It's a bird! It's a plane! Nope, it's a remote-controlled Superman! A few people looking up at the Southern California sky this year may have seen a life-sized Superman flying around in the daytime.

Designer and engineer Otto Dieffenbach and his business partner Ed Hanley run a small start-up company that makes remote-controlled planes that can look like your favourite comic book characters, mainly for commercial promotion.

"My interest went up exponentially as I discovered the new materials and new technologies that were available that weren't available back in the 60s and 70s," Dieffenbach said. "And as I got into it I was invited to be one of the fliers for the golfers at Torrey Pines and I had actually designed those golfers and coming out of that I realize that there was a business here to enhance brands for particular corporations making flying figures."

After experimenting with different materials Dieffenbach and Hanley settled on a very light styrofoam.

Their creations are not limited to just Superman and his cohorts. According to their website,, "If you can imagine it; we can make it fly."

"We envision just about any character you can think of flying and adding a dimension that's never been used before," said Hanley. "There are banners and there's planes that fly pulling a big banner but to actually see a character, a life-size character fly in the stadium or at an event, down the beach, wherever is just brand-new. No one's ever seen that, it just blows everybody's mind."

So while the duo may fly one of their creations over your next company event, Dieffenbach said they're not interested in selling their superheroes at the retail level.

"Well they aren't really available for sale because they are so custom-built and there are a lot of man hours that go into construction," said Dieffenbach. "But the cost of the actual materials to build them is well under $500."

The company's roster of aerial images includes the aforementioned Man of Steel, Iron Man and Ms. Emerson, a flying lady adorned with wings, and can reach speeds of up to 30 mph.

Presented by Adam Justice