids to me.

    2. What makes them UAVs? They look like humanoid-shaped R/C planes…

    1. R/C planes are UAVs. (well, unless your supervillian has remotely taken control of a manned vehicle a la Lone Gunmen)

      Humanoids apparently flying by magical powers are super.

      People who fly humanoid R/C around to the delighted surprise of everyone who see them are simply awesome.

      1. The term UAV is generally used to imply some sort of added capability besides flying. Surveillance, photography, that sort of thing.

        And I disagree that there was any magical power apparent. I would expect “apparent magical powers” would involve Tinkerbell-style sparkle trails or a visible witch’s broom. None of which were part of their *shape*, which was my original point.

        And yes, this was pretty awesome regardless of the above.

        1. The only thing UAV implies is that it is unmanned and aerial. It doesn’t require photography or anything else. 

          1. There’s lots of things that don’t quite fit a literal parsing of their names, and I think it’s useful to be able to distinguish between UAVs and RC planes.

            The first UAVs were the size of full-size aeroplanes; ‘Unmanned’ was all that was needed to distinguish them from aeroplanes, and nobody would have thought of comparing them with toy planes as I doubt anyone would have thought the control systems would ever get that small.

            Obviously now the worlds of UAVs and RC planes have gotten a lot closer, and although you could make up some new words to better describe the spectrum (Semi Autonomous Aerial Vehicle? Long-Distance Remotely Controlled Aerial Vehicle? Short-Range First-Person-View Controlled Aerial Vehicle?), it might just further confuse things.

      2. I think ‘UAV’ usually implies a certain level of autonomy – either the ability to fly by itself between receiving instruction from its operator, or the ability to be controlled despite being out of sight of the operator. These look to be neither.

        Unrelated: the first time I wrote this Disqus decided to throw away my post when I logged in. I wish it wouldn’t offer you the textbox to write in before you’re logged in because it rarely remembers what you’ve written once you’ve gone through the logging in process.

  4. As usual, my town of Jersey City, where half the vid was shot, gets no love,  not even a mention.  All of the launching, skyline and Statue of Liberty shots were here in Liberty State Park, not in NYC.

    You can bet that as soon as those things appeared near the Brooklyn bridge a tactical team was scrambled, there’s a 24/7 police presence at either end of that bridge, there’s been too many threats to it.

  5. It makes me wonder if comics where the superheroes are flying arms forward (superman style) will look dated, if it turns out that’s not an aerodynamically feasible way to fly. 

    1. I was wondering about the arm positions too.  Having their arms back like that made them look more like skydivers than superheroes to me. 

  6. It seems these are mostly staying on the Brooklyn and Jersey sides of the rivers and not really “buzzing Manhattan” per se.   I will now return you to your regularly scheduled pedantry.

  7. I thought it was really cool, but I didn’t like the vaguely-dubstep soundtrack and their attempt at making the operators look epic with the camera work at the beginning. There was some really neat stuff in the video but it suffers from the problem of not knowing what to edit out, or how to present the narrative well.

    I think this is because it’s a viral ad for the Chronicle film. It’s a weird mix of high production values and amateur stuff.

    Doesn’t take away from the act of flying superheroes around itself, of course. Would be awesome to actually see them flying through Manhattan, like the RC plane video featured on BB a while back.

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