Revealed: How The Human Torch Drone Flew

Lots of fire and a little bit of Hollywood magic

For the upcoming Fantastic 4 movie opening this weekend, viral marketing firm Thinkmodo created what appears to be a flying, burning Human Torch, just like the comic book superhero. Take a look at the takeoff:

And watch the full video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3usKUcFVeY?

At the beginning of the video, a fireman carries the Human Torch frame (helpfully labeled “Johnny” and “Johnny Storm”), and sets it up on the launchpad. There are no visible motors or engines. Plenty of hobbyists are good at hiding the quadcopter rotors of their drone inside a larger body, but with this Human Torch, there was little room to hide the engines. Oh, and any engines it had would catch fire. So how did they do it?

By email, Thinkmodo co-founder Michael Krivicka explained to Popular Science how the Human Torch flew:

Hollywood magic no more! This isn’t a Human Torch drone, it’s a Human Torch glider. Carrying the 60 ounce Human Torch is a DJI S1000, which can lift up to 35 lbs. Here’s a picture of the Human Torch with cables visible:

Human Torch Drone With Cables

BETHPAGE, NY – July 29, 2015: Behind the scenes of F4 viral video at Nassau Fire Academy in Bethpage, New York. CREDIT: Emon Hassan

The flights took place at a training facility for fire fighters, many of whom were on hand to put out the burning Human Torch and the other pyrotechnics used in the video.

Update This post has been updated to include the model of the drone that carried the Human and the weight of the Human Torch used.

Kelsey D. Atherton

Kelsey D. Athertonis a defense technology journalist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His work on drones, lethal AI, and nuclear weapons has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, and elsewhere.