Gerry Anderson Encyclopedia

Trapped In The Sky

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Trapped In The Sky
Season 1, Episode 1
Trapped in the Sky 01
Original Transmission September 30, 1965
Written by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson
Directed by Alan Pattillo
Edited by Len Walter
Alan Pattillo
Production Order
Pit Of Peril
Broadcast Order
Pit Of Peril

Trapped in the Sky is the 1st produced and 1st broadcast episode from the television series Thunderbirds.


As International Rescue becomes operational, the Fireflash , on its maiden voyage from London to Tokyo, is sabotaged by The Hood and is unable to land.


The Hood, the evil half brother of the Tracy's manservant Kyrano, uses his hypnotic powers to contact Kyrano through a psychiatric seizure to discover when International Rescue will be operational. On learning they are ready for action, he travels to London and places a bomb on the Fireflash, a revolutionary new atomic-powered aircraft on its maiden voyage to Tokyo. The bomb is set to detonate from the impact of landing. After being anonymously tipped off (by The Hood) that there is a bomb on board the Fireflash, London Tower contact the Fireflash crew and tell them to turn back. After having an X-Ray shot of the wing, it turns out the bomb is real. After several attempts by London Airport to remove the bomb (by aerobatics and an attempted boarding) they run out of hope.

It turns out that Tin-Tin, Kyrano's daughter, is also onboard Fireflash.

All the while John Tracy aboard Thunderbird 5, has been following their unsuccessful efforts. He contacts Tracy Island and Jeff Tracy sends Scott and Virgil in Thunderbirds 1 and 2 respectively, with Thunderbird 2 carrying Pod 3 and the Remote Control Elevator Cars.

The plan is to land Fireflash on the Remote Control Elevator Cars with the landing gear up, as they will reduce the impact of the landing and prevent the bomb from detonation.

When Thunderbird 1 lands and Scott sets up Mobile Control, The Hood tries to take photographs inside and outside of Thunderbird 1. What he is unaware of is that Scott's Mobile Control Unit, in conjunction with a device on board the craft, sets off an alarm, the Automatic Camera Detector. Scott tells the staff of London Airport, and Airport Security soon set off in a car chase with The Hood.

Meanwhile, Thunderbird 2 lands and Virgil deploys three Elevator Cars. Car 1 is manually driven by himself while Cars 2 and 3 are remote controlled by him. They drive out to Runway 29 and wait. Although there is a problem. While waiting, there is an electronic fault on Car 3, but it soon clears. At this point, Fireflash's Radiation Safety Factor is dangerously low. As Fireflash makes its approach, Car 3 goes out of control and crashes. Fireflash is ordered to overshoot and come in for another approach, while Virgil is ordered to backtrack to the start of the runway and call in the reserve car. Car 4 emerges from the Pod and makes its way over.

Now the Elevator cars are in place, and Fireflash's Radiation Safety Factor has expired. They need to land now, or else the passengers and crew will have received fatal exposure. Fireflash comes in for the final approach.

As Fireflash lowers itself onto the cars, Virgil applies the brakes and Fireflash activates the Reverse Thrust. But as they approach the end of the runway, it looks like they will crash. Virgil applies all the brakes to all cars and tries to swerve the wheels of his Master Elevator Car to slow it. As the wheels begin to explode after heating up due to the friction from breaking, Virgil loses control of Master Elevator Car and loses his position under the nose cone. As it crashes onto the runway, sparks fly and Virgil crashes into the ditch at the side of the runway. Fireflash now slows to a halt at the end of the runway, and firecrews and ambulances rush to the aircraft.

After hearing that the Airport Police lost The Hood on the M1 heading for Birmingham, Scott gets in touch with the International Rescue London Agent, Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward. She pursues The Hood in FAB1, her bright pink Rolls Royce, and using the built-in machine cannon, blows him off the road.

The Hood survives, but his photos are ruined.

Back on Tracy Island, Jeff calls a doctor to check if Kyrano is OK. While talking to Jeff, he sees the newspaper report on the Fireflash incident, and openly congratulates International Rescue. He then says, "The one thing I'd like to do, is shake them by the hand." Then Jeff shakes the doctor's hand, so the doctor unwittingly gets his wish.

To this Jeff, after the departure of the doctor, says, "Well I guess that handshake was for all of us. Boys, I think we're in business."


Regular CastEdit

Guest Voice ActorsEdit


  • This episode has no on-screen title but is referred to in all production documentation by the title of the shooting script - Trapped In The Sky.
  • The arrangement of the music on the main titles and end credit sequences is unique to this episode and sound effects are heard in the episode montage during the opening titles.
  • Air Terrainean's Lieutenant "Bob Meddings" is named after Thunderbirds Art Director Bob Bell and visual effects supervisor Derek Meddings.
  • Fireflash is the only non-International Rescue vehicle to appear in the series' end titles. The airliner is seen again in Operation Crash-Dive, The Impostors, The Man From MI.5, The Duchess Assignment and Security Hazard.
  • Commander Norman makes further appearances in Operation Crash-Dive, Edge Of Impact, Security Hazard and Alias Mr. Hackenbacker.
  • Captain Hanson is seen again in Operation Crash-Dive, The Impostors, The Duchess Assignment and Security Hazard.
  • Trapped In The Sky was adapted for audio on the Century 21 Mini-Album Thunderbird 1 (MA 108, 1966) narrated by Shane Rimmer as Scott Tracy.
  • The Episode later appears in the compilation film Thunderbirds to the Rescue along with "Operation Crash-Dive". During the Fireflash landing scene, music bits from Pit of Peril are used in between music pieces.


  • During the lounge scene, when Alan speaks his short single line of dialogue, "OK father," it is noticeable that his voice is completely different from his voice in the rest of the series. This is because during the first episode he was voiced by Ray Barrett, as Matt Zimmerman had not been hired at the time (regardless of this he still appears in the credits)
  • While The Hood is taking exterior photos of Thunderbird 1, the "T" of Thunderbird is painted on the nose cone, while all other exterior shots show the nose cone is clear of markings.
  • Near the end of the episode, the doctor visits Tracy Island to check up on Kyrano. When the doctor approaches the lounge, the Tracy brothers commence "Operation Coverup", an emergency device which switches the pictures of the brothers on the wall from their uniformed pictures to their civilian pictures. However, during some shots the uniformed pictures can be still seen, despite the presence of the doctor.
  • The iconic scene where Virgil's elevator car swerves off the runway was originally a mistake on the behalf of the production team. However, Derek Meddings liked the effect so much he decided to keep it in the final cut of the episode.

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