Flying Off Rooftops

“Sometimes, if someone is crazy enough to do something really out there, you just have to film it.”
– Margaret Burnette, producer/writer

Tom Murphy, restorer of old airplanes, had a crazy idea. He proposed recreating the historic 1912 flight of a bi-plane off the roof of the Multnomah hotel in Portland, Oregon. The original flight inspired the idea of flying planes on and off aircraft carriers. To everyone’s surprise, the FAA approved the plan. Coverage of the take-off was, of course, key to the success of this film, so we put crew and cameras everywhere: on the rooftop, among the crowds down below, and on the rooftop of a nearby building. We also attached two cameras inside the open cockpit of the bi-plane. Tom suited up, climbed into the cockpit, revved up the engine, and with the help of giant rubber band contraption modeled on the one used in the original flight, the biplane was flung off the rooftop. In a heart-stopping moment, the plane dropped from the extra weight of the cameras, nearly catching the side of the building. The adventure continued when Tom was forced to navigate through fog and rain without instruments. But in the end, the flight and the film were successful. And Tom’s facial expressions captured by our cockpit cameras were priceless!

Watch the trailer:

(video)