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See how it's done.

So, you have this Cool Ship, Cool Plane, Cool Whatever. So what to do with it? Sure, you can show it off and see how everyone turns green with envy, but the kind of stories frequented by Cool Means Of Travel usually requests you to use it a bit more actively. Like, engage in fighting and the stuff. At times, it's awesome enough when you open fire, at others... Not so much. So what should you do to meet the expectations of the audience?

Do a Cool Maneuver.

Compare Everything's Better with Spinning. When it includes tricking the opponent by use of terrain or rapid braking, it's Wronski Feint or Dodge by Braking. If involves missiles, often High-Speed Missile Dodge. Finally, if you're into suicidal attacks, then remember Ramming Always Works.

You may also be looking for Spin to Deflect Stuff.

Examples of Do a Barrel Roll include:

Anime & Manga

  • Code Geass has an amusing (to some, hilarious) example of this; Lelouch's arch-rival and also his friend, Suzaku, has a signature move, the "Spinzaku" Kick. After leaping into the air, he spins his legs out to hit his opponents. Not only does he does this to disarm Zero after shooting Zero in the head and revealing Lelouch's identity, he also pulls a Spinzaku in his Knightmare Frame, Lancelot on its first launch.
  • The Cutback Dropturn from Eureka Seven. It's apparently like the Holy Grail of Sky Surfing techniques in the show's universe.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, Murrue Ramius orders the Archangel to Do a Barrel Roll in order to destroy a battleship beneath them with their top-mounted beam cannons.
  • Claus Valca, protagonist of Last Exile, earns both the audience and other characters' accolades by performing the Immelman Turn in his steampunk Vanship. Too bad for him, it also impressed the heir of the antagonist force, Dio Eraclea... who instantly becomes Claus' biggest fan and takes great pleasure in calling him "Immelman!" every chance he gets.
    • Amusingly, this is not even a particularly complex (or effective) maneuver. All it consists of is pulling the stick back until you're headed straight up, and keeping it held back until you're actually flying back the way you came — upside down. Then you do a half-role to right yourself. The only thing a pursuer has to do to stay on your tail is the exact same thing, except now you're both going in the opposite direction and at a higher altitude. Not to mention that, because you necessarily slow down as you pull up, you give a pursuer a nice opportunity to blow you away as soon as you start the maneuver.
  • Naturally happens a lot in Macross. Macross Zero has especially over the top maneuvers like Shin intentionally stalling his fighter to slow down and transform, plus the generally insane maneuvering enabled by the VF-0's vernier thrusters and the OVA's high budget, hence the meme THRUST VECTORING RULES THE SKIES.
  • In Porco Rosso Boss tells Fio that the loop (barrel roll in the original Japanese) " what made Porco the Ace of the Adriatic!"
  • In The Great Waldo Pepper Waldo's best friend is killed attempting to perform the world's first outside loop, triggering the psychotic episode that costs Waldo his pilot's license.
  • Super Atragon: The ocean-going Ra pulls one of these in her first engagement. Ra 's main guns cannot elevate high enough to shoot the enemy target. In order to elevate them to a high enough angle, they flood the the port side ballast tanks, tilting the entire ship another 45 degrees off-keel and bringing the guns to the desired elevation.

Collectible Card Games

  • Magic: The Gathering's main story arc involved Cool Ship and its crew, thus there are several cards depicting airborne badassery. One involved using the ship's mirrored hull to deflect one baddie's beam onto other baddie.
  • Star Wars Customizable Card Game has various space maneuvering interrupts including Tallon Roll and Darklighter Spin.


  • Kirk's awful 3D maneuver.
  • Roy Scheider's helicopter loop in Blue Thunder.
  • Any number of scenes in Mad Max II (aka The Road Warrior).
  • Anything by Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode II (hovercar) and III (fighter and broken-in-half-cruiser).
    • And in Episode I, during the podrace, Anakin gets launched into the air by an off ramp, he taps the thrusters, opens the flaps, and swoops down (with the sound dropping out) to land in front of Sebulba, with the triumphant sounds of the twin engines roaring.
      • In the extended version of the race on the DVD, there's the moment when Anakin finds himself caught between a racer and a cliffside, so he repulsor-climbs sideways up the cliff, rolls right over the other racer, and zooms off once he's in the clear.
      • How could we forget the space battle, where Anakin actually shouts out "Let's try spinning! That's a good trick!" This makes more sense if you've read the book, in which the escape from Naboo is completed by spinning the ship, which disrupts the "pulsar tracking" the Trade Federation uses for its weapons.
    • In the original Star Wars film, our hero has a Tie Fighter on his tail. Rather than perform some extraordinary maneuver himself, he is saved when Wedge dives in at him head-on, getting between him and the TIE to blast the bad guy point-blank. Which is an excellent example of a Real Life combat maneuver known as the Thatch Weave.
  • In Top Gun, "I'll tap the brakes, he'll fly right by".
  • Serenity gives us the "Barn Swallow", which is basically the space craft version of KITT from Knight Rider driving into the tractor trailer. With KITT facing backwards.
  • Seaborne example: anchor turn in Pirates of the Caribbean.
    • Called out in dialogue as "Keelhauling". Also, shouldn't have worked — at best, you lose the anchor and make a slight turn, at worst you rip the ship into several uneven pieces no longer capable of floating, much less sailing.
      • "Club hauling" — a legitimate term of the manoeuvre of turning the ship when you don't have steerage way by dropping an anchor and pivoting around it. Normally done MUCH more slowly than in the film, of course, but the name at least is one of the rare accurate moments in the series.
  • In Battle of Britain, one of the squadron leaders chews out two separate pilots for doing victory rolls on the not unreasonable justification that a low-altitude barrel roll in a potentially combat damaged aircraft is a good way to get yourself killed.
  • Literally combined with Dodge by Braking in the World War One film Flyboys when an American pilot uses an actual barrel roll to get alongside his German opponent so he can shoot him with a pistol.
  • In The a Team, Murdock does a barrel roll in a civilian medic helicopter, then in a C-130. Just to be clear, very few helicopters can be barrel rolled, and rolling a C-130 is a job for a professional stunt pilot.
    • And just to make his passengers' lives even scarier, halfway through the roll he says, "I've never tried this before!" Face's expression of sheer terror is a thing of beauty, not to speak of B.A....
      • Just to be clear, before the helicopter barrel roll, BA was a fully jump qualified US Ranger (ie regularly jumped out of planes). After Murdock's stunt he is deadly afraid to even be in any machine capable of flight.
  • The political drama State of the Union has a wholly gratuitous sequence devoted to airplane stunts.
  • In The Man with the Golden Gun, James Bond makes a 360º corkscrew jump with a car (which he precedes with "Ever heard of Evel Knievel?"). And it was real! Too bad it is somewhat ruined by a Narmy sound effect...


  • Honor Harrington example: Captain Terekhov's maneuver at the Battle of Hyacinth in the novel "The Shadow Of Saganami". Bonus points for the maneuver leading to a puny light cruiser beating the hell out of a heavy cruiser three times its size.
  • The "Crazy Ivan" maneuver and the term describing it was obscure U.S Navy slang until Tom Clancy popularised it in his debut novel The Hunt for Red October.
  • During a dogfight in Specter of the Past, Han and Leia put the Millennium Falcon into a modified "smuggler's turn", apparently the Star Wars equivalent of a Crazy Ivan IN SPACE! It partially works: Han's able to shoot down one of the attacking fighters. Then the trope is unexpectedly subverted when the other fighter collides with the Falcon and cripples her.

Live Action TV

  • Babylon 5 example: Delenn and a small force of Whitestars are trying to escape from a Drakh mothership and its large force of parasite fighters. Delenn asks Lennier if he has ever seen the Warrior Caste training demonstration flights, specifically their trick of "skin dancing". Lennier nervously admits that he has, and when she asks if he can do it, he replies, "Not without several years of training...but I can program the parameters into the ship's autopilot." Delenn asks him what he needs to do then. "Push this button, and pray...very, very fast."
  • Battlestar Galactica is replete with examples, from Apollo and Zac doing the "tap the brakes, he'll fly right by" stock maneuver in the pilot movie of the classic series, to Starbuck rescuing Apollo's damaged fighter at the last possible second in the pilot miniseries of the re-imagined series.
    • The Adama Maneuver. For sheer ballsy things you can do with several megatons of militarized metal, there is no substitute.
  • The Buck Rogers TV series also uses the "tap the brakes" maneuver in its pilot movie.
  • Sub/Averted in an episode of Black Sheep Squadron: their planes were in such terrible shape (because they never got adequate repair parts) that after takeoff one of the pilots had to barrel roll in order to be able to retract his landing gear. A guest squadron with brand-new planes thought he was showing off.
  • The pilot for Firefly showed us a 180-degree reversed-thrust Crazy Ivan. Then they went to "hard burn" — which according to the literature consists of setting off a small thermonuclear explosion behind your ship — while still atmospheric. It was a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Wash, Kaylee, and Serenity herself.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Pterodactyl Dinozord performed the occasional barrel roll. The Crane Ninjazord was fond of a loop-the-loop that finished out with some shooting.

Newspaper Comics

  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin does a barrel roll in an airline pilot fantasy sequence.
    • He also carves a giant sign into his lawn urging real airline pilots to do the same. (Presumably, none comply)

Video Games

  • A part of Star Fox since the very first game. Peppy Hare's command to "do a barrel roll!" to get yourself out of trouble became a big Internet meme, and gave this trope its name.
    • For some unfathomable reason, doing a barrel roll gives your ship 95% immunity to any attack an enemy might throw at you.
    • You can also do this with the tank mission in Star Fox 64. Tapping Z or R twice causes the tank to fire its jump jets to roll your tank over in the direction you specified.
    • Also, there's the Loop, where you do a sharp climb, flip upside down, and then do a sharp dive so you're going exactly the same direction you were, in order to shake off tailing enemies. And then there's the U-Turn, where you boost ahead, flip upside-down and backwards, then do another roll to face up again. That one's to rapidly switch directions in all-range mode.
    • When actually used in the memetic sense, though, "Do a barrel roll" means nothing. It's essentially the most extreme form of completely useless advice.
    • Google has jumped on the bandwagon as of late. Typing in "do a barrel roll" for a search query makes the resulting page do a barrel roll.
  • One of the weirdest examples of this trope comes from the game Battle Tanx: Global Assault, in the form of the FLP-E ("Flippy") tank. Built with a gryo-stabilized cockpit, specially-designed tracks, and side-mounted jet boosters, the FLP-E is capable of tumbling sideways with ease, baffling its enemies.
    • Also, if you tap the opposing flip buttons repeatedly, in rapid-fire, you can squeeze between two larger tanks.
  • In the Star Trek Starfleet Command series, you can't do a barrel roll, but you can "Starcastle": sit in one spot and spin your starship in a circle, firing off your weapons as the enemy enters their firing arcs. Pairing this with the tractor beam (which has a rotate function to spin the captured ship around yours while you spin in the opposite direction) and a starship with good all-around weapon coverage (Federation ships, Borg ships), and you can do near-constant damage to your target.
  • Fresh from "Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier" - Daxter: "Do a barrel roll, try a somersault, ANYTHING!!!~!!!"
  • At least in the arcade console version of Sega's Afterburner, one could barrel roll around incoming missile salvoes by bringing the stick all the way over to one side for a regular turn, then quickly snapping over to the other side. This is, if done by sufficiently hamfisted players, somewhat hard on the cabinet controls, but almost always effective.
  • Sword of the Stars allows you to barrel roll ships. It can help in anti-planetary actions if your race's Point Defenseless coverage is lacking against munitions coming in from "above" or "below" the horizontal plane.
  • Possibly alluded to in Skyward Sword, where Link's Loftwing learns a new method of acceleration that is far more accurate than your previous attack/acceleration. How does it do it? By rapidly barrel rolling.

Western Animation

  • The Double Inside-Out Loop in the first My Little Pony movie. Sort of a flying pony trick that the boldest character tries (unsuccessfully) at the beginning and then manages to complete at the moment of dramatic climax.
  • Parodied in the Family Guy Star Wars special, with Peter escaping in the Millennium Falcon by...changing direction.

 First Mook: "He's listing lazily to the left!"

Second Mook: "Man, this guy knows some moves!"

  • The Pelican Dive from Tale Spin. It failed the first time Baloo tried it, but he pulls it off once his life (and his pilot's license) was on the line.
  • Launchpad had to pull off the "Tree-Top Be-Bop Tuck And Roll" in order to stop the Beagle Boys from robbing Scrooge's money bin.

Real Life

  • One of the basics of aerial dogfighting is to strike "out of the Sun".
  • Pugachev's Cobra: making the plane stand on its tail. You don't just have to be a masterful pilot to be able to do it, as most planes just aren't maneuverable enough to pull this trick (the ones that can do this are basically fourth or fifth generation fighters).
  • Crazy Ivan: a sudden radical turn to a) see if anyone's behind you, and b) intimidate them if they are, a specialty of Soviet submarines before they got towed sonar arrays.
  • The Immelmann turn, a must-have for WWI dogfights.
  • There are people doing this for a living.
  • Doing a barrel roll in a fighter, where maneuverability is an essential component of design, is not very exceptional in and of itself. Barrel-rolling a prototype four-engine commercial jet is something else entirely. While it was actually quite safe for the pilot and plane, it was not something one sees on a regular basis. See here, on The Other Wiki, for details of pilot Tex Johnston's antics. Boeing President Bill Allen wasn't very happy about it.
  • WWII U.S. fighter pilots found that the Thunderbolt, Wildcat and Corsair's superior high-speed roll rates often allowed them to gain the upper hand over otherwise more maneuverable enemy fighters like the Zero (and gave them a good way to escape when they couldn't.) They also developed defensive tactics that exploited this advantage like the "Thatch weave" and the horizontal scissors.
  • Type "do a barrel roll" into Google.