DS Airship Fortress

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Airship Fortress
Airship Fortress
Appears in Mario Kart DS (2005)
Mario Kart 7 (2011)
Mario Kart Tour (2020)
Cup(s) Star Cup (DS)
Lightning Cup (7)
Based on Super Mario Bros. 3's Airships
Staff Ghost 2:07:748 by Ninten★シュン (DS)
(Bowser in the Hurricane)
2:23.323 by Nin★OBSHNN (7)
(Metal Mario with the Zucchini, Slick tires, and Super Glider)
Expert Staff Ghost 2:07.704 by Ret★Shane (7)
(Metal Mario with the Standard Kart, Standard tires, and Super Glider)
Online play Was never available (DS)
Available (3DS)
Music sample
Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart 7 / Mario Kart Tour

Mario Kart 7 (frontrunning)
Course map
Mario Kart DS
Airship Fortress mapMario Kart DS
Mario Kart 7
<small>DS</small> Airship Fortress bottom screen mapThe Mini Map for DS Airship Fortress
Mario Kart Tour
Map of DS Airship Fortress from Mario Kart Tour.

Airship Fortress is the fourth and final course of the Star Cup in Mario Kart DS. The course takes place both on a floating fortress in disrepair and on an airship. The course is inspired by the environment of boss levels seen in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. Other airships can be seen flying in the background.

The most notable feature in the course is the Pipe Cannon that shoots racers out to the fortress through the air. Furthermore, the track includes obstacles such as Bullet Bills, Rocky Wrenches and more.

Airship Fortress reappears in Mario Kart 7 as the third race of the Lightning Cup, and in Mario Kart Tour starting from the Pirate Tour.

Mario Kart DS[edit]

Course layout[edit]

The course icon

The race starts with a straightaway, where a barrage of Bullet Bills are shot from a Bill Blaster of the airship and cause players to flip over if they touch them. Passing this section of the track, players turn left with a right turn shortly after and get a boost by running over a Dash Panel, entering the deck of the airship.

On the deck of the ship, racers must dodge Rocky Wrenches that pop out from their trenches, hitting racers who drive over them. Proceeding inside the airship, players take a tight left turn and reach the cellar where some crates are spread throughout the room. They may contain a Mushroom or a Banana Peel if broken. The next room features a pair of burners moving sideways that cause players to spin out if they touch the fire.

Players exit the airship by being launched by the airship's Pipe Cannon with a Dash Panel, similar to DK Mountain, aimed at a hole in the fortress tower. Following the corkscrew inside the tower, there's one last turn to finish the race. Just before the last turn, players can knock other racers off the course.


Missions 6-2 and 7-7 take place in this course. In Mission 6-2, the player has to hit 15 Rocky Wrenches as Wario using Stars. The player has 30 seconds to complete it, but once the Star runs out, the player has to get another Star from the Item Box. Stars always appear every time the player breaks one.

In Mission 7-7, the player must collect 12 coins in reverse as Bowser without touching a burner.

Mario Kart 7[edit]

Airship Fortress in Mario Kart 7

Airship Fortress reappears in Mario Kart 7 as the third course of the Lightning Cup.

Immediately following the starting line (which has the grid recolored from black and yellow to red and white while the banner was changed from the one seen in Figure-8 Circuit, Yoshi Falls, Desert Hills, and Wario Stadium to a steel-framed wooden panel displaying the classic orange Mario Kart logo), both drop-offs can be used to perform a trick and gain a small boost. The Bullet Bills have become Banzai Bills, are now shot out from the Banzai Bill Cannon at faster intervals, and are no longer visible on the bottom screen map. Some of the Banzai Bills are larger in scale compared to others. The interior of the airship has some minor changes, most notably the presence of a slight curve within the cellar, while the exterior of it has a Warp Pipe added near the Pipe Cannon (similar to Super Mario Bros. 3's) and the fortress section has additional towers. The burner room now has a ventilated floor exposing the sky underneath the airship, and the Rocky Wrenches now make sounds similar to Monty Moles. Hitting a Banzai Bill has the similar effect as getting struck by a Bob-omb, a Bullet Bill, or a Spiny Shell, causing the player to tumble and roll over sideways.

Launching out of the Pipe Cannon now encompasses a Glide Ramp. Players cannot aim their flight and they are also no longer immune to items while in the Pipe Cannon, and being hit by anything (or intentionally stowing their glider) results in having to be rescued by Lakitu.


  • Dropping onto the rail between the Banzai Bill section and first boost panel in order to take the turn tighter saves a minimal amount of time.
  • Dropping onto the longer rail at the start of the lap is useful during races as, while not necessarily saving time, it allows the player to dodge items and Banzai Bills.
  • A difficult shortcut can be performed by leaning off the curve on the second, smaller rail to gain an upwards angle and using a Mushroom. If the player goes far enough, Lakitu will place them just before the cannon. If done quickly, it saves around ten seconds.[1]

Mario Kart Tour[edit]

The course in Mario Kart Tour

Airship Fortress returns in Mario Kart Tour, debuting in the Pirate Tour. Unlike other courses appearing in Mario Kart 7, especially among the classic courses from Mario Kart DS in that game, it has received many notable aesthetic changes. The location of the course changes from the sky to a lava-filled ocean, as well as the time of day from sunset to sunrise (the latter also applies to N64 Yoshi Valley). Several lit torches were added to the sides of the track before the main airship and on each column of the main tower and hanging lanterns on the main airship's deck. The starting banner is now made of stone that is held up by two small towers, and the Mario Kart logo on the starting banner is the modern logo (colored cyan) as opposed to the classic logo.

The main airship and several others are a more lighter brown in color, with their masts now possessing propellers instead of sails. Hitting a Rocky Wrench now gives points to the player instead of making them spin-out, and players can now trick on top of Rocky Wrenches that poke their heads out of the ground. The tunnel leading to the main airship's cabin has also been given a redesign, with the doors being replaced by multiple portholes, lights, and groups of barrels and crates, while the wall separating the two rooms now resembling the type of wall seen inside a wine cellar. Additionally, the main airship's cabin has been redesigned to resemble a drinking bar, with Shy Guys sitting on stools, bottles on shelves, a dartboard, and several tables.

The main tower is also now part of a larger fortress, with other towers in the background. The course is a favorite of Mario (Swimwear), Daisy (Yukata), Peach (Halloween), Luigi (Lederhosen), Cat Peach, Mario (Aviator), Mario (Samurai), Dry Bowser (Gold), Bowser Jr. (Pirate), Shy Guy (Gold), King Bob-omb (Gold), Chargin' Chuck, and the Silver Mii Racing Suit. It is also a favorite of King Boo (Gold) if he reaches level 3, and Captain Toad and Birdo (Black) if they reach level 6.

As with other courses, Airship Fortress has a reverse variant referred to as Airship Fortress R, a trick variant referred to as Airship Fortress T, and reverse/trick variant referred to as Airship Fortress R/T; the former two first appeared in the Pirate Tour, while the latter was added in the 2021 Trick Tour. In the trick variant, the gliding section that leads to the tower is replaced with a section with many ramps. Airship Fortress is the second course after DS DK Pass to be the signature course of two tours (the Pirate Tour and the Bowser vs. DK Tour).

For this course's tour appearances, see List of DS Airship Fortress tour appearances in Mario Kart Tour.


Mario Kart DS[edit]

  • European website bio: "Bowser should be right at home in these ships in the sky. Race across the decks of these floating wrecks, get blasted from cannons and dodge oncoming missile fire, as you fight to stay in one piece long enough to take the pole position."

Mario Kart Tour[edit]

  • Mario Kart Tour Twitter: "It's time for the Pirate Tour! The DS Airship Fortress course makes its debut in Mario Kart Tour. It's a long way down from this floating fortress, so make sure you stay on course!"[2]


Mario Kart DS[edit]

Mario Kart 7[edit]

Mario Kart Tour[edit]

Course icons[edit]


Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese キラーシップ
Kirā Shippu
Bullet Bill Ship
Chinese (Simplified) 弹头杀手飞船
Dàntóu Shāshǒu Fēichuán
Bullet Bill Airship
Chinese (Traditional) 砲彈刺客飛船
Pàodàn Cìkè Fēichuán
Bullet Bill Airship
Dutch Vliegende Vesting Flying Fortress
French Bateau Volant Flying Ship
German Fliegende Festung Flying Fortress
Italian Fortezza Volante Flying Fortress
Korean 킬러 해적선
Killeo Haejeokseon
Bullet Bill Pirate Ship
Portuguese (NOA) Fortaleza Aérea Aerial Fortress
Portuguese (NOE) Fortaleza Voadora Flying Fortress
Russian Воздушная крепость
Vozdushnaya krepost
Aerial Fortress
Spanish Fortaleza Aérea Aerial Fortress


  1. ^ https://youtube.com/watch?v=h1rnjiASlEA at 4:01
  2. ^ mariokarttourEN (August 12, 2020). Twitter. Retrieved August 12, 2020.