Many action movies have a scene where they show a plane or helicopter blast/crash. Seeing as how planes are very costly and it includes various dangers, they wouldn't try to crash real ones. In Spectre, the helicopter in which Blofeld is present is crashed on the bridge. In The Living Daylights, the cargo plane crashes into a cliff.

So how do they shoot such scenes?


If someone knows how plane/helicopter crash scenes are shot in any movie, any at all, please add as answers. Above mentioned movies are just examples.

  • They crash real million dollar sports cars. What's makes you think they won't spend the cash on Helicopters to crash?
    – cde
    Jun 26, 2016 at 5:58
  • @cde I do not know but there might be someone who is flying that plane. what about him/her?besides, I am actually curious to know how they shoot such scenes.
    – A J
    Jun 26, 2016 at 7:45
  • 4
    CGI is really good these days and not quite as expensive as a multi-million dollar aircraft. Before that there were very good models combined with some practical effects.
    – Paulie_D
    Jun 26, 2016 at 11:30
  • I can tell you that in The Thing, the helicopter pilot they hired offered to crash the helicopter for real but they refused to let him do it.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 27, 2016 at 9:58
  • 1

1 Answer 1


Depending on budget of project.

Large budget - Most high end productions can rent a specific model of craft (hero craft, tight shots, flying), and buy a secondary (rebuild) and retro fit to RC like a radio controlled toy, or third (non functioning from graveyard). Secondary and thirds have cosmetic work done to look like hero. Most explosions are dropped with cables, off cranes, or actually on ground and exploded. Radio controlled are very costly.

Models and CGI High end models are made of the crash scene, and the model plane to crash. If the modelers are good, this blends very well. If not, you can see the variance (James bond series has a few plane crashes done in the past that don't look quite right)

CGI and CGI model blends have improved so much it is difficult to differentiate between them and actual shots. (again pending the quality of artist and software.

I stress no real plane is crashed with a human inside.

Smaller budgets use stock footage.

Many stock footage companies now will take a hero plane (common type of craft), and R/C control a secondary (flying condition), and crash and explode it in a field. This stock footage is edited to clear back ground option.

I personally worked on set with a helicopter crash. A rented helicopter was used one day to fly down a street and shoot machine guns at a limo. That scene cost $30,000.00. The balance of helicopter footage was stock footage, and the crash was stock footage and CGI. Still was a great piece.


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