Character mistake: In the opening scene is a paragraph describing why the Top Gun school was started. The word "insure" is used when the word should have been "ensure". They wanted to guarantee the U.S. had superior pilots, not take out an insurance policy.
Factual error: Before "classes" begin, the pilots are told that they would be flying against planes that are faster than their F-14's. The F-14's top airspeed is over 500 mph faster than the F-5's, and more than DOUBLE that of the A-4.
Continuity mistake: In a scene soon after Cruise's partner dies, when he's flying with his new partner, you can see his call sign on his helmet, but when they get on the ground and he's talking to Cruise, all the letters on his helmet are removed.
Continuity mistake: The Navy allowed only two live missile shots (one AIM-9 Sidewinder and AIM-7 Sparrow) for the filming of the movie. Maybe that is why we see so many missiles fired from an empty rack.
Revealing mistake: In every in-flight cockpit scene a brass hand wheel is visible on the right side of the headbox of the seat. The only time this hand-wheel is installed on the seat is to disconnect the seat from the aircraft and to disarm the seat. Therefore, the plane and actors in those scenes were on the ground with a moving camera because there is no way that an F-14 would be allowed to fly with "dry" seats.
Continuity mistake: When we are first introduced to Maverick and Goose, their Tomcat crosses the screen, right to left, in close-up, slowly. It's nose is marked 203. Then we see the other Tomcat flying with them, and it is number 114, and its crew is Cougar and Merlin. But all the shots after this place Maverick and Goose in 114. (00:04:35)