"A standard Capsule Corporation aircraft that uses anti-gravity technology to ascend, descend, and turn."
Airplanes are essentially a far quicker way to travel great distances, and can move a much greater distance then their ground counterparts. Airplanes in the Dragon Ball series are commonly seen, most notably being Capsule Corporation models.
Though most of the airplanes in the Dragon Ball universe are fictional in design, some are based on real-world designs. Emperor Pilaf and his gang often use large airplanes for transportation. Organizations such as the Red Ribbon Army and Earth's Military use fighter planes and jets for combat. The jet fighter Colonel Silver flies is based on the experimental Horten Ho 229 built in Nazi Germany during WWII, while General Blue flew a one-seat jetplane. Although not seen on-screen, Blue implies that he stole a plane sometime after he got knocked all the way to Egypt by Arale earlier in his trek back to the Red Ribbon Army HQ when debriefing an irate Commander Red. Senbei Norimaki's plane resembles a Korean War-era North American F-86 Sabre. The propeller-driven fighter Colonel Violet uses to escape from the Peck Peck Tribe, though toylike in appearance, bears a slight resemblance to the Bell P-39 Airacobra.
The plane Chi-Chi uses seems to be a hybrid of the Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina and the Heinkel He-162 "Salamander". The jet fighters used by Earth's Military are a hybrid of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. A Boeing 747 "Jumbo Jet" can be seen flying over the Other World. Among Bulma's Bingo prizes in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, there is a plane that looks exactly like Fokker Dr.I triplane flown during World War I by German ace Manfred von Richthofen, also known as the Red Baron. A toy/model of the Capsule 576 VTOL plane flown by Krillin, Yamcha, and Bulma in Dragon Ball Z can be seen on a shelf in Dragon Ball GT when Chi-Chi slaps Baby Goten.
Video Game Appearances
A capsule airplane can be used to travel on the map in the video game Dragon Ball 3: Gokuden. Airplanes are on the Muscle Tower battle stage in the Budokai Tenkaichi series. The plane Goku uses to go to Jingle Village in the Red Ribbon Army Saga also appears in Dragon Ball: Origins 2.
In Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, it is called a Plane and is one of the many vehicles used by Earthlings often appearing flying around cities or found parked on the ground in various locations usually an indication their are people nearby. There is also a Z-Encyclopedia entry for Planes in the Vehicles section. According to the entry, a standard Capsule Corporation plane uses anti-gravity technology to ascend, descend, and turn.
"Bulma's Plane. It is made by Capsule Corporation and makes use of anti-gravity devices and jet engines to propel itself. Given its large size, it is perfect for transporting large groups or moving entire families."
— Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot Bulma's Plane Z Encyclopedia entry
Additionally, Bulma's Plane (aka Plane Capsule #576) is used by the Z Fighters during various cutscenes such as after Vegeta's defeat and during certain points of the Cell and Majin Buu Sagas. Her plane even has its own Z Encyclopedia entry.
Additionally, the Frieza Force employs unmanned patrol planes as Drones that support Combatants and Saibamen in battle. The drones look like floating cameras that resemble the design of Frieza's Hover Pod though with a colored dome and camera lens. They apparently utilize the same anti-gravity tech to fly as Frieza's Hover Pod and Spaceship. Some Combatants can summon Drones as well. There are three types of Drone though they are all relatively weak enemies.
- Frieza Force Unmanned Drones
- Attack Drone: A small, unmanned patrol plane. Though weak on its own, it can prove powerful in large numbers. Its eye lens can fire weak energy blasts or fire a concentrated beam of energy though the beam takes awhile to charge. They have a pinkish red dome and a single green lens.
- Assist Drone: A small, unmanned patrol plane. It has the ability to boost base power levels. Using this ability it can temporarily power up its allies making them momentarily stronger than they would be normally. They have a blue dome and a single blue lens.
- Recovery Drone: A small, unmanned patrol plane. It's a go-to device for health recovery. These drones act as field based medical units and provide immediate medical attention to troops on the battlefield as Medical Machines are normally found in bases and flagships like Frieza's Spaceship. When healing, they produce a field of energy that heals nearby allies making defeating them a priority. They have a green dome and a single greenish yellow lens.
In addition to the Frieza Force's drones, there are old Red Ribbon Army drones called Bit which function similar to those utilized by the Frieza Force. RR Mech Commanders & Generals can also summon these drones for support.
- RR Bit Drones
- RR Attack Bit - A small, unmanned red plane that resembles a miniature cross between a Battle Jacket and Dr. Gero's Remote tracking device though it lacks legs and has arm cannons. It is built for for offense and can be deadly in large numbers.
- RR Assist Bit - A small, unmanned military green patrol plane that resembles other RR Bit variants. It has the ability to temporarily boost power levels of RR Mech Soldiers and their variants.
- RR Recovery Bit - A small, unmanned yellow patrol plane that resembles other RR Bit variants. It is ideal for longer battles, as it has the ability to heal/repair RR Mech Soldiers and their variants.
- The Frieza Force's use of unmanned patrol planes in Kakarot resembles the use of drones by modern armies in the 21st Century though with a sci-fi twist to fit the army's alien technology.
- Interestingly, it is suggested by the Researcher in Future Trunks' era that the Red Ribbon Army utilized drone technology as the RR drones that appear are said to be old state-of-the-art experimental army tech and as a result the drone's parts considered quite valuable to scientific researchers. This would fit with the army's other advanced technology such as Androids and Battle Jackets.