Top Gun

Top Gun (1986)

73 corrected entries

(15 votes)

Corrected entry: In the movie the MiG 28 was continually refered to. In reality there is no such thing as a MiG 28. Russian (or Soviet) MiG use odd numbers.

Correction: This is true; the MiG-28 doesn't actually exist. However, in 1986, the newest MiG in production (which would therefore be of great interest to Charlie et al) would have been the MiG-29. At that time, however, the Cold War was still in full swing. There is absolutely no way that the producers would ever get their hands on one for a movie. The only alternative would have been to substitute an F-15 painted black with red stars on the rudders - and then we'd be all over the producers for passing off an F-15 as a MiG. They had to use something. Why not make up a fictitious aircraft, and dress up a few F-5s (which are used in training as Op-For aircraft anyways) as MiGs? The Soviet Air Force's lack of cooperation doesn't really count as a mistake.

Corrected entry: I don't remember there ever being an Alert 5 aircraft during normal flight operations, like Maverick was at the end of the movie. He should have been up in the air already. The Alert aircraft were normally set up before normal flight operations started in the morning.

Ken Hogan

Correction: I'm a former Air Boss. This situation actually does happen.

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: 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.

Correction: Sorry, there are in fact plenty of hills near NAS Miramar. My apartment there was in Scripps Ranch, just on the Eastern edge of the runways, and overlooked the field from a height of about 150 feet.

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: There is no way Maverick would have been pinned forward during the spin sequence, either - that's why shoulder harnesses are worn. In any case he should have been able to reach the second set of handles underneath his seat.

Correction: In an F-14, the front seater is far forward of the aircraft center of gravity and in a flat spin WOULD be pinned forward in an 'eyeballs out' negative G type condition. This is amazingly accurate in this film; however, such forces would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reach either of the ejection handles (upper or lower).

Corrected entry: In the carrier scene where "things are going to get pretty hairy", the aircraft shown crashing upon landing is a Korean war jet, probably a Grumman Banshee or Phantom. The black and white sequence also dates the scene in the '50s.

Correction: Wrong movie. You are referring to a well-documented mistake in "The Hunt for Red October". No aircraft crash landed on a carrier in Top Gun (though Cougar came close).

Corrected entry: The Libyan "MiG-28" is actually a Northrop F-20 Tigershark, an American fighter that was developed to serve as a fighter to sell to foreign allies and be less technologically advanced than the F-16. When President Ronald Reagan decided to make the F-16 readily available to U.S. allies, the F-20 was abandoned due to the fact that the F-16 was a better plane.

Correction: This is incorrect. They were F-5's. The F-20 was only flown briefly for flight testing (prototyping.) No production articles were ever available.

Corrected entry: Charlie is chasing Maverick in her car to tell him how she feels. Maverick races down the road on his motorcycle, then two cars start to move out of an intersecting road and Charlie narrowly misses them. In the next shot, Maverick starts yelling at Charlie about her 'reckless' driving, but behind them, you see the highway, with no traffic lights or signals. Charlie actually had right of way.

Correction: Just as her car pulls to the curb a traffic light is visible.

The traffic light was added by the studio since there are also stop signs, and an intersection wouldn't have both. The intersection is West Laurel and Union Street in San Diego and you can see in Google StreetView that there is no light, and three of the directions have stop signs, but the uphill direction doesn't. So in real life she had the right-of-way, but the added light is to make it appear she didn't, though we don't see the uphill light, just the downhill one, so can't actually say her light was red.


Corrected entry: When Maverick and Merlin are launched off the enterprise, the dogfight in which Iceman is in trouble takes place a hundred miles out. Despite this Maverick reaches it in "30" seconds. The F14 is fast, but not that fast...

Correction: Not necessarily - the verbiage is a little ambiguous, but in the context of reality, all distances would be in reference the U.S.S. Layton, not the aircraft carrier. Barring any sort of Air Defense unit, the carrier could have positioned itself between threat axis and the Layton for protection.

Corrected entry: The helicopter on an aircraft carrier is usually one of the first aircraft airborne during flight ops. The helicopter should have been airborne already when they call to launch the rescue helicopter when Hollywood was shot down.

Ken Hogan

Correction: Sort of - a helicopter will be airborne for launch and recovery...usually. It is permissible to have an alert helo and either manned RHIB or plane guard surface unit for SAR coverage. Furthermore, once the launch and recovery cycle is complete, prior to the next launch (approximately 1.5 hours), helos will often land to get gas, swap crews, or swap actual aircraft.

Corrected entry: The training was conducted at Miramar, 5 (or so) miles from the beach. When Charlie confronts Maverick about his flying and he leaves on a motorcycle, he zooms up a hill away from the ocean leaving NTC SD (Naval Training Center San Diego - not Miramar) with the Coronado Bay Bridge - and lots of ocean water - in the background.

Correction: The hill he's zooming up is right off an I5 exit to the golden hill neighborhood so if he left Miramar, got on the freeway and exited there this would be a logical sequence. Also NTC SD is a few miles to the south from this filming location.

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: 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: 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..."

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: 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: 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: The "hit the brakes and he'll fly right by" maneuver was invented by Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a Vietnam ace and the first commanding officer of TOPGUN.

Correction: The "hit the brakes and he'll fly right by" maneuver was used as far back as 1918 and was often used in WWII with greater effectiveness due to the invention of flaps. Cunningham may have resurrected it for the jet age but it has been around for a long time.

Top Gun mistake picture

Continuity mistake: When "Charlie" is first introduced to the class, she struts down the aisle in heels. When she follows Maverick into the building, you can briefly see that she is wearing flats to compensate for Maverick's short stature.

More mistakes in Top Gun

Iceman: You can be my wingman any time.
Maverick: Bullshit! You can be mine.

More quotes from Top Gun

Trivia: The "MiG-28s" in the movie are actually all Northrop F-5E Tiger II's, an American plane used for training and sold to other countries. In reality, there is no MiG-28.

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: It could be argued that in the alternate reality of Top Gun the fictional "MiG-28" was an improved reverse-engineered F-5 (VPAF gave the Soviets access to ex-VNAF F-5:s for evaluation after the fall of Saigon) explaining their similarity.

This isn't a valid correction for a trivia entry. There is no mistake being suggested, just letting viewers with limited plane experience know MiG-28 isn't a real plane.


More trivia for Top Gun

Question: This is probably a stupid question, but I know nothing at all about how these kind of aircrafts are flown. What exactly is the purpose of the guy sitting in the back of the plane? All they seem to do in the film is look in all directions for enemy aircrafts.

Answer: These aircraft are extremely complex; the presence of the backseater, variously known officially as the Weapon Systems Operator or Radar Intercept Officer, allows the pilot to focus on the immediate needs of flying the plane, as his backseater can take on many of the other tasks required. They serve as navigators, tacticians, bombardiers, weapons systems operators and, of course, as we see in the film, an extra set of eyes; they use their discretion in passing information to the pilot, ensuring that the pilot has only data that's important to the situation and isn't swamped by trivia. Without the distraction of having to fly the plane, they can often be better placed to coordinate between multiple planes, leading to situations where the backseater can be placed in command of the mission.

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