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Is the Sky Cruise plane real or fake? Nuclear-powered hotel goes viral

Bruno Cooke June 28, 2022
sky cruise plane hotel real or fake

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A video titled “Nuclear-Powered Sky Hotel”, introducing Sky Cruise, a plane/hotel “suspended above the clouds”, has gone viral since Hashem Al-Ghaili published it on YouTube on 23 June 2022 – is it real or fake?

The video has “divided the internet”, writes The Independent. Meanwhile, Cruisehive says it “shows the possibilities that cruising could have in the coming decades”.

Regardless of whether it’s real (yet) or fake, the Sky Cruise plane has captured the imagination of millions of viewers on Facebook and YouTube in the last few days.

But the question of its fictitiousness is important. Is the Sky Cruise plane real or fake, and how have people reacted to it?

Is the Sky Cruise plane real or fake?

This particular iteration of Sky Cruise is the brainchild of animator and artist Hashem Al-Ghaili.

Using paintings by artist Tony Holmsten, Al-Ghaili produced the Nuclear-Powered Sky Hotel video as an experiment of speculative imagination.

He’s a science communicator and video producer from Yemen, but currently based in Berlin. He’s 31 years old and has over 15 million followers on his Facebook page, Science Nature Page

His other popular videos include guides on how to strengthen your immune system, an explainer on how stomach cancer works and how to treat it, and updates on covid-19.

Source: YouTube [Tedx Talks]

His Sky Cruise plane video, originally shared five days ago, represents what Hashem Al-Ghaili says “could be the future of transport”.

In lieu of tickets, you can buy a concept 3D model of the Sky Cruise plane by Tony Holmsten

Hashem Al-Ghaili used paintings by artist Tony Holmsten as the basis for his video. See a photo of Holmsten’s studio below.

While you can’t buy tickets to ride the real Fly Cruise plane, you can buy a high quality polygonal digital model of it. Holmsten’s ideas have been rendered in three dimensions, and can be purchased royalty-free for $104.30 via CGTrader. That’s how Al-Ghaili made his video.

Among the first to report on the Fly Cruise plane video was Cruisehive. The outlet wrote that it would be “hard to imagine The Wright brothers would have ever believed their invention would have led to the creation of a 5000-passenger airliner powered by nuclear fusion that would hardly ever have to land”.

The video “sells the concept well”, Cruisehive continues. But it hasn’t convinced everybody.

Source: Tony Holmsten

The ‘Flytanic’ hasn’t fooled everybody

“If physics and aerodynamics didn’t exist,” reads the current top comment on YouTube, “then this vessel might actually be able to take off.”

One user suggests “the exotic element Unobtanium” might be the key to its success.

Someone else found it “hilarious”. 

“It’s like someone got in a time machine, traveled to 2070, found a retrofuturism video based on our era (as opposed to the 1950s or 1800s) depicting what people from our era thought our future would look like.”

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Retrofuturism is a creative arts movement that blends old-fashioned “retro” styles with futuristic technology and explores tensions between past and future. Steampunk is a classic example. 

What is the closest thing we have to a real Sky Cruise plane you actually can get tickets for?

The conceptual Sky Cruise plane can carry 5,000 passengers and boasts 20 electric engines powered by a nuclear reactor; it never lands; and it has a shopping mall, gyms, theatres, pools and medical services.

Of course, it doesn’t actually have any of those things, because the Sky Cruise nuclear-powered hotel plane behemoth isn’t real.

Photo by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

The closest thing we have in real life may be Crystal Skye, a comparably meek “flying cruise ship” for the ultra-wealthy. It’s a 777-200LR Worldliner wide-body jet kitted out with a bar and lounge

At $50,000 per hour, Crystal Skye may provide a useful reference point for estimating the hypothetical ticket price for a journey on the fictional Sky Cruise plane. 

“I was searching for a 3D model that features a futuristic design of an airplane,” video creator Hashem Al-Ghaili told Cruisehive, “and came across this 3D model by Alexander Tujicov. It’s based on an earlier design created several years ago by Tony Holmsten. I bought the 3D model and decided to animate it. I wrote the script and edited the video to showcase what it could look like in real life.”

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.