|Specifics: Fictional appearances|
- Silverbolt - Concorde SST (Super Sonic Transport) - is the responsible one, the leader, and scared of heights. He keeps the others out of trouble.
- Skydive - General Dynamics F-16C Fighting Falcon - is the strategist, the modest and bookish one who doesn't realize he's the best flier the Autobots have.
- Fireflight - McDonnel Douglas F-4B Phantom II - is the space case who's a hazard to everything else in the air.
- Air Raid - Boeing F-15C Eagle - is a gung-ho, wreckless, fearless, and fun-loving warrior.
- Slingshot - McDonnel Douglas AV-8B Harrier II - is a loud-mouthed, bragging jerk with VTOL capabillities. He gets the others into trouble.
- French-Canadian name: Aérobot
- Japanese name: Airbot
- Polish name: Aerobot
In order to fight the Autobots more effectively on the ground, the Decepticons built a combiner team that could convert into cars. However, in order to give these Stunticons life, Megatron had to take them to Vector Sigma, a megacomputer deep within Cybertron. Vector Sigma could only be activated with a Circuit Key, which was in the hands of the ancient Autobot Alpha Trion. Megatron stole the Key and succeeded in giving life to the new team. A group of Autobots had been following Megatron, and, to counter the Stunticons, they rebuilt some old, abandoned shuttles into the Aerialbots. However, without the Key, they couldn't activate Vector Sigma. Alpha Trion then revealed that, as one of the first Transformers created, he had the ability to interface his power supply with the megacomputer. Against Optimus Prime's protests, he merged with Vector Sigma, activating it, and his lifeless body fell to the ground. Prime asked Vector Sigma to "Let them [the Aerialbots] think for themselves, to grow in knowledge and wisdom, and let them always value freedom and life wherever they find it." After the Aerialbots were programmed, Alpha Trion's voice came from the megacomputer; his mind had merged with Vector Sigma.
Once on Earth, the Aerialbots fought a brief battle with the Stunticons that ended when Megatron sent a message to his car warriors to return to base. Thinking that the Stunticons had retreated, the Aerialbots' egos soared; all, that is, except Silverbolt. During the fight, he had discovered his fear of heights; he guessed that it came from the fact that he was built from a low-altitude cargo shuttle. Prime helped him deal with the phobia by naming him Aerialbot Leader, thus giving him duties that would keep his mind off of his fear. However, he found his position a hard one to fill. The other Aerialbots, especially Slingshot, saw themselves as better than anyone else. They couldn't understand why the Autobots wasted their time protecting the foolish and inferior humans, and they eventually left the Autobots. Silverbolt, who didn't agree, merely promised Prime he would bring them back, then left with them. After a while, Silverbolt finally convinced them that they owed the Autobots their lives, and they decided to stay with the Autobot army.
Meanwhile, Megatron had discovered that the Key could "de-energize" Earthen matter, turning it to metal. Hoping to create a new Cybertron, he began sweeping through forests near the Seattle-Tacoma area, turning everything from trees to mountains into metal. The Autobots tried to stop him, but the Stunticons were unstoppable...that is, until the Aerialbots arrived. The two teams formed their gestalt modes, and, as the battle entered the outskirts of a city, Omega Supreme (G1) arrived and turned the tide. Megatron retreated, but he still had the Key. Silverbolt, braving his phobia, chased him down and destroyed it.
A few weeks later, strange energy readings were detected on Cybertron. A team of Autobots and the Aerialbots left to investigate. The Aerialbots, enamored with Cybertron, were on a patrol when they were attacked by three Decepticon jets. Curious, Slingshot surrendered and began to ask the Decepticons questions, like why Prime thought they were evil. All the other Aerialbots except Silverbolt did the same, and Silverbolt followed at a distance. Starscream, feigning friendship, led the naive team into the Kronosphere, a time machine that had been generating the unusual energy readings. As Silverbolt arrived, trying to convince his teammates that they were in a trap, Megatron activated the Kronosphere, intending to send them back to before the beginning of time. Outside of the timestream, they would be trapped in eternal nothingness. However, the other Autobots arrived and destroyed the machine before it could finish its work. The Aerialbots had been sent only nine million years into the past, during the Golden Age of Cybertron before the Great Wars had broken out.
In the past, the Aerialbots met a young Transformer named Orion Pax, who was working at an energy shipment facility. As they got to know each other, Orion soon told them about his admiration of a "new kind" of Transformer that had the ability to fly in robot mode. He was understandably awestruck when the leader of those robots, Megatron, arrived at his workplace under the guise of friendship. After Orion gave him a brief tour, Megatron ordered his disguised troops to attack the facility and take the energon. During the assault, Orion, his girlfriend Ariel, and his friend Dion were severely injured. The Aerialbots arrived at the scene just as Megatron was leaving. They took Orion to the young Alpha Trion, who was devising ways to fight the Decepticons. He rebuilt Orion into the first of a new breed that would be capable of standing against Megatron. He also gave him a new name: Optimus Prime. Alpha then rebuilt Ariel into Elita One, but it is unknown whether Dion was given similar treatment.
Prime inflicted severe damage on the Decepticon forces, but Megatron was still powerful. His raiders were starting to loot a fuel transfer center that would supply him with enough energon to win the war just as it was beginning. The Aerialbots realized this, and they set up explosives to destroy the energon. However, while they were inside, the Decepticons surrounded the facility, preventing their escape. Now fully aware of Megatron's evil, they set off the charges despite the danger to themselves. Just as the energon detonated, they found themselves being transported back to the present. When they arrived, they saw that the Autobots had repaired the Kronosphere but were fighting the Decepticons and a reanimated Guardian Robot. The Aerialbots combined into Superion and destroyed the Guardian, and Megatron retreated. As the Decepticons flew away, Slingshot swore, "You'll never get away from us, Megatron! We won't stop fighting till you're finished!"
Since that time, the Aerialbots have been invaluable to the Earth-bound (and largely flightless) Autobots. When Megatron obtained the ultra-powerful Lightning Bug from the ruins of an ancient Autobot colony, it was Superion who eventually destroyed the weapon (after having defeated Menasor). Later, Slingshot and Skydive went undercover at a Middle Eastern airbase to investigate a rash of jet thefts. Late one night, men in laundry trucks began disassembling them and several other jets, carting their components to a car repair shop. There, the parts were jury-rigged into bizarre-looking cars and driven across the border to Megatron's secret base. The planes were then reassembled and used by the Decepticons as a remote-controlled drone armada. With the help of Hassan, a young human who was also investigating the smugglers, Slingshot and Skydive were rebuilt without being detected. The other Aerialbots soon arrived and began battling the drones, the Combaticons, and Megatron's sphinx-like airborne fortress. As Superion, they beat the Combaticons' gestalt mode Bruticus and destroyed the fortress by blowing up an oil well. After the Decepticons retreated, the Autobots discovered that Ali, the head of the smuggling operation, had become the ruler of his country by allying himself with Megatron and overthrowing a certain Prince Jamal. Megatron was going to use Ali's drone jets to take over the Middle Eastern oil fields, thus supplying himself with enough energy to conquer the world...and giving Ali a fair share of domination, of course. It was also revealed that the Aerialbots' friend Hassan was actually the deposed Prince Jamal in disguise.
For many years, the Aerialbots remained a valuable asset to the Autobot cause. When Rodimus Prime and several other Autobots were trapped on Quintessa, the Aerialbots arrived in a rescue craft and saved them, just as the planet self-destructed. However, the force of the explosion destroyed their ship, and they hurtled helplessly through space until colliding with Goo#8739-B. There, they fought a giant trash-collecting machine and (later) Decepticon warriors before escaping with the help of the Junkion Wreck-Gar.
Some time later, the Aerialbots were dispatched as part of a reinforcement team to help a group of Autobots who had discovered a Quintesson base on a large asteroid near Cybertron. The Aerialbots arrived and drove the Quints away, finding Perceptor heavily damaged and half-conscious. Before blacking out, Perceptor told them that the team had discovered a Quint time machine. Under attack with virtually no hope of escape, the other team members had jumped through the "time window" just moments before their would-be rescuers arrived. Now, the reinforcement team (led by Rodimus Prime) could do nothing but keep the time machine activated and hope that their comrades would come back through. The Autobots also made another discovery at the Quint base: The Quints had used the time machine to extract from the distant past an Autobot named A-3. As Rodimus and A-3 began to converse, the Quintessons returned in force, and a battle ensued. During the battle, chronal energies emanating from the time machine were playing havoc with the nature of space-time. Events were occurring that defied normal linear time, such as endlessly repeating loops and sudden reversals of the timestream. Superion was holding A-3, protecting him from the Quint attacks, when suddenly the ancient robot became Alpha Trion. He told Superion, "You must live, that I may be born," then reverted back to A-3. Then things really got bizarre when a second Superion appeared out of nowhere and began attacking the Quints. The two gestalts proved to be too much for the Quints, who retreated. After they left, the second Superion vanished. Later, the Quints sent the Autobots a holographic message explaining that the time distortions were the result of the activated time machine, and that it had to be destroyed before the space-time continuum was completely unraveled. A-3 volunteered to go back through the window and find the missing Autobots, which he did. Upon their return to 2006, the window was destroyed, and everything appeared to return to normal. The time-traveling Autobots had participated in the first rebellion against the Quintessons 11 million years ago, and that battle was won when A-3 returned through the window and used a secret weapon.
Later, the Aerialbots returned to the Middle East, this time to fight in the African desert nation of Carbombya. The conniving Decepticon Octane had convinced Abdul Fakkadi, the ruler of the country, to allow the heavily-damaged Trypticon to recuperate there, using the super-rich Carbombyan oil as a fuel source. Octane sought to use the power of the oil and the strength of Trypticon to overthrow Galvatron and become leader of the Decepticons. Meanwhile, in order to justify the giant Decepticon's oil consumption, Octane ordered Trypticon to steal famous monuments (including Fort Knox and all of its gold) and place them in Carbombya. The money gleaned from these tourist attractions would make up for the loss of natural resources. But the Autobots soon deduced Trypticon's location, and the Aerialbots were sent to attack. However, their timing was terrible--Galvatron and the main Decepticon army had just arrived in the country to investigate the situation, and the Aerialbots found themselves badly outclassed. They retreated, and Galvatron took over Carbombya, imprisoning Fakkadi. Later, the Aerialbots returned with reinforcements (including the behemoth Metroplex). They won that battle, driving the Decepticons out of the nation and freeing Fakkadi. Ecstatically grateful for the Autobots' help, Fakkadi swore never to associate with the Decepticons again. On a side note, it is unknown whether there is any connection between Prince Jamal in 1985 and Carbombya in 2006.
The Aerialbots later traveled to an Earth-like world inhabited by humanoids who could produce the Harmony, a manipulation of sound that could be used as either a miraculous healing power or an incredibly destructive force. Naturally, Galvatron sought to possess the Harmony, and the Aerialbots were among the Autobots who tried to stop him.
Some time after that incident, the Aerialbots met up once again with Trypticon. Trypticon blasted Air Raid with his powerful fire-breath, but, while the Decepticon dinosaur was recharging, Silverbolt was able to fly into his mouth and inflict heavy damage that disabled him for a brief period of time.
Their next assignment was to investigate the Junkions, who had inexplicably attacked the Autobot Sky Lynx. When they arrived at the junk planet, they found a Quintesson ship in orbit, so they merged into Superion and attacked. Superion inflicted damage on the ship, but he was also heavily injured. Unbeknownst to the Aerialbots, the Quintessons had been using subliminal messages to induce xenophobic hatred in the television-obsessed Junkions. However, Superion's attack had damaged the Quints' transmitter, and the subliminal message turned from "All other life forms are your enemies" to "To care is to share; to share is to care." The brainwashed Junkions blindly obliged, using their own omnidirectional broadcaster to share the original message of hatred with the rest of the galaxy. Every race with any sort of TV technology was affected, and massive interstellar war broke out.
The Autobots soon stopped the messages and thereby ended the wars, but the Aerialbots' next major appearance heralded another galactic conflict. They were part of an Autobot team sent to a human laboratory where the late Optimus Prime's body was supposedly stored. The body was there, but it was a trap set by a vengeful scientist to infect the Transformers with the Hate Plague, highly contagious spores that cause maniacal hatred and violence. The Aerialbots were among the first to be infected, and in their subsequent rampage they gravely injured several Autobots (including Bumblebee) and passed the disease to many more. The damaged Autobots were later repaired, and Bumblebee was completely rebuilt into a new form, Goldbug. With their help, the reanimated Optimus Prime was able to cure the Plague by emptying the Matrix.
The Aerialbots were later seen fighting the Decepticons, a battle during which the entire team was taken out by the Decepticon Sixshot. Despite being robbed of their power packs while unconscious, one of the Aerialbots was seen jumping with Bumblebee, indicating they survived.
Scramble City OVA (Japan-only)
Marvel Comics continuity
The Aerialbots were created to bolster the Earth-bound Autobots' depleted forces, counter the Decepticons' aerial superiority, and utilize the combiner technology that Bumblebee had stolen from the Decepticons. Their first mission came suddenly when a crisis arose at Hoover Dam. An employee armed with a super-powerful handgun had taken over the control room and ordered that the dam be shut down. Optimus Prime suspected Megatron's involvement, but the only Autobots who could reach the dam fast enough were the newly-constructed Aerialbots. Although Wheeljack had completed their bodies, Silverbolt was the only one whose personality had been fully programmed. Feeling he had no choice, Prime sent them anyway.
Arriving at the dam, they found that it had, indeed, been shut down, and where water used to fall there now hovered a space bridge. Sitting on the bridge was a giant drilling machine that was slowly boring through the dam. From the machine, a huge pipe led back to Cybertron. The Decepticons' plan was apparent: The water that would normally flow over the dam would be piped to Cybertron, where technologically advanced turbines would generate huge amounts of power. (Cybertron is devoid of water.) As the Aerialbots began to assault the drill, they were intercepted by Dirge, Ramjet, and Thrust, who had just arrived from Cybertron. During the fight, Silverbolt briefly succumbed to his fear of heights, but he recovered by putting his team's safety before his own. The battle was soon joined by the Insecticons (also new arrivals from Cybertron), but the Aerialbots still managed to win the fight. The drill, however, was impervious to individual attacks, so the Aerialbots combined into Superion and began to destroy it. Suddenly, the human who had started the whole mess (under Bombshell's mind control) appeared atop the dam and pointed Megatron's gun mode at the Autobot gestalt. As Megatron hurled threats, Superion reached over to crush him. The human, Ricky Vasquez, began to think of his daughter, and Bombshell's control weakened. At the same time, Superion was having a mental crisis of his own: Silverbolt, the only fully-programmed Aerialbot, was the only one who had any respect for human life, and he tried desperately to override the other Aerialbots and stop the gestalt from crushing Ricky. Realizing that he couldn't succeed, he forced his team to disassemble. Meanwhile, Ricky managed to fight the Decepticon mind control just enough to shoot the drill instead of the Aerialbots. The Decepticons left in defeat, and the Aerialbots returned to the Ark.
However, the tiny Bombshell was able to sneak into the Ark with the Aerialbots, and he secretly injected a mind-controlling cerebro-shell into Optimus Prime. But the shell malfunctioned, and the Insecticon could only read Prime's thoughts, not control them. Megatron still used this to his advantage, for when Prime used the Creation Matrix to give life to more robots, Megatron could secretly access its power and do the same. This occurred when Prime reprogrammed the Aerialbots. Because of their poor performance at Hoover Dam, Optimus had had the team's minds completely wiped and re-created. (It is unknown whether Silverbolt still had a fear of heights after being reprogrammed.) During the process of re-creation, Matrix power was channeled from the cerebro-shell to Soundwave, then to Megatron (via an artificial communications hook-up), and from him into the lifeless Stunticons. This five-member Decepticon team could transform into Earthen cars, and thus humans would easily confuse them with the Autobots.
The Stunticons began to wreak havoc on a highway, and their attack was not a random one; they were targeting the Autobot Skids, who (along with the human Donny Finkleberg) was searching for a group of Cybertronian Autobots that had been accidentally transported to Earth. As the Stunticons neared Skids, Donny ran off to safety. At that moment, a RAAT team led by Circuit Breaker attacked the Decepticons but was somewhat ineffectual. The Stunticons surrounded Skids, who saw the helplessness of his situation and didn't fight back. Then the Aerialbots appeared and began firing at the Stunticons, who pretended to be protecting Skids. Circuit Breaker saw the destructive Stunticons appear to protect the supposed "good guy" Skids, and this further cemented her belief that all robots are evil. After the two Transformer teams merged into their gestalt modes, Circuit Breaker slipped into the fight and blasted Superion with all the energy her suit could provide. This stunned the giant Autobot long enough for the Stunticon gestalt, Menasor, to deal a debilitating blow with his cyclone gun. Skids and Donny used the opportunity to escape and continue their mission. It's unclear exactly what happened after this point-- apparently, the RAAT forces were strong enough to drive Menasor off (or perhaps he simply lost interest). At any rate, the deactivated Superion was taken to RAAT headquarters and dissassembled for study. Several other captured Autobots (incidentally, the same ones Skids and Donny had been looking for) were in similar states of dissection when RAAT again moved into the offensive, this time against the two Decepticon Battlechargers. In the heat of the battle, Circuit Breaker unintentionally endangered the lives of civilians (and lost the fight anyway). Because of her poor judgment, she was forbidden to participate in any more assaults on the Battlechargers. Itching for revenge on the two Decepticons, she found that her only possible allies were the disassembled Autobots in her lab. It would have taken too long to properly repair their bodies and reconnect their brains, but she knew she could jury-rig them together into a form that she could control. However, she would not be able to completely subdue them, so she struck a deal: If they would obey her commands, then she would let them go after she had had her revenge on the Battlechargers. And that is just what happened. Unfortunately for her, releasing the Autobots got her fired from RAAT.
Immediately after Ratchet finished repairing the damage inflicted by Circuit Breaker's studies and jury-rigging, the Aerialbots were sent on a new mission: Bumblebee had spotted Bombshell at the grand unveiling of Power Station Alpha, an advanced, mobile nuclear power facility. Sent to assist Bumblebee, the Aerialbots arrived to find their ally in pieces. The anti-terrorist team G.I. Joe had been guarding the station, and, mistaking Bumblebee for a threat, they had destroyed him. The Aerialbots combined into Superion and briefly battled the humans. The fight was cut short by a radio message from Blaster, who informed Superion that Optimus Prime was dead, and that all Autobots were to return to the Ark. The Aerialbots did just that, leaving Bumblebee's wreckage (and some confused G.I. Joes) behind.
Later, the Decepticons stole Power Station Alpha and began to use it in a plan that would, if enacted, ultimately destroy the Earth. After clearing up some misunderstandings, an alliance was formed between the Autobots, G.I. Joe, and (recognizing the mutual threat) the terrorist organization called Cobra. While a team of humans sneak-attacked the station, the Aerialbots participated in a diversionary strike on the Decepticons' island base. As human jets battled the Decepticons' air armada, Superion fought an aerial battle with Devastator, the Constructicon combiner. Just as Superion defeated his foe, Alpha was destroyed. The beaten Decepticons retreated, and the Autobot-Joe-Cobra alliance dispersed.
After this point, the Aerialbots faded out of the spotlight. Their next notable appearance was during Buster Witwicky's Decepticon captivity. Wanting the awesome power of the mysterious, spaceborne Underbase for himself, Starscream used Buster as bait to lure the Autobots into a massive battle with the Decepticons. He would use the confusion to sneak off and find the Underbase before anyone else could. Three Aerialbots (Air Raid, Fireflight, and Skydive) were the Advance Security Patrol that found Buster freezing in the Arctic. After the other Autobots arrived, the battle ensued. However, the combatants soon deduced Starscream's plan, and they forged a shaky alliance to stop him. When they found him, they were able to stop him from absorbing all but a small fraction of the Underbase's power... but that was enough to make him virtually invincible. In a show of force, he sought to destroy three major Earth cities. The Aerialbots were easily eliminated while defending New York City.
Although Starscream was eventually destroyed, the severe microchip damage he inflicted on his victims kept them in deactivation for a very long time. Although the technology to repair them did exist, the Autobots didn't have it on the Ark. The Aerialbots and many others were not revived until Grimlock found a miracle fuel called Nucleon, and they awoke just in time to fight the demi-god Unicron. After Unicron's destruction, the Decepticons left Cybertron to conquer other worlds. Under Grimlock's impulsive orders, Aerialbot leader Silverbolt piloted the main pursuit ship that flew right into a Decepticon ambush (nearly destroying the entire Autobot army).
But the Autobots prevailed, and the Decepticons exiled themselves (supposedly) forever. For a time, peace was known. But a situation developed on Earth: Megatron, who knew nothing of the Decepticon exile, was making his presence known through an alliance with Cobra. He had been on board the Ark when it had crashed in northern Canada shortly after Unicron's defeat. He had repaired and hidden the Ark, then had made a deal with Cobra: He would give them access to the Ark's technology if they would build him a new body (to his specifications, including a "rail gun," a human invention which he considered superior to his fusion cannon). When G.I. Joe discovered that he had returned, they contacted the Autobots on Cybertron, and a team was sent to Earth to stop him. The team consisted of Hot Spot (G1), Brawn, Chase, Override, Steeljaw, and the Aerialbot Skydive. Megatron quickly destroyed Steeljaw, Chase, and Brawn, and the Autobots realized that they had to come up with some new tactics. Override distracted Megatron while Skydive and Hot Spot snuck aboard the Ark. At some point, Hot Spot left the Ark to stop Cobra, who had a truckload of Cybertronian technology. After destroying Override, Megatron launched the Ark into orbit, aware of neither Skydive nor a second stowaway, the human Spike Witwicky. Spike found the body of his Headmaster partner, Fortress Maximus, and merged with it. He and Skydive attacked Megatron, and Max was severely injured. With his last ounce of strength, Max plunged himself into the Ark's antimatter conversion chamber, setting off a chain reaction that quickly destroyed the ship. Skydive escaped with Megatron's human captive, the brilliant Dr. Biggles-Jones, and delivered her to G.I. Joe. Upon arrival, he found that Hot Spot had succeeding in destroying Cobra's Cybertronian technology, but he had destroyed himself to prevent his own tech from falling into Cobra's hands. As the only Autobot on Earth, Skydive briefly functioned as a liaison between his own army and the humans. When the main Decepticon army returned and began decimating the Earth, Skydive contacted Optimus Prime and asked for reinforcements. When other Autobots arrived and established a presence on the planet, Skydive was reunited with his fellow Aerialbots.
Soon the vicious Swarm arrived on the Earth and began devouring all Transformers. The Aerialbot Slingshot was destroyed just moments before Megatron arrived with a substance that would make metal virtually indestructible.
Dreamwave comics continuity
The Aerialbots, as Superion, played chicken with a nuclear missile. And lost.