13 November 2007

Autobots can't fly, can they?

This is one of a number of contentious, often discussed but never resolved G1 Transformer continuity issues. I’m going to put down what I believe to be true.

The contention: Autobots cannot fly, Decepticons can.

In MTMTE Parts 1 and 2, Autobots had flight capability but completely lost it from MTMTE Part 3 onwards. There were particular exceptions of course:

(1) Autobots who transformed into airborne vehicles could fly (sometimes without transforming);
(2) Autobots with some special ability could fly or have flight like powers. For example, Sideswipe (rocket pack) and Gears (air cushion legs); and
(3) all Dinobots can fly courtesy of rear mounted rocket packs. This is seen in SOS Dinobots and War of the Dinobots and seems to be a special ability the Dinobots have.

Galvatron in The Return of Optimus Prime quite authoritatively concludes the issue by sarcastically stating to Prime ‘Oh, I forgot, Autobots can’t fly’.

'Sideswipe, give me your rocket pack.'

This begs the question: Why can’t Autobots fly when they clearly could in MTMTE?

MTMTE was rife with animation errors, Autobots flying was one of them. That would be a straightforward explanation.

I think that Autobots can fly, they just choose not to. The Transformers are at war and have ‘drained the once resource rich Cybertron’, which is the main reason why the Ark and its crew were searching for ‘new sources of energy’. Flying of any form, presumably takes up large amounts of energon. The Autobots choose not to fly in order to conserve the Transformers’ already depleted supplies of energon.

They flew around in MTMTE Pts 1 & 2 because they have just awakened on a strange world and wanted to fight their enemies in the way they are most comfortable and accustomed with, that presumably includes flight. By MTMTE Pt 3, they were more familiar with Earth through Sparkplug and Spike, so their dire need of energy and its imperative conservation would once again become a priority.

There of course remains the matter of flying Dinobots. A simple reading of their profiles would say that they are not too bright. In all probability, they fly because they can and because they are too dumb to realize that they have to conserve energon.

The Decepticons, on the other hand, have no qualms about flying because if they run out of energon, they just take it.

It makes good sense to me if looked at this way. It is not that Autobots cannot fly while Decepticons can; It is more that Autobots choose not to fly, while Decepticons choose to.


  1. Hmmmm, I can and can't agree totally with this, yeah sure what you say is plausible but, In all cases I can name way too many episodes in which it would have been convenient to fly at a particular moment even if it was very brief to save a particular situation or Autobot in trouble.

    Of course we all know that the writers just simply changed there minds and though of the advantages in the storylines ahead, not to mention the coming of the aerialbots...

    I guess i just need more evidence to convince me on this one.

  2. Once again, I prefer the comics version, where no one could fly unless they were a jet. Megatron and Soundwave couldn't fly: they had to transform and shrink, then hop in one of the jets. Even the jets weren't shown to fly unless in jet mode. This makes the most sense.

    The comics totally pwned the cartoons.

  3. Sentient, fortunately or unfortunately, the G1 episodes have been less than consistent. So, its possible that there are instances of briefly flying Autobots.

    Botch, I think you are right that the comics are more consistent and that there, even Decepticons couldn't fly unless transformed. I remember Megatron falling down a cliff and not being able to fly to save himself (Repeat Performance).

    Think I have to shamefully admit that for me its always been the cartoon and in writing the article have been a little more but fixated on the cartoon; but to be fair, I did enjoy the comics a lot more after or around issue #17, when the art got more consistent.


Your comment will be beamed to me and will be visible within 3 to 7 hours typically. Do check back or subscribe to this post for my responses or to see comments from other readers! ~ HD

Last 30 days' TOP TEN Popular Posts