‘Planes: Fire & Rescue’ Fun Facts
From the world of Cars soars Planes: Fire & Rescue, a new comedy-adventure featuring a quirky crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world famous air racer Dusty (Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of wildfire air attack. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his courageous air attack team, including spirited super scooper Lil’ Dipper (Julie Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire, and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.
PLANES: FIRE & RESCUE FUN FACTS
CROPHOPPER TO HERO — Known as a SEAT (Single Engine Air Tanker), crop dusters were among the first wildfire air attack aircraft. The first operational air tanker was a repurposed crop duster, which made the first air drop on the Mendocino National Forest in 1955.
VEHICLE INSPIRATIONS — Many of the vehicle designs in Planes: Fire & Rescue are inspired (in part) by a number of planes:
- Dusty Crophopper was inspired by the Air Tractor 502, Cessna and the Air Dromader.
- Windlifter’s design was inspired by the Sikorsky Skycrane, a Kamov KA-26 and a Mil MI-10.
- Propwash Junction’s resident fire truck Mayday’s design is based on the Fordson Tender, circa 1943.
- Ex-military transport plane Cabbie sports a design based on a C-119.
- A 1968 Ford Bronco inspired the design of the Secretary of Interior.
PLAYING DIRTY — Filmmakers wanted to ensure moviegoers sensed just how rotten park superintendent Cad Spinner really is, so they placed trash bins or dumpsters near the SUV in nearly every shot in which he appears.
HELI MANEUVERS — Two of the main characters in the film are helicopters, so filmmakers turned to world-renowned aerobatic helicopter pilot Chuck Aaron to ensure they captured the helicopter flight authentically. Blade Ranger pulls some tricky maneuvers in the film that were reviewed and validated by Aaron.
AMERICAN INDIAN — To ensure authenticity for the character Windlifter, and pay proper respect to the American Indian community, filmmakers turned to Dr. Paul Apodaca, Ph.D. and associate professor American studies at Chapman University in Southern California.
TRUE LOVE — Real-life couple Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara were called on to help bring to life the charming couple Harvey and Winnie. Filmmakers say they brought just the right chemistry to the roles.
CHiPS CHoPs — Erik Estrada pays homage to his six-year TV run as highway patrolman Frank Poncherello by voicing TV helicopter cop Nick ‘Loopin” Lopez in CHoPs — a ’70s show featured in Planes: Fire & Rescue.
NATIONAL PARKS — The film’s setting is inspired by elements from a host of national parks, including Yosemite and Yellowstone.
- National Parks Director Jonathan Jarvis was invited to DisneyToon Studios to view the film. He was thrilled with the attention to detail like the inclusion of rocking chairs in front of the fireplace.
- Yellowstone’s Old Faithful Inn served as inspiration for the film’s Grand Fusel Lodge.
- The railway station attached to the Grand Fusel Lodge was inspired by an actual station that once existed near Yellowstone’s north entrance and was designed by Robert Reamer, the architect of the Old Faithful Inn.
BETTER THAN NEW — Playing upon the theme of second chances and based on filmmakers’ real-life observations during research trips to aerial firefighting stations, much of the Piston Peak Air Attack Base set is made up of repurposed structures. Filmmakers learned that budgets are traditionally stretched by reusing items, so they incorporated the practice in Planes: Fire & Rescue. Maru is the ringleader when it comes to repurposing, repeating the mantra, ‘It’s better than new.’
LUCKY NUMBER — As a tip of the hat to the friends at Cal Fire’s Hemet-Ryan Air Attack Base, where the filmmakers did much of their research, Blade’s tail number 301 is the same number as Hemet-Ryan’s helicopter.