To the Batcopter!

One of my favourite DC Comics characters is Batman. A superhero that uses his physical strength and sinister appearance as the Dark Knight to spread fear amongst the scum and villainy of Gotham City. What I like most about Batman is he is just a man. Admittedly one with some very handy skills, a vast fortune and of course awesome gadgets and vehicles! The character Batman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and turned 75 years old in 2014, having first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939.

Batman 75th anniversary
Happy Birthday Batman!

I read the comics and love the gritty Michael Keaton Batman movies (Batman 1989 and Batman Returns 1992) and the later Christian Bale ones (Batman Begins 2005, The Dark Knight 2008 and The Dark Knight Rises 2012). The Batman movies by other actors in between these were not so great (Batman Forever in 1995 with Val Kilmer and Batman & Robin 1997 with George Clooney. The latter one was a franchise breaker!) but ultimately I grew up watching the campy yet fantastic Batman TV series starring Adam West which ran from 1966 – 1968 (there was also a movie Batman 1966).

The Batmans 1966 - 2012
Batman 1966 – 2012

The Batman movies had all sorts of great vehicles and aircraft but the most memorable ones were from the 1960’s. There was the Batmobile, the Batboat, the Batcycle and of course the Batcopter! Recently I have seen originals of all of these 1960’s vehicles. The best was seeing the original Batcopter actually fly at the Sun ‘n Fun Air Show in Florida (unfortunately it is missing the bat wings)!

Batcopter Sun 'n Fin Air Show 2014
To the Batcopter!
The Batcopter at Sun 'n Fun Air Show 2014
The Batcopter at Sun ‘n Fun Air Show 2014

The Batcopter is a customised Bell 47 originally used in the 1966 Batman movie. Twentieth Century Fox did not have the budget to use the helicopter for the Batman TV series so they leased the helicopter from National Helicopter Service for a few days. After filming it was returned to its normal look and went back into operation with National.

Batman Movie Poster 1966
Batman Movie 1966
Batcopter 1966 Batman Movie
The Batcopter – Batman 1966
The Batcopter first starred in the 1966 Batman movie
The Batcopter first starred in the 1966 Batman movie

The original Bell 47 was later purchased by the Nock Entertainment Group who restored and modified the helicopter with modern avionics and made it look like the Batcopter again. Apparently the bat wings reduced power by 50% so I can see why they were not put back on when it was returned to flight in its current guise!

Batcopter 2014
Up close with the Batcopter 2014
Batman & Robin in the Batcopter 1966
Batman & Robin in the Batcopter 1966
The original 1966 Batcopter (Bell 47) and a replica Batmobile
The original 1966 Batcopter (Bell 47) and a replica Batmobile
Batcopter and batmobile
It was great to see these at Sun ‘n Fun 2014 in Lakeland, Florida
Batcopter Burt Ward Robin signature
The Batcopter is signed by Burt Ward who played Robin in Batman 1966-1968
bat sprays batman batcopter
Batman is always ready for any emergency!

I mentioned earlier that I have also recently seen some of the other original Batman vehicles. These were all part of the excellent Miami Auto Museum at the Dezer Collection in North Miami, Florida. They have a fantastic display hall dedicated to Batman.

This particular Batmobile was the 3rd one made by George Barris for the Batman TV series in 1966 Dezer Collection
This particular Batmobile was the 3rd one made by George Barris for the Batman TV series in 1966
The Batmobile as seen in the Batman TV series 1966-1968
The Batmobile as seen in the Batman TV series 1966-1968
Batcycle Dezer Collection Batman
Batcycle 2014
Adam West as Batman on the Batcycle in 1966
Adam West as Batman on the Batcycle in 1966 (note they didn’t quite get the paint job right on the restoration)
Batman 1966 Dezer Collection Miami The Batcycle sidecar was fitted with a go-kart that Robin could separate and drive off in
The Batcycle sidecar was fitted with a go-kart that Robin could separate and drive off in
Batman & Robin on the Batcycle 1966
Batman & Robin on the Batcycle 1966
Batman The Batboat at the Dezer Collection 2014
The Batboat at the Dezer Collection 2014
The Batboat - Batman movie 1966
The Batboat – Batman movie 1966
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2 thoughts on “To the Batcopter!

  1. I still think the TV series version of the Batmobile is the best one ever! With room only for two if I were Batman I’d get a taxi for Robin to leave the seat open for Julie Newmar’s Catwoman 🙂

    Like

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