Sunday, November 01, 2015

Partial Research is Funnier than None

At 1:35:14 of the movie The Bourne Identity, there's an airplane. It's not important to the plot, just a brief scene to show that Important Serious Guy is going to Paris. It only merited a second glance because Important Serious Guy was going to take the "first flight out" which usually refers to scheduled flights, yet the airplane in question is a Dassault Falcon 900 and the passenger is driven up to the boarding stairs in a limo. It's clearly a private flight. So in between writing the dialogue and getting the location, someone decided that the secret agent guy wasn't going to fly airline, or it was just cheaper for the production to get the plane and the location for one guy boarding a small jet than to arrange a whole airline cabin set, and they missed changing the actor's line. I can even accept that by "first flight" the guy meant, "as soon as the pilots have the airplane ready," and that there's nothing wrong with the dialogue.

It's a three-engine jet, which is kind of cool. Wikipedia tells me that it and the Falcon 7X are the only trijets still in production. On the nacelle of the centre engine we see the aircraft registration N-GIDE. I can't say whether it was the oddity of an N-number followed by a dash and four letters that drew my attention to the fact that the N has clearly been stuck on as a patch, or vice versa, but that is one silly aircraft registration. It took me three guesses to find it as French-registered F-GIDE a Dassault Falcon 900 currently owned by GE Capital Equipement Finance, and based in Paris. The airplane looked like this in 1998, which doesn't match the movie, but the 1998 paint job looks like my high school locker room, so I'm not surprised it would be changed. I'm imagining someone has scouted the location, paid whatever is the going rate is for using someone's airplane as a set for a couple of hours, and got airport permission to drive their limo and camera trucks and whatever around the apron. They put an actor in the cockpit--just one, we'll presume that the other pilot is in the back to greet the passenger--and generally tried to make it look as though it's a US government airplane ready to take this guy to Paris. They slapped a US flag decal on it, by the boarding door, and then someone did just enough research to get in trouble. I think the location manager spotted the F starting the registration and realized that that represented France. They somehow learned that American aircraft registrations start with N, without realizing that they don't have a dash, and they have numbers in them. To me the result is as adorable as a kid trying to hide by covering her eyes: that act of concealment draws more attention than none at all, but it shows that they tried. Had they tried harder, they would have discovered that the FAA reserves the tail numbers N88892, N9748C, and N9747P for use in movies and television, and then I never would have noticed. Probably I wouldn't have noticed if they had left the French registration intact, either. I'm sure the US government leases aircraft in more exotic places than France.

Given that it's the same kind of half-completed research I do all the time for my blog, and will definitely be doing for this year's NaNoWriMo novel, starting today, I hope I'm not alone in getting enjoyment from the funny.

7 comments:

Vivien Milat said...

Compare that to the final episode of Mad Men, which includes an aircraft registered N1965L, which is accurate (and means they actually filmed THE right aircraft to match the story line)…

(See also http://www.kansas.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/carrie-rengers/article21305958.html )

kschendel said...

Nope, you're not alone. :-)

80735c26-825c-11e5-8a1c-2bfd62c06a8c said...

When I was a kid back in the 60's, I had a toy aircraft with the registration N7019B. I wonder how they picked that number.

Michael5000 said...

Very entertainingly sharpshooted. Sharpshot? Whatever.

Thomas said...

Hi,
In this post I like how you directly addressed the audience in a relaxed way. I realize your blog site is called cockpit conversations but do you actually talk about this stuff in a cockpit? I hope to one day become a pilot and I like to read this blog. Best wishes to you and your flying.
-Thomas

Thomas said...

Hi,
In this post I like how you directly addressed the audience in a relaxed way. I realize your blog site is called cockpit conversations but do you actually talk about this stuff in a cockpit? I hope to one day become a pilot and I like to read this blog. Best wishes to you and your flying.
-Thomas

Aviatrix said...

Actually, yes, Thomas. Anything you and your friends might talk about on a road trip, someone has chatted about in a cockpit.