The Helicarrier: When Movies Ignore Natural Law

We’ve all been there – Sitting inside a movie theater, fully engrossed in the film, when suddenly something happens on screen that is so far-fetched that we suddenly remember we’re sitting in a theater seat. This is the experience Rescale’s Edward Hsu had back in 2012 when he was watching the movie, The Avengers. As an aviation enthusiast, everything was well and good until he saw the epic sea structure called the Helicarrier take to the skies, and it was blatantly clear to him that the incredible piece of high budget visual effects would probably – in fact – kill its own jet pilots. And while it was just a movie, the scene lingered in Edward’s mind for years, until the day Sandeep Urankar – an engineer with a knack for computational investigations – was able to run simulations to prove if Edward’s hypothesis was true, and consequently fueling the question – how accurate should big budget movies really be when it comes to natural law?


Interview with Edward Hsu, Chief Product Officer at Rescale, and Sandeep Urankar, Product Marketing Manager at Rescale
Producer: Jolie Hales
Hosts: Jolie Hales, Ernest de Leon
Writer / Editor: Jolie Hales

Edward Hsu (Rescale), Sandeep Urankar (Rescale)

Referenced on the Podcast

The landing runway of the 2012 Avengers movie Helicarrier, which points directly to a giant lift fan the pilot would have to fly over if they “boltered” on landing.

Helicarrier Takeoff Scene – 2012 The Avengers Movie

Aircraft Carrier Takeoffs and Landings

Aircraft Carrier Takeoffs and Landings

“Why the Avengers’ Helicarrier Is Horribly Designed” Blog by Edward Hsu & Sandeep Urankar

WIRED: “Could the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier Fly?” by Rhett Allain

Rhett Allain’s (WIRED) interpretation of how large the fans would have to be in order for the Helicarrier to actually fly

Flip Flap Railway Roller Coaster – 1895

Spider-Man Stunt Show Goes Awry



  • Jolie Hales

    Jolie Hales is an award-winning filmmaker and host of the Big Compute Podcast. She is a former Disney Ambassador and on-camera spokesperson for the Walt Disney Company, and can often be found performing as an actor, singer, or emcee on stage or in front of her toddler. She currently works as Head of Communications at Rescale.

  • Ernest deLeon

    Ernest de Leon is a futurist and technologist who loves to be at the intersection of technology and the human condition. A long time cybersecurity leader, Ernest also has deep interests in artificial intelligence and theoretical physics. He spends his free time in remote places only accessible by a Jeep. He currently works as Director of Security and Compliance at Rescale, and is a host on the Big Compute Podcast.

  • Edward Hsu

    Edward Hsu is Chief Product Officer at Rescale, driving intelligent computing for digital R&D. Prior to joining Rescale, Edward ran product and marketing at D2IQ (formerly Mesosphere), as well as product marketing at VMware. Earlier in his career, Edward worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company as well as in engineering in Oracle’s CRM division.

  • Sandeep Urankar

    Sandeep Urankar is a product marketing manager at Rescale. He strongly believes in the power of R&D simulation technology to help build a more sustainable future. Prior to joining Rescale, Sandeep held several product management positions at leading simulation software companies including Dassault Systems and Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence.

Similar Posts