The Bat-gyro. (Detective Comics No. 31)
|First appearance||Detective Comics #31 (September 1939)|
|In story information|
|Element of stories featuring||Batman
The Batplane, later known as the Batwing, is the fictional aircraft for the comic book superhero Batman. The vehicle was introduced in "Batman Versus The Vampire, I", published in Detective Comics #31 in 1939, a story which saw Batman travel to continental Europe.  In this issue it was referred to as the "Batgyro", and according to Les Daniels was "apparently inspired by Igor Sikorsky's first successful helicopter flight" of the same year. Initially based upon either an autogyro or helicopter, with a rotor, the Batgyro featured a bat motif at the front. The writers gave the Batgyro the ability to be "parked" in the air by Batman, hovering in such a way as to maintain its position and allow Batman to return.
The Batgyro was soon replaced by the Batplane, which debuted in Batman #1, and initially featured a machine gun. The vehicle was now based on a fixed wing airplane rather than a helicopter, with a propeller at the front, although a bat motif was still attached to the nose-cone. The Batplane has undergone constant revision since its first appearance, and has even been depicted as having the capability to traverse underwater. With the launch of the Tim Burton directed Batman film of 1989, the Batplane became known as the Batwing, a name which was carried over into the comics. The 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises adapted the Batplane to film once again.
Batman once maintained aircraft in his original Batcave. However, launching these planes so close to Wayne Manor's neighboring estates threatened to compromise Batman's secret identity. The Caped Crusader now "borrows" specially-modified jets and helicopters from Wayne Aerospace's business and military contracts.
Batplane II was a retooled Wayne Aeropsace W4 Wraith fighter that married style with substance. In terms of design, it shares features with the Grumman F9F Cougar and McDonnell F-101 Voodoo. When the Batplane is stolen and triplicated by smugglers in Batman #61, Batman and Robin upgrade the Batplane to jet propulsion, adding at least "100 miles per hour" to its maximum speed.
Batplane III is a modified Wayne Aerospace SlipStream ($46 million sans "extras"). It is detailed to resemble a standard mid-size corporate jet during take-offs and landings. Some of its features and capabilities are as follows:
- At cruising altitude (35,000-45,000 ft.), telescoping wings retract. Exterior sections of tail and nose-cone envelop cockpit and cabin fuselage for higher altitude pressurization.
- Gaining further altitude (45,000-55,000 ft.) delta fins in the tail and snub winglets elongate to increase efficiency and stability as speeds approach supersonic.
- At ceiling altitudes (55,000-60,000 ft.) "smart" paint on exterior radar-shielding ceramics responds to dropping air pressure and temperature, thus camouflaging the Batplane's exterior to stealthy black.
- Avionics include ergonomic "at-a-glance" viewing levels for all electronics and multifunction displays. The breakaway canopy allows for pilot/co-pilot emergency ejection. The reinforced acrylic glass canopy windows polarize at stealth altitude.
- Height: 14.5 ft.
- Length: 57.7 ft.
- Wingspan: 47.6 ft. - The wings are protected by a bleed-air anti-icing system.
- Altitude Ceiling: 60,000 ft.
- Maximum Speed: 4,400 mph
- Range: 2,486 n m
- Take-Off Distance: 5,230 ft.
- Landing Distance: 2,984 ft.
- Payload: 2,670 lb.
- Refueling Time: 7.8 minutes
In other media
The Batwing appears in the movies Batman and Batman Forever, used to combat the Joker and the Riddler, respectively. After being used to prevent a deadly Smilex gas attack, the original Batwing was shot down by the Joker towards the end of the first film and has been rebuilt and upgraded by the events of Forever. The Batwing in the latter actually has an ejection pod which also doubles as a mini sub. Both models of the plane are roughly bat-shaped. In the comic book adaptation of the Batman Forever, the Batwing actually folds up into the Batboat.
An entirely new version of the Batwing appears in the film The Dark Knight Rises referred to simply as the Bat. It is an unconventional, lightweight volantor-like craft with a ventrally mounted rotor. Developed by Lucius Fox, the Bat was originally intended for close-quarters urban military operations but instead becomes Batman's new primary vehicle. Fox notes that the Bat's autopilot function does not work but suggests that Bruce might be capable of fixing it. The vehicle is armed with machine guns, cannons and a variation of the EMP device he used chasing Bane's men. Batman first uses the Bat to escape pursuing police officers after being cornered in a dark alley. Immediately after, he uses it to rescue Selina Kyle from Bane's henchmen. Later in the film's climax, Batman uses the Bat in the fight to retake Gotham City from Bane and he uses the Bat to haul a fusion bomb away from Gotham City where it detonates over the ocean and presumably kills him. Later, while completing work on the Bat, Fox discovers that Wayne had fixed the autopilot function months before and may have escaped before the bomb detonated. In designing the Bat, Nathan Crowley approached it as if it were an actual military project, emphasising the need for it to "fit into the same family" as the Tumbler and the Batpod. The final version of the Bat takes its design cues from the Harrier Jump Jet, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey and the Boeing AH-64 Apache. Chris Corbould described the Bat's size and shape as presenting a major challenge for filming given Christopher Nolan's emphasis on practical effects over computer-generated imagery. In order to make the Bat "fly", it was variously supported by wires, suspended from cranes and helicopters, and mounted on a purpose-built vehicle with hydraulic controls to simulate movement.
The Batplane has appeared in the Super Friends cartoon, where it was revealed to be a jet, and it was most often referred to as the Batjet, except for in season one. The Batwing also appears in Batman: The Animated Series, shaped like a stylized bat with very long wings that jut out past the "head" of the plane. The Batplane in The New Batman Adventures takes on a smaller, sleeker design shaped like a rocket with a curved wing on each side which also appeared in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. In Batman Beyond, flying cars are commonplace and thus the Batmobile used by Terry McGinnis doubles as a plane. The classic Bat-Plane appears frequently in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
The Batwing briefly appeared in the Young Justice episode "Revelation", where Batman used it to help combat a giant plant monster created by the Injustice League.The Batwing is later seen again in the episode "Coldhearted",where Batman is using it to fly to the flying fortresses and is also comunicating with the team.
Lego's Lego Batman line includes one set which features an incarnation of the Batplane, though it goes by the name of "The Batwing" (7782-The Batwing: The Joker's Aerial Assault). The set is featured alongside the Joker's helicopter.
A vehicle largely reminiscent of the one seen on screen in the 1989 Batman film is also seen in Batman: Revenge (2003).
At Six Flags America, there is a roller coaster named "Batwing" and themed after Batman's personal flight vehicle. As riders enter the station, announcements are played welcoming them to test pilot Wayne Enterprise's newest vehicle. Batman then interrupts and explains that he needs help saving Gotham City from the Joker. Guests then board the train and ride the ride.
In the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, a Batplane-like vehicle can be seen hanging from the ceiling and covered by a tarp inside the hidden Batcave under Arkham Island. Later in the game, Batman remotely pilots the Batplane to his location and has it drop off one of his gadgets, the Line Launcher. At the end of the game, Batman calls it again to leave for Gotham and apprehend Two-Face. When unlocked, the character trophy is called 'Batwing'.
The Batwing has a more important role in the prequel Batman: Arkham Origins, where Batman is able to get to a section of Gotham City quicker. However, in certain areas he needs to dismantle enemy towers that block the summoning.
- Fox, Gardner & Kane, Bob (w); Moldoff, Sheldon & Kane, Bob (a). "Batman Versus The Vampire, I", Detective Comics #31, DC Comics, September 1939.
- Daneils, Les, Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes.Virgin Books, 1995. p78.
- Jimenez, Phil (2008), "Bat Plane", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 34–35, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
- Finger, Bill (w), Kane, Bob & Robinson, Jerry (a). "The Giants of Hugo Strange", Batman #1, DC Comics, Spring 1940.
- Daniels, Les, Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes.Virgin Books, 1995. p78.
- Reed, David Vern (w); Sprang, Dick (p); Paris, Charles (i). "The Birth of Batplane II!", Batman #61, DC Comics, October-November 1950.
- BATMAN: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE DARK KNIGHT
- Batman: The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight: ISBN 0-7894-7865-X
- "The Dark Knight Rises Production Notes". Retrieved July 5, 2012.
- "'Dark Knight Rises': Batwing First Look!". MTV. August 15, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2012.
- "New Images of The Bat in The Dark Knight Rises". Superhero Hype!. June 14, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2012.
- Action Figure Insider :: View topic - Which Batplane is the best?
- Batman: Collected Issues of the Dark Knight - Batman #203[dead link]
- Batman: Yesterday, Today, & Beyond
- History of the Batplane
- A History of Other Batplanes - The Elseworlds