X-Men: First Class The fifth in this popular series of comic-book spin-offs is a prequel: In the early 1960s, super-psychic Charles Xavier secretly establishes a school for genetic mutants with extraordinary powers. As the young mutants learn to harness their abilities, they form alliances that will divide the group into the well-meaning X-Men and their nefarious rivals, the Brotherhood of Mutants.
Science Fiction To shuttle the mutants around the country, Xavier commissions the creation of the X-Jet, a stealth aircraft that has the coast-to-coast range of an SR-71 Blackbird and the vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of the V-22 Osprey. It can also reach a top speed of 3,234 mph.
Science Fact “A plane with some combination of these qualities is technically possible, but it would be practically useless,” says Richard Whittle, author of The Dream Machine, a history of the V-22 Osprey. To take off vertically, the X-Jet would need to generate a pound of thrust for every pound of aircraft, he says. This would burn so much fuel that the plane’s range would be limited to a few counties, not a full country. Instead, the X-Jet would most likely resemble the V-22, which has a 1,000-mile range and a top speed of about 300 mph, and took 25 years and $22 billion to design and build. How do the X-Men overcome such incredible constraints? “With Beast’s technical wisdom and Magneto’s ability to move metal around, you can accomplish a lot in a short time,” says the movie’s producer, Bryan Singer.