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The Tornado

The Tornado (トルネード Torunēdo?) is a red vintage-style biplane in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. It made its first appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and has since featured in many other Sonic games. The original plane is owned by Sonic himself, but he freely allows Tails to borrow it.

The Tornado is often depicted as a single seater and is usually piloted by Tails, while Sonic or another character would stand on its wings. The Tornado is also known for appearing towards the end of a game where it usually arrives just in time to save a character from falling to his or her death. It has since become a staple icon of the series. This plane allows Sonic and Tails to travel long distances or high altitudes Tails and Sonic would not be able to safely reach normally.

Game appearances[]

Sonic the Hedgehog 2[]

The Tornado was first introduced to the series in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, under the ownership of Sonic. In the game's Japanese storyline, Sonic flies in it as he was trying to find new adventures after defeating Doctor Robotnik in previous installment. He then discovers island known as Westside Island and decided to land the plane there and relax. There, he also meets Tails for the first time.

In the game, Tornado is featured prominently in the Sky Chase Zone. Consisting of only one act with no boss to fight, Sky Chase put the player in control of Sonic (or Tails) as he walked on the wings of the tornado, piloted by Tails (or Sonic if playing as Tails). The Tornado was shot down by lasers while pursuing Dr. Robotnik and his flying battleship, Wing Fortress. It later reappeared, repaired and fitted with a jet engine which enabled it to reach Robotnik's spaceship on his way to the Death Egg. When Robotnik's space station was finally destroyed, Tails flew the plane to Sonic's rescue as he plunged from the sky (or the other way around).

Sonic the Hedgehog CD[]

Directly following Sonic the Hedgehog 2, the plane made only a small appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog CD, where Tails is seen piloting it in the background ofD.A. Garden. The Tornado is featured with other characters such as Robotnik in his escape pod, floating Metal Sonic, flying Flickies and Special Stage UFOs.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles[]

Tornado was featured in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and add-on continuation Sonic & Knuckles. In the beginning, Sonic and Tails are seen landing on the Angel Island, when they heard about Death Egg being crashed to the island. While Tails lands with Tornado, Sonic on his Super form gets punched by Knuckles the Echidna, who met them for the first time. At the end of Sonic & Knuckles, if the player hasn't collected all of the Chaos Emeralds, Tails is seen catching Sonic from the sky with Tornado without getting the Master Emerald, which falls down to the ocean. While getting all of the Emeralds, it is shown to have what is best described as a mechanical arm which catches the Master Emerald, as the Tornado also rescues either one of the three characters (depending on which one was chosen). Sonic and Tails then head to the Angel Island and leave the Master Emerald on the island (where Knuckles later finds it), before continuing their journey to new distances.

In the ending of the Knuckles' story, Sonic with the Tornado is seen saving Knuckles from the destruction of Sky Sanctuary Zone after his duel with Super Mecha Sonic. If the player got all Chaos Emeralds with Knuckles, it is shown that Knuckles lands to the Tornado while also holding the Master Emerald, while getting all Super Emeralds, Knuckles in his Hyper form is seen holding the Master Emerald on the Tornado's wing. After this, Sonic brings Knuckles and the Master Emerald to the Angel Island and leaves the island, which starts flying up or down, depending the if all emeralds are collected or not.

Sonic Triple Trouble[]

The Tornado then appeared on three Special Stages in Sonic the Hedgehog Triple Trouble, where Sonic or Tails has to pilot the biplane and collect certain amount of Rings in the sky in order to face Fang the Sniper and then collect one of six Chaos Emeralds. Sonic and Tails are also seen riding on Tornado to the sunset in the game's end credits.

Knuckles' Chaotix[]

The Tornado had made a brief cameo appearance in Knuckles' Chaotix. It appears only in the good ending and is shown in the background of the credit roll with Sonic on its wings and Tails as the pilot, hovering behind the Chaotix Crew.

Sonic the Fighters[]

The Tornado then made a very brief appearance in arcade game Sonic the Fighters, where it appeared in the opening clip as Sonic and Tails arrange the tournament to win eight Chaos Emeralds in order to reach to the Death Egg II with the Lunar Fox shuttle.

Sonic Adventure[]

In Sonic Adventure, the Tornado got a slight update along with the characters. It has some yellow stripes and the jet engine is now built into the plane itself. It was used to chase down the Egg Carrier in another Sky Chase stage. This Sky Chase was very different from the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 one, as it involved shooting down robotic planes with the Tornado's machine gun and homing missiles instead of controlling Sonic to jump on them. After the stage was completed, the Egg Carrier fired a giant laser which blew off the Tornado's right wings, making it spin out of control and crash. It was apparently repaired as it was seen in the post-credits screen after Tails' story.

Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure[]

The plane appeared again in Sonic the Hedgehog Pocket Adventure, where it shares its appearance from Sonic Adventure. Sonic lands on to the Tornado's wing after Knuckles punches him to the air while the cavern starts crumbling down. Tornado is in the game featured at another Sky Chase Zone, which much like the other zones played just like the one in Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Tails also saves Sonic about falling again with Tornado in the game's normal ending, while in the extra ending Sonic lands on to the Tornado after defeating Eggman's last machine at Chaotic Space Zone. While landing to the biplane's wing, Chaos Emeralds starts rotating around the blue hedgehog and then they vanish after this.

Sonic Advance[]

The Tornado's next appearance is in Sonic Advance. Sonic (Tails if playing as Sonic) would fly it catching the player after finishing a Special Stage and after finishing the game with the normal ending without getting all Chaos Emeralds. After finishing The Moon Zone, Tails is also seen piloting the Tornado later as he is searching Sonic and discovers Super Sonic flying back into the Earth's atmosphere.

Sonic Rivals[]

In Sonic Rivals, although it is not known whether it was the Tornado or another variant of it, Tails used the Tornado to escort himself, Sonic and Knuckles to Meteor Base Zone to chase Dr. Eggman who fled there (who is actually Dr. Eggman Nega in disguise).

Sonic Rush Adventure[]

In the opening cutscene of Sonic Rush Adventure, Tails and Sonic appear flying during a thunderstorm while searching for an anomaly. The Tornado appears to have been modified to fit two passengers, as Sonic sits behind Tails. The Tornado crashes after being hit by lightning and losing engine power, where it is then sucked into a cyclone and transported to Blaze's world. What happened to the Tornado afterwards is unknown, though it was presumably lost at sea following the storm.

Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood[]

In Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Sonic and his party use the Tornado to get around the world during the first four chapters of the game. It is also seen at the opening cutscene after the heroes defeated Eggman and escaped from the destroyed Egg Carrier.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4[]

The Tornado made a return appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode II, set sometime after Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Sonic & Knuckles storyline. It also takes place before Sonic Adventure, as it has its original look from earlier games with few slight changes. In the game's opening, Sonic and Tails are seen landing to Sylvania Castle Zone Act 1. Sonic and Tails later used it to chase down Eggman with his slightly damaged Egg Mobile at the beginning of Sky Fortress Zone Act 1 and boss act against Metal Sonic in the Metal Carrier. After the boss battle, Sonic and Tails again lands to the damaged Sky Fortress and start chasing after Eggman and Metal Sonic to the Death Egg Mk.II.

Sonic and Tails are also seen flying on Tornado at the end of Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode Metal, which makes Metal Sonic chase after them with Tails' rocket. The second player is able to control Tails in the Tornado during Sky Fortress Zone Act 1 and the boss act with against Metal Sonic in the Metal Carrier. During both of these acts, Tails may start boosting with Tornado while Sonic is hanging on the wing.

Sonic Lost World[]

In Sonic Lost World, the Tornado returned with a slight redesign, appearing closer to its original incarnation while having sleeker edges. At the beginning of the game, Sonic and Tails used the Tornado to chase down Dr. Eggman in the sky, who had a capsule full of imprisoned animals attached to the Egg Mobile. After Eggman dropped the capsule and had Sonic and Tails chase after it, he shot the Tornado's wing, causing Sonic and Tails to make a bumpy landing on the Lost Hex. It was then repaired by Tails.

The Tornado also appears in a level in Hidden World, where the player controls it and pilots it around obstacles and Badniks, while collecting time bonuses and speed boosts.

Sonic Runners[]

In Sonic Runners, the Tornado makes an appearance as a S Rare Fly Type Buddy called the RC Tornado. It is one of the smaller RC vehicle that is available on the Premium Roulette. When the player gets hurt, the RC Tornado restores up to 1200 Rings and 1250 for the Fly Type character.

Nintendo World[]

The Tornado appeared in Nintendo World.

Variant Planes[]

Unnamed plane[]

An unnamed blue and red floatplane with a pusher configuration appears in Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball. In the opening cutscene, Sonic is shown riding on the wing as usual when the plane is shot down, depositing him into the waters outside Toxic Caves. Later, in the game's ending, Tails saves Sonic as he falls from the sky, while Dr. Robotnik falls to the remains of the destroyed Veg-O-Fortress.

In Sonic Spinball (8-bit), the plane has another different design. Instead of a floatplane, it is a regular monoplane with a tractor configuration, it is predominantly silver and has the letter "S" emblazoned on the vertical stabilizer. In the opening, Sonic hangs from the plane's bottom rope as he infiltrates the fortress.

Prototype model[]

A prototype model of the Tornado 2 appeared early on in both Sonic's and Tails' stories in Sonic Adventure. The model looks nearly identical to the Tornado, but with a gray color scheme. Prior the events of the game, the prototype model was the latest aircraft built by Tails. After discovering a Chaos Emerald, Tails decided to use it as the power source for the prototype's propulsion system during a test run. However, the Chaos Emerald proved to not be fully compatible with the prototype model. As such, Tails lost control of the prototype model and crashed in Emerald Coast. Tails later finished the prototype after discovering another Chaos Emerald in Sand Hill, and he nicknamed the plane the "Tornado 2".

During the first playthrough of Sonic's version of Emerald Coast, the crash site of the prototype model serves as the Goal. In subsequent playthroughs and Trial mode, however, the prototype model is replaced with a Capsule.

Tornado 2[]

Main article: Tornado 2

During Sonic Adventure the Tornado gets shot down by the laser cannon of Dr. Eggman's Egg Carrier. After this accident, Tails headed back to his workshop and finishes the construction of his new blue-tinted experimental biplane, the Tornado 2. Unlike the original Tornado, it required a Chaos Emerald to function. Tornado 2 has been also capable of folding its wings into an X-shape to reach extreme speeds.

Tornado 2 has been frequently used and has made later appearances in Sonic HeroesSonic Advance 3Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic Riders.


Main article: Cyclone

In Sonic Adventure 2, Tails built another Tornado plane similar to the Tornado 2 called the Cyclone. Unlike the previous Tornadoes, it is a monoplane, and carries a large missile launcher behind the single seat. Most notably, the Cyclone can also transform into a walker mode and a car mode. In the game's storyline, it is seen at its normal plane mode as well. The walker was Tails' main mode of transportation and offense in the game.


Main article: Tornado-1

In Sonic Unleashed, Tails offers Sonic the use of his Tornado-1, although this is not to be confused with the original Tornado. It is a newly-built Tornado plane with a more futuristic design. This plane has writing that reads "Tornado 03" near the rear, which can be seen when it transforms during both of the Tornado Defense Acts of the Xbox 360/PS3 version. The Tornado-1 also combines features of previous Tornado incarnations: the red paint job and outward construction of the original Tornado, the ability to transform into an X-shape like the Tornado 2, and the homing missiles found on the Cyclone. Tornado-1 has later made appearances in Sonic Generations and Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Tornado Racer[]

Main article: Tornado Racer

In Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, Tails built a land-based version of the Tornado called Tornado Racer, that is capable of making fast turns with its short wing span. It was built with parts found after an attempted invasion by Dr. Eggman. It has a special move called the Tails Tornado capable of removing other vehicles and items on the path in front of him by summoning a miniature cyclone.

The Tornado Racer's engine output most likely was limited on purpose by Tails as if it were faster it would fly like a normal plane. The Tornado Racer has enough speed to hover over the ground, so its power was limited just enough, also if it gets launched off of a hill, it has a very slow descent suggesting its capabilities of flight. Also during Tails' Tornado, the Tornado Racer flies in the air along with the tornado that the move creates.

Apperances in other media[]

Sonic the Comic[]

The Tornado also appears in Sonic the Comic, and again plays the same role from the games. It was originally kept in a hangar in Sonic's Secret Underground Base, and used by Sonic and Tails to reach distant areas like the Wing Fortress ZoneOil Ocean ZoneHill Top Zone and the Floating Island. When the base was discovered by Doctor Robotnik, the Freedom Fighters took the Tornado with them when they started going in disguise as Bob Beaky's Travelling Circus. They often towed the plane behind the caravan, hidden under a tarpaulin. The Tornado was eventually destroyed, along with the caravan, when Super Sonic went berserk and attacked his own teammates, leading Sonic to (temporarily) believe that he had killed his friends.

Following Robotnik's defeat, Tails acquired a new, apparently identical bi-plane, which he and Sonic used to travel to Flickies' Island.

Archie Comics[]

The Tornado has appeared in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series, in which it plays the same role as in the games. There was one bi-plane that was used early in the Archie series similar to the Tornado, called the "Winged Victory", but it was later stolen by Warlord Kodos and Uma Arachnis. Its location is currently unknown, but it is presumed destroyed.

Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie[]

In Sonic the Hedgehog: The MovieSonic and Tails used Tornado as their biplane as traveling around the Planet Freedom. On their home, they have large airfield for the Tornado. They used it to enter the Land of Darkness, where it crashes after getting through entering a hole in dark thunder clouds. Tails and Knuckles later somehow get it back to home, where it is repaired and used to go to the frozen icecaps where Sonic and Hyper Metal Sonic are fighting. After arriving, the Tornado is destroyed by a rabbit-shaped missile fired by Dr. Robotnik. It can be noted, that Tails uses his own pilot helmet in the movie while piloting the Tornado.

Sonic X[]

Main article: Tornado 2 (Sonic X)

In the anime series Sonic X, the Tornado originally belonged to Sonic. It was eventually discovered by Tails after meeting Sonic for the first time, and began refitting and repainting it. When Sonic saw Tails' doing, he told him that he liked the new colors for Tornado and made friends with the timid fox. Tails would afterwards continue to upgrade it into its Tornado 2 motif.

Sonic Boom[]

Main article: Tornado (Sonic Boom)

In the Sonic Boom series, the Tornado is a plane-like vehicle created by a long-lost civilization known as the Ancients. In this media though, it bears a stronger resemblance to the Tornado 2.

After being abandoned for over a millennia, the Tornado was found by Team Sonic who used it during their adventure to stop Lyric the Last Ancient. However, the Tornado was seemingly lost when it sank into a frozen lake during a battle with Dr. Eggman's Burnbot.


  • The original Tornado is Sonic's plane. It is unknown who built it, although all subsequent Tornado machines are created and owned by Tails.
  • When the Tornado appears at the end of Wing Fortress Zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, it has a large jet engine attached to the underside, but this engine is gone in the game's ending. The engine is back at the beginning of Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and it reappears consistently in Sonic & Knuckles and Knuckles' Chaotix. However, it is not seen in Sonic 4: Episode II.
  • Inside the game's coding can be found unused in-game sprites of Tails piloting Tornado along with unused Super Sonic sprites from Knuckles' Chaotix. This can be imply that, Sonic and Tails could be involved somehow in the game's plot.
  • In real life, there have been several aircraft with the name "Tornado": a variable wing fighter/bomber/electronic warfare aircraft series called the Panavia Tornado, a 1940's fighter prototype called the Hawker Tornado, and an early jet bomber called the B-45 Tornado.
  • The original Tornado's design does not seem to come from a specific aircraft; however, following its redesign from Sonic Adventure onwards, the Tornado 2 bears a striking resemblance to the Polikarpov I-153, a 1930s Soviet biplane fighter.
  • At the end of Sonic & Knuckles, the Tornado is shown with "Sonic" written in reverse due to it facing the opposite way it usually is. This is because the sprite is simply flipped horizontally, instead of entirely new sprite being created.
  • "Wing walking" is an actual stunt that is historically associated with biplanes.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), and Sonic Colors are the only 3D main series games in which the Tornado does not make an appearance. Sonic the Hedgehog (1991)Sonic ChaosSonic 3D BlastSonic Advance 2, and Sonic Rush are the only 2D series games where it does not appear either.
  • In the Archie Comics, the blue Tornado 2 appears in the Sonic Rush Adventure comic adaption, while the game version features the original red Tornado.