For the World of Warcraft mount, see  [Flying Machine].

A gnomish gyrocopter in Hearthstone.

Flying machines are mainly products of gnomish, dwarven, and goblin ingenuity. Flying machines are by definition mechanical devices capable of flight, but the term is mostly used for the heavier-than-air flying machines of the Alliance, which employ wing surfaces and movement to produce lift, either using a fixed wing, or a spinning rotor. The goblins are also able to build similar machines although they usually focus on lighter-than-air designs.

The backbone of the Alliance air force is comprised predominantly of gnomish flying machines due to their maneuverability and speed.[1]

During the Fourth War, a new type of flying machines called the aerial unit created by the mechagnomes, was discovered on Mechagon Island.


First War

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

The first flying machines built by the gnomes were the whirligig and the sky-engine. As the First War started, lord Anduin Lothar did regret his army didn't had flying units to scout out the Black Morass swamp.[2]

Second War

WC2BnE-logo.png This section concerns content related to Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness or its expansion Beyond the Dark Portal.
Main article: Gnomish Flying Machine (Warcraft II)

The gnomes of Khaz Modan had long offset their lack of physical strength with ingenuity and daring. As members of the Alliance, they had continued to display their talents by inventing and piloting the unbelievable flying machine. Although having no armaments, these awkward contraptions could be used to survey vast areas of terrain, and detecting the otherwise hidden movements of underwater units, making them invaluable for discovering the movements of the Horde.[3]

Third War

WC3RoC-logo.png This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.
Main articles: Gyrocopter (Warcraft III), Flying Machine (Warcraft III)

The ingenious dwarven engineers, taking a nod from their inventive gnomish cousins, created and constructed their own gyrocopters.[4] During the events of The Frozen Throne, dwarves replaced their gyrocopters with upgraded flying machines.

World of Warcraft

WoW Icon update.png This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.
Main articles: Bomber, Gyrocopter

An engineer's Flying Machine, often called a gyrocopter.

In the aftermath of the Third War, the dwarves continued to develop their flying machines, giving some of them a grappling hook and a variety of weapons. While the gnomes have emerged from their isolation and are now living amongst the dwarves as neighbors, the dwarves continue to use their homegrown design extensively. The gnomes themselves developed bomber aircrafts with fixed wings.

In patch 2.3.0, engineer-only flying machines were released. They come in both epic and non-epic versions. They have the tiltable wing turbine/propeller rotors of the gyrocopters, and a retractable lift rotor for higher altitudes which invokes gnomish designs. They are respectively called the  [Flying Machine] and the  [Turbo-Charged Flying Machine]. Playful adventurers can also create Paper Flying Machines.

Nowadays the flying machines introduced in The Burning Crusade which were previously engineer-only are now being used extensively by both NPCs and mobs, and they are often also identified as gyrocopters, while sometimes the bomber model is also used for plain flying machines.

Gnomes are particularly smitten with flying machines. They are also partly responsible for the creation of the Alliance gunships, although the influence of dwarven aesthetics is quite evident.

As the story progressed, flying machines were used more and more in a modern way, with the creation of aerial military units such as the Ironforge 127th Paratroopers and the Gnomish Elite Aerial Rangers.

Dwarven craft still exist, endlessly launching from the Hall of Arms. One could be seen flying at the end of Signal for Pickup. They are also the guards of Toshley's Station.

Flight paths

In addition, several flight masters provide some kind of aircraft instead of the usual gryphon or wyvern:



Fizzcrank Airstrip.

Examples of airfields or flying machine launching pads can be found at the Ironforge Hall of Arms, Ironforge Airfield, Gnomeregan Launch Bay, Toxic Airfield, Fizzcrank Airstrip, Strongarm Airstrip, the Venture Co. Copter Pad, and Bael Modan.

Carriers are a type of ship that has an airfield on them.



In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

A dwarven improvement on helicopters built by their gnomish cousins, and their own dwarven gyrocopters, the flying machine is a heavily armed, flying gun platform. Thick armor protects the daredevil pilots who pilot the flying machines, but the armor also slows the vehicle considerably.[5]

Perhaps the most unusual — or insane — warrior in the entire Alliance is the dwarven flying machine pilot. This captain of the skies performs everything from reconnaissance to bombing missions, fearing nothing (except perhaps a passing dragon). Elegantly clad in studded leather, the flying machine pilot strides confidently as he enters his craft. Young and alert, ignoring those who deride technology with a slight sneer, his positive manner might inspire those who don't realize just how crazy he is. The flying machine pilot performs reconnaissance missions, and uses the weapons of his vehicle to attack aerial targets or perform strafing runs (the latter being a particularly tricky business). His vehicle also serves quite handily as a distraction, especially to those members of the Horde who are not used to the sight of such craft.[6] An experimented flying machine pilot can also be called an Ace.

Lighter-than-air flying machines

Main articles: Zeppelin, Hot air balloon

A lighter-than-air goblin zeppelin.

The goblins also created their own flying contraptions, although they opted to use lighter-than-air designs, with their machines employing bags filled with gas to make them buoyant in the air.

The goblin zeppelin consists of a gondola of varying size suspended beneath one or more bags of lightweight gas that serve to keep the craft aloft. In keeping with the goblin fixation upon profit, these large craft tend to be packed with cargo or paying passengers.

The goblins also worked on creating the Horde gunships, employing a similar technology as the zeppelins.

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Finally, there are gnomish airships which are "fabulous flying machines".[citation needed]  Scout balloons have also been employed by the Alliance to explore Kalimdor, although when this occurred and who can be credited for their construction is unknown.[citation needed] 

Notes and trivia

In Warcraft Adventures.

  • Dwarven flying machines rotors don't rotate upwards in World of Warcraft when they are stationary or taking of vertically so this means that they are not properly animated. In comparison dwarven flying machine rotors in Warcraft III rotate upwards when stationary.
  • In Wrath of the Lich King, flying machines were to be included as siege weapons in Wintergrasp. They were identified as single-seat fighter planes and based on the dwarven flying machines. Tandem seating bombers were also planned, but both of these vehicles didn't make it out of beta stage.
  • In the canceled Warcraft Adventures, Gazlowe confirmed that the gnomes pedaled their flyers, as could be seen on the artwork for said flyers.