This scene is a key plot point in Q Planes. First, this plane is incapacitated in flight. It is targets by a ray beam and loses power. After that, it makes a perfect water landing. Finally, the plane is nabbed to get the supercharger. Watch closely and you’ll see the plane being hoisted into the ship, the SS Viking. The crew is captured as it gets out of the plane. Remember, at this point in the movie, the villains believe the supercharger was on board. Fortunately, due to the message in the cigarette, Major Hammond has the supercharger removed from the plane before its departure.
Similarly, this plot is repeated in differing forms in some James Bond movies. For instance, in You Only Live Twice, a space capsule is captured in space. In The Spy Who Loved Me, it’s a submarine that gets captured. In both of these cases, the goal is to get what’s inside whatever was captured. Also, in Thunderball and Never Say Never Again, a plane or missile is diverted, capturing them for the nuclear payload they carry. Whereas the plane was nabbed to get the supercharger in Q Planes, these James Bond movies, alter the purpose of nabbing the item. As you might expect, we discuss these similar plot points in our podcast called “Q Planes (1939) -aka Clouds Over Europe“.