Flying Elephant refers to a phenomenon in which players manipulate objects in Halo 3's multiplayer map Sandtrap. As the name of this phenomenon so subtly implies, the intended effect is to launch Elephants into the air.
The trick is not inherently a glitch, nor does it result from a glitch; however, the result is spectacular and bizarre, as is the case with many glitches of a similar nature. It may be more appropriately classified as a stunt.
It is possible to use a Scorpion or a Drop Pod to lift an Elephant into the air. All a player has to do is enter Edit Mode and force either object inside of an Elephant. By moving the object, they can move the Elephant. They may also splatter players by moving or rotating the object (and therefore the Elephant) at high speeds.
A more spectacular result can be achieved through the use of explosives. A player should start by removing all Fusion Coils and Plasma Batteries from the level. They should then place as many Fusion Coils and Plasma Batteries as they can inside of the Elephant—preferably in the back area, taking care to set the items to Instant Respawn. At this point, the player need only detonate the explosives through any means; Hornet missiles can create a particularly dramatic result. To prevent the elephant from falling when it begins to take off you may want to create constant fire on the explosives (preferably with a Hornet)
First, the Elephant will buck from the initial blast. The explosives will repsawn instantaneously, such that the explosion "re-triggers" itself in an endless cycle of detonations and spawns. This perpetual explosion will carry the Elephant skyward. Once the Elephant clears enough ground to begin orbit, it will not come down unless interfered with. Despite being very high in the air, the Elephant will only travel around the outer ring of the map, as there are Elephant-only invisible barriers that prevent it from going anywhere else.
- "Petar, one of our engineers, found a saved film from one of our testers playing on Sandtrap. He basically placed a RIDICULOUS number of exploding fusion cores on and inside the Elephant vehicle. They had their respawn times set to as close to “instant” as Forge allows, so that every time one exploded, it respawned. Now, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what kind of chain reaction this would cause once a single core was detonated.
- What we didn’t expect was the effect it had on the Elephant physics. Now the huge metal beastie is indestructible, but it has weight and mass in the game universe, so explode it enough and you can move it. Explode it with a never-ending cascade of fusion cores and you have the most dangerous Halo item ever. A vehicle big enough to park a Scorpion a Hog and two Mongooses inside, flipping around at incredible speeds and tumbling all over the map, releasing exploding cores and the occasional vehicle like some kind of satanic piñata."
- — Frankie
A noteworthy alternative method is to set Trip Mines to Instant Respawn. A player then stands on top of the Trip Mine spawn, and repeatedly tosses Trip Mines until they form a massive pile. From there, the player need only drive their explosive-laden Elephant over the mound of mines.
Grav lift method
A player can create an interesting, though less spectacular, result by placing a Grav Lift in the center of the Elephant, near the holographic screen on its bottom floor. The Grav Lift should have its Respawn Time set to 30 or more, and its Place at Start set to No. The player should then start a new round, and before the Grav Lift respawns, place a Drop Pod at its position. When the Grav Lift respawns, it will lift the Drop Pod upward; upon collision with the Elephant's ceiling, the Drop Pod will carry the vehicle skyward.
Alternatively, a player can drive an Elephant away from its starting position, and then place a Drop Pod at the center of that position. The player should then place a Grav Lift on the same spot as the Drop Pod, and then start a new round. The Grav Lift will push the Drop Pod into the bottom of the vehicle, forcing the vehicle upward from underneath. Some variants of this method involve using a hornet to control the flight.
Sometimes, in Matchmaking or large Custom Games, the Elephant will begin to sink into the ground, probably because of lag. When movable objects intersect each other in Halo 3, they are rapidly forced out—sometimes to the point of being blown apart. In the case of the Elephant, when it sinks too much, it will be shot out of the ground and sent flying. Usually it isn't sent too high, but in cases of extreme lag, it can be shot all the way across the map. In most cases, the Elephant will simply do a barrel roll and land upside down. The more people and objects that are on the Elephant, the more likely it is to glitch—again supporting the lag theory. Some believe that this phenomenon may be related to The Bump.