Top Gun

Corrected entry: During the opening scene, some of the aircraft shown taxiing and being launched from the carrier constantly switch between being an F-14 Tomcat and an A-7 Corsair.

Correction: A-7s were in service with the Navy at the time. The opening scene was showing an overview of carrier operations in a montage.

David George

Corrected entry: At the end Maverick throws Goose's dogtags off the ship. American soldiers wear two dog tags. When killed, one tag goes to administration for paperwork purposes and the other is given to the family (if any). Goose's personal effects should have had only one tag and been mailed home to his wife, NOT given to Maverick. It is not military policy to let a deceased soldier's friends pick through his stuff after he dies, as we see Maverick do.

Grumpy Scot

Correction: It is common for service members to have multiple sets of dog tags so Maverick could certainly have a set of Goose's dog tags.

Corrected entry: When he introduces Charlie to the class, Jester's cover has an EGA (Eagle, Globe and Anchor) on it, making him a Marine. Later, when Maverick is called into Viper's office, both he and Viper refer to Jester as "Commander Heatherly." Commander is a Navy rank - a Marine in the same pay grade would be a Lieutenant Colonel.


Correction: The insignia is not an EGA (Marine insignia); it is a proper Naval insignia. In addition, he is wearing the proper beige Naval garrison cover; a USMC cover is OD green.

Corrected entry: Viper tells Maverick that he flew with his father, some 20 years previously. He then became the first Top Gun trophy winner in 1969, and yet, after all this time he only holds the rank of Commander?

Correction: The movie was shot in 1985 and released in 1986. At that time, normal promotion to Captain would have been at the 20-21-year point of an officer's career. If Viper had a commission date of 1964 or 65, as an ensign fresh out of flight school he could very well have flown with Maverick's father 20 years previously, still be an O-5, and still be well on-track for promotion to O-6.

Corrected entry: Goose is killed by hitting the canopy of the F14 during ejection. The way he hit the canopy should not be possible in real life. The first action of the seat, upon being fired by the crew member, is to secure the crew member to it securely. It does this by explosive charges which generate gas to operate two mechanisms which 1) pull the body back into the seat (you can see the straps that do this in the scene from the film) and 2) pull the legs back to contact with the seat. At this point it is assumed that the hands/arms are being used to operate either the seat pan handle or the face blind. So now we have all our body parts secure, the rest of the seat can be fired. If you look closely at Goose as he ejects, you can see he is not attached to the seat at all: he flops around and hits the canopy. If he had been strapped in correctly, his head would still have not hit the canopy as the top of the seat is above the top of his head (otherwise he could not use the face blind to fire the seat). (01:05:00)


Correction: The whole reason he was killed was due to a malfunction with the seat. It pulled him back initially as it should, but then released tension, allowing him to flop around and hit the canopy. Even with fail-safes and redundant safety features, if it's mechanical it can, and may, fail. Such was the case on January 25th,1966 when SR-71 RSO (an SR-71 "RIO", like "Goose") Jim Zwayer, died in a somewhat similar accident as the one depicted in Top Gun.

Corrected entry: In a hostile situation, there is no way on Earth that carrier would only have had two fighters airborne, not to mention two aircrews that were not even part of their squadron.

Correction: There is a comment made in the control room that the catapult is broken and will take up to 10 minutes to repair. They tried to put more planes in the air, but were unable to do so.

Corrected entry: During the final dogfight, Ice's plane is hit. Slider says "We're hit, we're hit in the right engine!", followed by Ice: "I'm shutting it down, I'm shutting it down." Later we see the plane with one afterburner lit, confirming this. When they are later hit again, Ice says "We're hit again, we're hit again!" Slider immediately says "It's OK: Both engines are functioning."


Correction: He says "we're OK, all systems are functioning" and not "both engines..."

Corrected entry: When Maverick does the flyby past the towers in Miramar and at the Enterprise, WHY does the controller in the tower spill his coffee over himself? Who would do such a thing? Isn't it a human reaction to spill coffee on the other side of the mug? NOT on yourself?

Correction: Nope. Hold a mug of water up to your face, and see what happens if you're startled by something while doing so. Your natural reaction is to jerk backwards, which will result in a wet face and clothing.

Corrected entry: U.S. Navy regulations forbid hair bleaching, as Iceman's.

Correction: If you spend enough time in the sun, your hair will be naturally lightened - known as sun bleaching. There's (thankfully) no scene in the movie that shows Iceman bleaching his hair.

Corrected entry: Before the final dogfight, Hollywood's and Iceman's F-14's are tracking the MiG-28's (F-5's) on radar. The shot changes to the camera being in front of and filming an F-14 from ahead. Iceman says "Voodoo1 Voodoo1". At that point, you can see a MiG-28 right behind Iceman's Tomcat, but they are supposed to be miles ahead of them.

Correction: Iceman calls "Voodoo 1" after Hollywood gets his tail busted by the MiG, at which point the MiG (which is an F-5E Tiger II) had already shown up behind them, so no mistake here.

Corrected entry: During the scene when Tom Cruise is considering his options to graduate with his class and looking over the Miramar runway as an F-14 passes by to land, it is shown with the tail hook extended down for landing on a ship.


Correction: The runway at Miramar is painted to simulate the deck of an aircraft carrier. Navy pilots would practice arresting hook landings all the time, as this pilot clearly was.

Corrected entry: The MiG-28s supposedly carried Exocet Anti-Ship missiles. The Exocet are French and are used by NATO countries, not the Soviets. Also, there would never be a "MiG-28" since Soviet aircraft numbers are always odd (MiG-19, MiG-21, MiG-25 etc). Plus, the Soviets used specialized anti-ship aircraft such as the Tu-22, not fighters, for such missions, and if the final dogfight took place far out in the ocean, where did the fighters come from? The Soviets did not have a carrier capable of launching fixed-wing aircraft at that time.

Correction: Nobody in the movie states that the "enemy" in the movie is the Soviet Union. In fact, the identity of the enemy nation is never stated. Secondly, the MiG 28 is a fictional aircraft, as has been pointed out in several other corrections; this was done out of the political reality of 1986. The producers would never have been able to get their hands on real MiGs. Finally, the enemy planes could have come from land OR a carrier. Again, the identity of the enemy is unknown, any more than the US carrier's proximity to shore is known.

Corrected entry: In the opening dogfight, Cougar says "I'm gonna break high and right, see if he's really alone". When Cougar breaks he is only armed with 2 sidewinders and 2 sparrows. Any F-14 on patrol would at least have 4 sparrows under the fuselage, but most likely would have the pallets and 4 phoenix missiles.

Correction: Not true. I flew Combat Air Patrols (DCA) missions over Iraq in the Tomcat A, and we flew with 1/1/1, meaning one each of Sidewinder, Sparrow, and Phoenix missiles, as well as a full gun drum. In six years of flying the Tomcat, I never heard of one flying with more than 2 Phoenix.

Corrected entry: During the dogfight with Jester, as both planes are going 'ballistic', from the ground view, the F-14 is in front. Aren't they pursuing?

Correction: Actually, they are pursuing. The scene is filmed from below and the F-14 is engaging "Jester" from a higher altitude giving the illusion of being above of the lower altitude F-5 E.

Corrected entry: At the beginning when Maverick and Cougar are flying back to the ship and they are sweating running out of fuel before Maverick can talk Cougar down, this would not have been that much of a big deal. The carrier would have launched a tanker and refuelled the planes. Even if Cougar was too shaken to land on the carrier, with the help of tankers, they could have diverted to a land based runway which is infinitely easier to land at.

Correction: The carrier in question was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, and as such, may not have been in range of a friendly air base for Cougar to divert to. Second, carrier landing is peanuts compared to in-flight refueling. Navy aircraft use a "probe-and-drogue" refueling system, in which the extendable refueling probe on the receiving aircraft is plugged into a two foot wide basket being trailed by the refueling aircraft. Often, this basket has seen some dents and dings, and oscillates somewhat unpredictably, making the connection even more difficult. As Stephen Coonts wrote in Flight of the Intruder, "One frustrated fighter jockey had been heard to lament, 'It's like trying to stick a banana up a wildcat's ass.' Cougar's ability to land on the carrier would have been well above his ability to plug into a KA-6D or S-3B refueling jet.

Corrected entry: After Mitchell drops out of TOPGUN, Viper tells him: "That isn't something the State Department tells dependents when the battle happens on the wrong side of some line." The State Department does not notify military dependents of the death of a service member. The Defense Department does. Goose got it right when he joked in the cockpit after being nailed by Jester.

Correction: While technically correct about which Executive Department sends notification to next of kin of deceased service members, its obvious from the context Viper means something else. When American military personnel are involved in "black" operations, or anything potentially embarrassing, e.g. combat "over the wrong line on some map" as Viper says, State would no doubt have some influence over the details released to family, being the department charged with overseeing our foreign relations. So what Viper means is, "The State Department doesn't let the Defense department tell people the true story."

Corrected entry: In the scene where Maverick is in Top Gun flying against Jester. In one scene he says he's going to hit the brakes. He hits the brakes and goes up so it look like Jester should fly underneath. In the next shot you can see Jester fly over Maverick.

Correction: This is not a mistake, the aircraft is pulling a high alpha maneuver, in this case 'hitting the brakes' by rapidly orienting the aircraft in a different direction, using the body and wings to slow the aircraft down rapidly. The Russian SU-27 Flanker is famous for this (search cobra maneuver) and the F-14 was capable of doing it as well. The aircraft continues in level flight even though the nose is oriented upwards (high angle of attack). As much as Top Gun makes mistakes with reference to aviation, this is not one of them.

Corrected entry: When the MiGs fire a missile, its not a Exocet, its a AIM-9 Sidewinder missile.

Hidden Fox

Correction: Exocet's are anti-ship missiles. They are not effective against other aircraft. The MiG's were not yet within firing range of the ship, but were involved in a dogfight, for which the air-to-air Sidewinder missile is the more effective weapon. Most aircraft are able to carry multiple munitions.

Corrected entry: In the last battle. Mav is ordered to launch his alert five. While hooking up to the catapult we see a man holding his left hand flat and placing two fingers sideways into it. That means you are plugging in an external power source. You would not do that during launch.

Correction: You obviously haven't stood many alert 5's. Alert 5 or Alert 7 means that the aircraft must be able to be launched 5 (or 7) minutes from the time the order is given. This means that the crew has to be strapped into the aircraft, on the catapult and hooked up to external power in order to have the aircraft's systems checked and ready for immediate launch. Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) take several minutes to align. If they were not already aligned when the launch order was given, the crew would not be ready to launch on time. Once the order is given to launch, all you should have to do is start the motors, disconnect external power, wipe out the flight controls and hit the road. The man in this shot is requesting to disconnect the external power.

Corrected entry: While in the trailer reviewing Maverick's flying, "put on the brakes and he'll fly right by..." Charlie is wearing a grey skirt. In the next scene while she is out by Maverick's bike she is wearing a black skirt.

Correction: Charlie is wearing an entirely different ensemble, not just a different skirt, as is Maverick. During the trailer briefing he is in uniform, but at his motorcycle he is in civilian clothing. This indicates a run-in at a later time.

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