BD-5J Acrostar Microjet

BD-5J Acrostar Microjet

Appears In
Octopussy, Die Another Day

On Film
The jet appears in the film’s memorable pre-title sequence, as Bond bids to escape troops in an unspecified South American country, leaping into a Range Rover that’s towing what appears to be a horse-trailer. As the enemy troops race towards him, Bond emerges from the horse-trailer in the Acrostar, its wings unfolding before it takes off over the heads of his pursuers. The troops fire a surface-to-air missile, which, after some nimble flying, 007 cleverly guides into an aircraft hangar blowing it sky high. Bond then pilots the jet to safety.

The Acrostar also appears in Die Another Day (2002), seen in pieces in the background of Q’s underground workshop as he demonstrates his glass-shattering ring to Bond.

The Vehicle
Invented by engineer Jim Bede, the BD-5J Acrostar Microjet has an unpiloted weight of just 450lbs and a wingspan of 13 feet. The Acrostar took the Guinness World Record for the lightest jet aircraft and can hit speeds of 320mph, courtesy of a powerful TRS-18 microturbo jet engine that delivers 225lbs of thrust.

The Production
The filmmakers originally acquired three of these ingenious microjets for use on Moonraker but ended up using them for Octopussy. Stunt pilots Corkey Fornof and Rick Holley piloted the Acrostar through the film’s flight sequences, which were filmed in the US, while the hangar sequence was filmed at RAF Northolt in West London. Stunt supervisor John Richardson attached the plane to a pole that was mounted on a Jaguar XJ-6, before driving the car through the hangar at 75mph – the wings, tipped sideways, hiding the pole from view. As Richardson exited the hangar the Jaguar’s throttle jammed, throwing the vehicle into several 360-degree spins that stopped just a few metres short of an expensive RAF helicopter. The scene’s payoff -in which Bond lands the Acrostar on a country road, pulls into a petrol station and asks the attendant to, ‘Fill her up, please’ – was almost left out of the movie altogether. Director John Glen only reinstated the moment when he saw an audience laughing at the line during an early trailer for the film.