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The Flying Wing.

The German-built Flying Wing aircraft was a supply plane[1] part of the Nazi contingent deployed to Tanis in 1936.[2] A prototype[3] from Luftwaffe Command,[4] its experimental shape had a forward cockpit for the pilot and a tail gunner position, and some cargo space.[2]

After the Ark of the Covenant was recovered, Dietrich planned to transport the treasure back to Germany in the plane, and the plane was prepared for takeoff. However, Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood inadvertently destroyed the plane in an attempt to commandeer it, killing a mechanic and the aircraft's pilot. With the plane destroyed and Jones on the loose, Dietrich and Belloq decided to move the Ark by truck from the camp instead.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

Flying Wing explosive

Destruction of the Flying Wing.

The Nazi Flying Wing seen in the film was not a real plane. Raiders of the Lost Ark production designer Norman Reynolds designed the plane for the film, based on historical Northrop Corporation designs and drawings by the late Ron Cobb of the Horten Ho 229. However, it more closely resembles the Lippisch Li P.04-106, a concept fighter studied by Germany toward the end of World War II.

The Flying Wing was built by Vickers, and painted in London at EMI Elstree Studios. In order to ship the unwieldy prop to Tunisia, it had to be disassembled and sent piecemeal before being reconstructed on location.[5]

While filming the fight sequence between Indiana Jones and the German Mechanic with Pat Roach, Harrison Ford was accidentally run over by the landing gear and tore the ACL in one of his knees.[6]

When Marion Ravenwood gets locked in the cockpit of the Flying Wing after knocking out the pilot during Indy's fight against the mechanic, the Raiders film crew can be seen reflected in the glass.[2]


Note: Scaled down and missing gun turret from back, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!.

Kenner planned to release a Flying Wing as part of their 3 3/4" Raiders toyline but went unmade.[7] At some point during the 1990s, a Raiders playset prototype was presented to the Galoob Micro Machines company with the hope of turning it into an actual set. It represented two sections from the film, Peru and Egypt, with the Flying Wing present in the latter. The set, however, did not get approval and went unproduced.[8] Hasbro had also planned to release a Flying Wing for their 3 3/4" action figure line in 2009.[9] While the model for the Flying Wing toy was finished, the cancellation of the line, however, came about before a Flying Wing action set could be sold.[10]

After the Flying Wing, along the tank fuel truck, was destroyed in the film in 1981, the remains of the plane sat quietly in the Tunisian desert, where parts of it were salvaged by prop collectors. In 1991, almost ten years after the production of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Flying Wing was finally bulldozed and its remains destroyed.[11]


Non-canonical appearances[]


Notes and references[]