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Equalist biplane

Biplanes were initially manufactured solely for the Equalists.

Biplanes are mid-sized, dual axis, tri-engine, tactical dive bombers capable of high-alpha maneuvers and exceptional speeds. Invented by Hiroshi Sato, the first biplanes were used by Equalists during the Anti-bending Revolution. Following the radical revolutionaries' defeat, Asami Sato repurposed the planes to a more commercial goal and used Future Industries to perfect them.[2] Since then, biplanes have become a more widespread vehicle and are an integral part of the United Forces' Air Force.[3]


Equalist biplane squadron

A squadron of fast-moving Equalist biplanes ambushed and destroyed the unprepared United Forces battleships.

As a fleet of United Forces battleships entered Republic City's harbor, several Equalist biplanes ambushed the fleet, dropping their explosive ordnance on the unsuspecting battleships. During the battle, General Iroh firebent toward a biplane heading for the helm of his ship, but he was subsequently thrown into the harbor by an explosion caused by an accidental hit to one of the biplane's bombs. After the battle, the Equalists emerged victorious, successfully disabling the entire First Division using their new fast-moving vehicles.[1]

In the underground shelter, General Iroh, who had been rescued by Korra, sent a wire to Commander Bumi, warning him not to bring the second wave of reinforcements any closer to the city until the biplanes had been neutralized. Iroh, Bolin, and Asami pinpointed the location of the Equalists' airfield and decided to infiltrate the base.[1]

Iroh hijacking a plane

General Iroh hijacked an Equalist biplane and used it to shoot the other planes down.

Their initial plan of sabotaging the biplanes before their takeoff had been thwarted by them being captured, though after their escape, they set out nonetheless to destroy as many of the planes as they could. Upon reaching the airstrips, General Iroh pursued a biplane that was taxiing for takeoff. Employing his firebending, he shot toward the moving biplane and hijacked it, forcing the Equalist pilot to exit and deploy his parachute. Although Iroh found the biplane difficult to control initially, he eventually managed to tail the rest of the formation and began attacking the other planes, using the Equalist weapons and his own firebending.

After efficiently taking out several enemy aircraft, Iroh's plane was destroyed when another biplane launched a bola at his propeller, causing its blades to stop rotating and the plane to fall from the sky. He used his firebending to propel himself onto the wing of another biplane, where destroyed the engine of the biplane that was ahead of him with a fire blast, before successfully hijacking the plane he was on. However, his biplane was once again attacked and damaged due to a bomb dropped from another aircraft above him.

Before the attacking biplane had the chance to drop any more weapons, Iroh launched a firebending blast up toward the open bomb bay, causing the bombs to detonate and effectively destroy the entire plane. Immediately after, the general was forced to abandon his damaged biplane, as it was headed straight for the statue of Aang on Aang Memorial Island. After Iroh jumped out and grabbed onto the Equalist banner hanging from the statue's staff, the plane crashed into the statue's head, causing the giant mask of Amon to fall off and reveal Aang's face once more.

Meanwhile, at the airfield, Bolin used his earthbending to destroy the individual airstrips, preventing any more biplanes from taking off, while Asami took control of a mecha tank and destroyed the remaining biplanes still in the hangar.[4]

Pilot Asami

Asami Sato remodeled the Equalist biplane to have a more commercial purpose.

Six months after the Anti-bending Revolution, Asami Sato had modified the biplanes for civilian usage and intended to distribute the machines in order to save Future Industries from bankruptcy.[2]

During an attempt to pass through a Northern Water Tribe blockade at the South Pole, Varrick revealed himself to also have a biplane, which he stored in his yacht to use as an escape pod in case the boat sunk. Despite the lack of a ramp, Asami was able to take off with the help of Korra and Mako's firebending, which provided extra propulsion. Catching up with the ship taking Tonraq and other Southern Water Tribe rebels to the North Pole, Asami crashed the biplane as a distraction, enabling herself, Korra, and Mako to board the ship undetected.[5]

After repeated sabotage of Future Industries shipments, all of the biplanes constructed by the company were stored at a warehouse by the docks. However, the entire fleet was stolen on Varrick's instruction and stored on his battleship, the Zhu Li, where they later came in the possession of Asami once more.[6] Asami used one of these planes to pilot Bolin and Mako close enough to the Northern encampment at the Southern spirit portal to enable them to attack the Northern soldiers stationed there. However, the plane was eventually brought down by Desna and Eska, who used their waterbending to sever the plane's tail.[7]

Rebel biplane

Earth Kingdom bandits used a biplane to patrol the sky and steal goods from other aerial transports.

In the time after the Anti-bending Revolution, the United Forces also acquired a fleet of biplanes, which they deployed to defend Republic City against the Dark Avatar's attack during the Harmonic Convergence of 171 AG. However, the planes were easily destroyed by Unalaq.[3]

In 174 AG, during the anarchy in the Earth Kingdom, at least one biplane was acquired by a bandit group, who used it to steal the food supplies carried by Lefty intended for the independent state of Yi despite Kai and Opal's efforts to stop them.[8]

Some months later, Kuvira stole a Metal Clan biplane in Zaofu in order to quickly travel to Gaoling.[9]

Later at some point, Korra and Asami flew over the Earth Kingdom with a biplane. When Asami was trying to fix the engine, a swam of puffball spirits attempted to steal the machine from them, moving closer to a cliff. However, Jinora was able to connect with the spirits and send them away, allowing the couple to retrieve the biplane with no damages.[10]


Engine characteristics[]

Equalist biplane disabled

A single fire blast to an Equalist biplane's engine block rendered it useless.

Biplanes have one six cylinder vee engine in a central 'tractor' position and two, inline six cylinder piston engines in a 'pusher' configuration mounted under the edge of each upper wing. Each engine has a three-blade propeller. The placement of the two pusher engines on the upper wing, rather than being suspended between the two wings, allows the Equalist biplane to be an excellent dive bomber.

Wing characteristics[]

The Equalist biplanes have an unequal span, forward staggered wing configuration. The lower wing has an inverted gull wing design, and both wings are strut braced in a two-bay configuration. The wings have a high aspect ratio, allowing exceptional high-alpha maneuvers. The twin rear stabilizers do not serve as a control surface and are fixed in position; the ailerons are the only directional control surface. Varrick's biplane in particular had folding wings, which aided in storage in his yacht.

Armament characteristics[]

Biplane bombs

A biplane is capable of carrying up to four bombs or torpedoes.

The biplanes are equipped with various weapons for combat. Located on the underside of the aircraft is a bomb bay that houses small yet powerful high explosives. The biplanes carries four torpedoes underneath their two lower wings which, once in the water, continue on a straight trajectory under their own power and detonate on impact with another object. As a means of self-defense against any airborne threat, the biplanes have a compartment located beneath the cockpit which is capable of shooting bolas at anything behind them. Once fired, the bolas become entangled in the propellers of the enemy biplane, causing it to tip stall. Unlike other bolas used by mecha tanks and some Equalist chi-blockers, these bolas do not electrocute their targets. However, they are stronger than typical bolas, as shown by their ability to wrap themselves around the propellers of a plane without being shredded.[4]


Direct hit

An Equalist biplane was destroyed by the direct hit of a firebending cannon.

Due to their relatively large target zones, strut-supported build, flammable components, and lack of defensive armor, the biplanes can easily be destroyed or disabled by a single hit; firebending, lightning, and earth are strong enough to destroy the engine block or wings. Iceberg spikes can be used if the plane is flying low enough. Their lack of a movable rudder renders it impossible for them to make coordinated turns, making it a very difficult plane to fly and control. At the same time, as mentioned above, they have no air-to-air combat weapons. The biplanes must therefore either bomb an opposing aircraft from above or put themselves in a vulnerable position to fire their rear facing, defensive bolas. Engine malfunction caused by a jammed propeller can cause a biplane to disintegrate completely. While effective and successful in taking out General Iroh's fleet, the Equalists lost several planes to these weaknesses even with the element of surprise on their side.[1]


  • The biplanes overwhelming General Iroh's fleet parallels how early 20th century proliferation of attack aircraft and submarines rendered large battleships obsolete during and after World War Two.
  • The biplane is based on various planes used during World Wars I and II.
    • The aircraft's fuselage design has similarities to the Airco DH.4, a British airplane designed for bombing during World War I, and is also quite similar to the British Fairey Swordfish.
      • Just as the Equalist biplanes were quick to disable General Iroh's fleet, the Fairey Swordfish, one of the last ever biplanes used in any military, played a decisive role in sinking the German battleship Bismarck.
    • These aircraft, however, unlike their real-world World War I counterparts, are not equipped with air-to-air weapons leaving it difficult for them to attack other aircraft.
    • While it is a biplane, the lower gull wing design creates performance similarities to the Junkers JU 87 Stuka, a purpose built, dive-bombing aircraft that was employed by Nazi Germany, or the Aichi D3A Val, another dive-bombing aircraft used by the Empire of Japan, during World War II. This style is also seen on the Vought F4U Corsair, developed by the United States for its Pacific Fleet at the same time, though at a much bigger extreme.
    • The aircraft's tail configuration is similar to that of the Vickers Vimy, a biplane bomber of World War I.
    • Its overall configuration—a biplane with three engines, one facing forward, two facing backward—is highly reminiscent of the Aviatik 30.23, another World War I biplane. The biggest difference was that the Aviatik's outer pair of engines were mounted between its wings instead of on the wingtips.
  • The manner in which General Iroh, Bolin, and Asami destroyed the biplane squadron is very similar to how Sokka, Toph, and Suki destroyed the Fire Nation airship fleet seventy years earlier during the arrival of Sozin's Comet.
  • The attack on General Iroh's fleet resembles Imperial Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that caused significant damage to much of the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed at the harbor.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Skeletons in the Closet". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (September 13, 2013). "Rebel Spirit". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  3. 3.0 3.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (November 22, 2013). "Light in the Dark". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 14. Nickelodeon.
  4. 4.0 4.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Endgame". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  5. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (September 27, 2013). "Civil Wars, Part 2". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  6. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (October 11, 2013). "The Sting". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  7. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (November 15, 2013). "Harmonic Convergence". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  8. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 3, 2014). "After All These Years". The Legend of Korra. Book Four: Balance. Episode 1. Nick.com.
  9. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Wong, Michelle (artist), Ng, Killian (colorist). Ruins of the Empire Part Three (February 25, 2020), Dark Horse Comics.
  10. Rhodes, K.; Xu, Jen (writer, artist, letterer). "A Change in the Wind" (November 30, 2022), Dark Horse Comics.