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Aircraft

The airport / air-circus sequences were filmed at Santa Maria Municipal Airport in California. The "Bigelow" building, built for the movie, was moved in 1992 to a new location across from the Museum of Flight.

"There is an airshow performer, Dr D, who uses the Rocketeer's opening sequence music for his aerobatic routine. Dr D does not do the now popular, fast paced, gyroscopic type routine. He does what he calls old time aerobatics in his immaculate '46 Taylorcraft that he restored himself. His routine is slow, graceful, and is beautifully choreographed to the Rocketeer theme. I love airplanes, period, but Dr D's routine actually brought tears to my eyes." -- Georgia Trehey

AutoGyro
A rarity even in its day. This unique aircraft, half-plane, half helicopter is unique. This hybrid aircraft very very, very briefly featured in the chase sequence of Alfred Hitchcock's classic "The 39 Steps".

Ford Tri-Motor
The Rocketeer, having made his first whiz-bang flight, flies by an early stalwart of the passenger sky -- "the tin goose".

Gee Bee
These stub-nosed racing monoplanes were made by the Granville Bros. in the 1930s. In early 1930s, Gee Bees set speed records and won the Thompson trophy. In 1932 another speed record -- 252.7mph -- was made by Jimmy Doolittle in an R1 winning another Thompson trophy.

The airplane that Cliff Secord flys in the comic book as well as the film is based on these historical aircraft. The original plane was black on yellow as was the plane in the comic book and the beginning of the movie. A black on white paint scheme a repaint for the ending of the film.

Steve Hinton, former air racer and current President of Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino CA, flew the replica BeeGee in the Rocketeer feature film.

Jet Pack
Did Howard Hughes design it in the 1930s? Who knows? But on December 17, 1958, after years of research and development, Wendell F. Moore made the first tethered rocket-belt flight.

Spruce Goose
Howard Hughes does not appear in Stevens' graphic novel but he does in the Johnston film. Seen at Hughes office in the background and featured briefly when Cliff makes a break, the Spruce Goose was -- and is -- a unique wooden aircraft. Its 320 foot wing span dwarfed every airplane of its day.

Zeppelin
Stevens never had an airship appear in the comic series. In fact, he did not conclude the series until a few years after the film's release. And even then, he concluded the adventure at Coney Island, NJ.

ILM brought the Luxemburg (LZ131) to life -- it never existed. It was patterned after the Hindenburg (LZ129) and its sister ship, the Graf Zeppelin II (LZ130). In the late 1920s and through the late 1930s, these great passenger ships -- over 800' long -- made regularly scheduled transatlantic flights. The Graf Zeppelin (LZ127) made a round-the-world demonstration flight -- in 1929! The LZ127 and LZ130 were dismantled in 1940.

If you'd like to learn more about these mammoth passenger ships, visit the websites below.


The Rocketeer © Dave Stevens | Motion Picture © Walt Disney Pictures | Comic Book Series © Dark Horse Comics.

The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only. This site was created, written, and is maintained by John Dziadecki. Images and quotes not the author's remain in the copyright of the originator. Please send comments, suggestions and possible links to: John.Dziadecki@colorado.edu

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