I was watching the movie "Air Force One" and I was wondering how they shoot such kinds of scenes when moving the president from one plane to another.

In many of the Air force movies there are jets and all, so how exactly are those scenes shot in the movie?

  • It's not entirely clear what exactly you're asking about here. What specific kind of scene are you talking about with "airplane scenes"? Are you just interested in that specific scene? Or do you just mean any kind of exterior shot of a flying plane? If that's the case, although it would still be quite broad, you might want to better point that out in your question.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 9:34
  • I am asking general purpose but i was not able to mention it correctly.
    – Dark Army
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


Across the stage, Hollywood plane scenes are shot differently depending on the intended effect. A combination of prop planes or sound stages, green screen, cgi, or real planes are used. Scenes with dog fights are simpler to rent and pay pilots to fly, with a camera plane filming. Scenes with plane damage are obviously CGI. Internal scenes are on stage of cutout planes.

Iron Man 3 did a combination for the plane scene. Stuntmen sky divers for falling out of the plane. On acrobatic wire outside for the iron man saves the people in a v. On a sound stage for the close ups. A real plane for the fly byes.

The movie Stealth was practically all CGI for flight scenes a the plane wasn't real.


In the case of Air Force One the aircraft were practical but the people transfer...that's mostly CGI

From The Making of Air Force One at Air & Space Magazine

...the surprise star of this movie may well turn out to be an airplane: the Boeing 747-146 that plays the part of Air Force One, one of two modified 747-200s operated by the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. To create a kind of stunt double for the presidential aircraft, the producers of Air Force One rented a standard production 747 from American International Airways, a charter cargo carrier based in Ypsilanti, Michigan

To obtain seamless realism in the flying scenes, which combine actual flying with shots of models as well as special effects created on computers, Petersen relied on McNulty’s experts and David Paris, the man responsible for the planning and coordination of every flying sequence. Paris, a helicopter pilot who learned his craft during eight years in the British Royal Navy, has an eclectic roster of motion pictures to his credit, from Ishtar to Mission Impossible.

....Eventually, they got a break in the weather than enabled them to join up with the MC-130 and with the modified North American B-25 Mitchell camera plane. Flying at about 200 mph, well below the 747’s speed when it is slowing to approach an airport, Bishop flew with the flaps extended 10 degrees throughout the sequence. The formation join-up involving three “dissimilar airplanes,” as Bishop understates the problem, was ticklish. The 747 cruises at more than 600 mph, C-130s are comfy at 350 mph, and on a good day, the B-25 can handled maybe 230, tops.

The MC-130 flew with a cable trailing behind it; the special effects wizards completed the linkup by connecting the cable end to the 747 with their computers. “They also add the people,” Bishop says, though there was one exception when the moviemakers tried to put a human figure on the cable. “They did trail a dummy—they called him Felix, dressed in a suit and tie, out of the Talon. But [the 747’s] bow wave was moving him around, and first his tie comes off, and then his coat comes off, and I’m hoping it doesn’t enter our number two engine.” They decided to ditch Felix.

  • 1
    Downvote because your quote comes to the opposite conclusion. It's real planes in the air and mostly practical effects. Minimal cgi.
    – cde
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 16:07
  • 2
    @cde The planes are practical, but "the airplane scene" - meaning the transfer of people off the plane - is in fact cgi.
    – BMWurm
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 16:38

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