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Trapped in the Sky versus Fireflash

International Rescue attempt to land the Fireflash. (Edited: Antinitpicker)

International Rescue attempt to land the Fireflash. (Edited: Antinitpicker)

One of the most iconic moments in television is the Fireflash landing on top of elevator cars in the original Thunderbirds series.

A short clip from the new Thunderbirds Are Go series showed the creators intended to replicate this cinematic sequence.

Trapped in the Sky

In the first episode of Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds series, called Trapped in the Sky, the international criminal The Hood attempts to draw out the nascent humanitarian organisation International Rescue.

The Hood plants a bomb on the landing gear of the Fireflash, prior to its maiden flight.

After the traffic controllers at London Tower of this bomb are anonymously informed by The Hood, the Fireflash crew try to dislodge the explosive device through aerial maneuvers, and then by having an engineer boarding the plane.

The Fireflash cannot stay in the air for more than two hours, as the protection around the hyper-sonic airliner’s atomic reactor will deplete, killing all on board.

The Tracey family are monitoring these attempts through their space station Thunderbird 5.

Tin-Tin, daughter of the family servant Kyriano, is among the Fireflash passengers.

After these attempts fail, International Rescue launch into action.

Built up consistently to this moment, the Fireflash makes its daring landing on top of three elevator cars being operated by Virgil Tracey, with Barry Gary’s fantastic score heightening the stakes.

(Video: Thunderbirds)


The new Thunderbirds Are Go episodes are shorter and more direct than Gerry Anderson’s creation.

In the eponymous episode, Kayo, who has replaced Tin-Tin in this series, is on board the Fireflash, with its new engines designed by International Rescue engineer Brains.

This takes a plot element from another original episode, Alias Mr Hackenbacker.

The Hood returns, denude of his desert mysticism, to steal the plane for its new engines.

After dueling with Kayo, The Hood damages the Fireflash and then escapes.

With its landing gears broken and with fuel sloshing around the undercarriage, a belly landing of the Fireflash is not possible.

Instead, International Rescue attempt to land the stricken plane on top of elevator cars, which are being driven by Gordon and Alan Tracey, under the direction of Virgil.

As in the original episode, the Fireflash begins to crush the elevator cars, and so Kayo pulls out this landing.

During this sequence, an arrangement of Barry Gray’s music plays.

Instead, Virgil uses Thunderbird 2’s grappling hooks to assist the Fireflash landing.

(Video: Thunderbirds Are Go)

The new series is excellent, but the original remains iconic.


One comment on “Trapped in the Sky versus Fireflash

  1. Pingback: On Thunderbirds Are Go Part I | In Defence of Liberty

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This entry was posted on May 25, 2015 by in Other Interests and tagged , , .
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