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Aerial Stunts for the opening plane scene in The Dark Knight Rises

Helirig assisted world-famous director Chris Nolan complete the stunning opening plane hijack action sequence to the Dark Knight Rises.

  • True To Reality — Chris Nolan famously uses little Computer Generated Imagery, making this an audacious and delicate stunt.
  • Logistics — Alongside Helirig’s Super Puma, a Lockheed C-130 Hercules, an EMB-110 (Bandierante) and some small camera helicopters were used.
  • On Location — The stunt was performed the remote, beautiful Scottish countryside. Far from journalists and the general public.
  • Regulations — Helirig helped Chris Nolan and his team through the complex, time-consuming world of regulations and permits.

2012 blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises opens with a dramatic plane hijacking scene. Helirig are proud to have partnered with Warner Brothers to bring the creative imagination of award-winning director Chris Nolan to reality. Chris Nolan is famous for using very little CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), and Helirig ensured incredibly complex and delicate mid-air stunts were performed safely and successfully.

For the first aerial sequence, Helirig’s Super Puma hung a fuselage vertically below with a sling. Four stuntmen repelled down from the helicopter onto the fuselage and acted out a meticulously choreographed scene. The second sequence had Helirig carrying an empty fuselage containing two dummies. The helicopter released the fuselage while retaining the dummies, creating the effect that the characters represented by the dummies were extracted mid-air.

Complex Logistics

A huge amount of time and careful planning went into coordinating these stunts. Alongside Helirig’s Super Puma there was an EMB-110 Bandierante, Lockheed C-130 Hercules and several camera helicopters. Extremely powerful and sensitive cameras including an IMAX, fuselages and dummies were deployed. The process was supported by a team of over 100 people located in rural Scotland without direct access to electricity.

Helirig worked closely with teams of stuntmen, skydivers, riggers, stunt coordinators and special effects experts to provide imaginative solutions that enhanced the cinematic impact while ensuring the highest level of safety for all those involved.

Helirig demonstrated true professionalism and much needed flexibility for the aerial sequences. They came-up with imaginative solutions, which simultaneously satisfied the demands of our movie’s Director and creative team and the UK’s CAA Safety Regulation Group.

— Thomas Hayslip, Warner Brothers