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Flying Lawnmower refers to a test flight video of Sky Cutter, a remote-controlled model airplane built to resemble a green lawnmower. The video is often remixed with a variety of audio tracks playing in the background, while GIF variations of the footage are commonly combined with inspirational quotes.
The lawnmower shown in the footage is a Sky Cutter flying lawnmower, a novelty remote-controlled airplane designed and produced by custom model airplane shop FlyingThingz. It is unknown when the product was first put up for sale, but threads discussing the product can be found on the RC Universe forums as early as March 28th, 2002.
On November 15th, 2003, a link to a video of a flying Sky Cutter lawnmower was posted on the tech news website Slashdot, which has since been removed. On October 28th, 2004, a video was uploaded to Metacafe of a green Sky Cutter lawnmower flying in the air and performing aerial stunts accompanied by the song “Cotton-Eyed Joe” by the 1990s’ Swedish techno group Rednex (shown below).
On December 7th, 2004, the “Cotton-Eyed Joe” remix was shared on CollegeHumor  On February 21st, 2005, the same video was submitted to the internet humor site Break. On October 25th, YTMND user Xero created a site titled “Lawnmower Dreams”, featuring an animated GIF of the flying lawnmower set to “Walking in the Air” by Nightwish. On February 28th, 2006, YouTuber Mike Helton uploaded the “Cotton-Eyed Joe” remix (shown above), which gained over 500,000 views and over 2,000 comments within the next seven years. On March 31st, 2008, YouTuber Baronduko uploaded a remix version of the video, featuring R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” (shown below). The R&B remix was highlighted on the tech news blog Geekologie on April 3rd as well as on the Inquisitr on March 11th, 2009.
On October 15th, 2010, YouTuber WatchMeSlapYourShit uploaded YTMND user Xero’s “Walking in the Air” remix (shown below, left) to the site, which was later mentioned on the viral-content site Buzzfeed on November 16th . On November 21st, the “Cotton-Eyed Joe” remix was mentioned in a “Viral Video Rewind” segment on the cable television news station CNN (shown below, right).
On February 1st, 2012, Tumblr user user Roomnumber203 made a post containing a GIF animation of the lawnmower with the quote “You’ll never know, unless you try” (shown below) which managed to gather over 100,000 notes as of January 20th, 2013. On February 2nd, 2011, the single topic blog Lawnmowerinspiration was launched, which combined footage of the lawnmower video with inspirational quotes submitted by visitors.
2012 Rustle Jimmies Resurgence
On April 19th, 2012, Body Building Forums member SkinnyBrahJD submitted a post titled “What is the connection between rustled jimmies meme and flying lawnmower?”, to which member Swizzard responded by posting an animated GIF of the flying lawnmower, the Gorilla Munch mascot and the caption “There is no need / to be upset” (shown below).
On August 11th, 2012, YouTuber Simen Martinussen uploaded a video titled “There is no need to be upset,” which featured the green flying lawnmower flight test video accompanied by a superimposed image of the Gorilla Munch mascot and the Hungarian classical music track “Miserere” by Géza Pécsi, József Gregor & Liszt Ferenc Kamarazenekar (shown below). Within six months, the video accumulated over 124,000 views and 1,000 comments.