They may seem an ‘out-there’ element of Die Another Day, but the switchblades that feature in the film are very real, and can fly.
The switchblade was designed by Jack McCornack, owner of Kinetic Aerospace. It wasn’t the switchblade, however, that was McCornack’s first outing in the world of James Bond. For The World Is Not Enough McCornack was approached to provide the Parahawks.
For Die Another Day McCornack set out to “come up with the absolutely most minimal single-person aircraft that was Bond-like”, what resulted was the invention of the switchblade solely for its appearance in the film.
During tests of the switchblades McCornack determined that the craft could glide up to speeds of 200mph, thanks largely to its carbon filament and epoxy Fiberglass construction. The vehicles weighs around 50 pounds and has a wingspan on 8 feet, when the wings aren’t retracted.
During filming of Die Another Day the crafts were piloted by stunt doubles for both Halle Berry and Pierce Brosnan. Allan Hewitt, who also doubled for Gustav Graves during his flight over Buckingham Palace, is a former British military stunt team parachutist and was required to stand in for Brosnan for the switchblade sequence. The reason is, as McCornack explains, the craft is a “Bic airplane”, designed to be thrown away in mid-air. Hence, a seasoned parachutist is required to perform the stunt.
For more details, visit the Statesman Journal, who have also provided a rare picture of Halle Berry’s stunt double on a switchblade.
Thanks to Mourning Becomes Electra for the tip-off
Source: Statesman Journal