A helicopter was an aircraft lifted and propelled by rotating overhead blades, with a smaller set of blades on its tail for stabilization, which could move in any direction — including backwards — and could also hover in place when necessary.
When Marty McFly returned from 1955 to 1985 in the DeLorean time machine, a Bell 206 helicopter with an illuminated spotlight affixed to its front underside was flying over Hill Valley's Courthouse Square.
When Marty saw the burnt-out remains of Hill Valley High School in 1985A, a Bell 206 with a spotlight flew overhead. Bearing in mind that the ruined building was surrounded by a chain-link fence topped with barbwire and bearing a NO TRESPASSING sign from the Hill Valley Police Department, which the rich and powerful Biff Tannen owned in this ABC timeline, this was probably a police helicopter patrolling the area to make sure any would-be trespassers stayed well away.
It was predicted at the Future Furnishings exhibit at the Hill Valley Science Exposition in 1931 that helicopters would be used to replenish the bowl of wax fruit hanging from the ceiling, which was similar to the Garden Center fruit dispenser in 2015.
Behind the scenes
- As a recurring gag, an aircraft flies overhead every time Marty returns to 1985 from another year during the Back to the Future trilogy. While a helicopter features in both Part I and Part III of the trilogy (although it's only heard rather than seen in the latter), in Part II it's an airliner that nearly collides with the flying DeLorean as Marty, Dr. Emmett Brown, Jennifer Parker and Einstein return from 2015 to what turns out to be a nightmarish alternate reality.
- The scene where Marty comes across the burnt-out remains of Hill Valley High School was cut from the finished version of Back to the Future Part II for timing reasons, but was reinstated by Craig Shaw Gardner for the novelization — albeit without the helicopter.
- When it came time to film the scene where the helicopter flies over Courthouse Square, the Bell 206 hired for this sequence not only arrived forty-five minutes late, but also its spotlight wasn't working. When this problem was discovered, it took three hours to repair the spotlight.
- Back to the Future
- Back to the Future Part II (Deleted scene)
- Back to the Future Part III (Off-screen)
- Back to the Future: The Game