Top Gun

Corrected entry: Maverick is seen riding his motorcycle down the runway while jets go whipping by and he is not wearing a helmet. Wearing a helmet on a naval base is mandatory, even in states which permit riders to go helmetless on the public streets.

Correction: But we already know that Maverick is a rebel- he does a flyby after 'killing' Jester even though he was ordered not to.

Corrected entry: Maverick followed Jester below the Hard Deck, yet only Maverick got into trouble.

Correction: Because Jester was the target and could do that - Maverick followed him below the Hard Deck and then engaged his weapons - a direct violation of the rules.


A "hard deck" is technically the ground, in regards to the training exercise. So Jester certainly went against the spirit of the rules by essentially crashing his plane to avoid Maverick. When you consider the fact that, by doing so, he put Maverick into the position of following him (and when you have extremely egotistical, adrenaline pumped pilots chasing you...they are going to be apt to follow you), he essentially put everyone at risk. That said, Jester could have gotten his discipline off screen, so this really can't be considered a mistake.


He went below the hard deck after breaking off the engagement when he lost sight of Maverick and called "No Joy" as per the NATO Brevity Codes. Because he was no longer engaged he could go below the hard deck, Maverick couldn't. So nothing to see here.


Corrected entry: If Viper had flown with Maverick's father in Vietnam then he would have rushed up and slapped Maverick on the back at the first chance, rather than being aloof and only finally putting his mind at rest about what happened after Maverick crashes a plane and loses the edge. Also as whatever happened to Maverick's father occurred some fifteen years previously, Viper wouldn't have hesitated in telling his dead mate's son what happened even if for some strange reason it was still classified.

Correction: This isn't a film mistake - it's your opinion on how Viper should behave. Maybe he didn't like Maverick (or his father?) and wanted him to be uncomfortable.

Corrected entry: In real life Maverick would have been about 5 inches too short to get into the navy as height restrictions still applied in the mid 1980s.

Correction: Tom Cruise is 5'7". That average american man is only 5'10". I have a hard time believing that the Navy would have turned away everyone under 6'0" tall. That would have seriously limited their pool to choose from.

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: 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: 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: 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.

Corrected entry: In the opening dog fight scene (which took all of a couple minutes) they go from bright sun (Cougar loses his bogey in the sun) to being almost night time when Mav attempts to land on the carrier the first time.


Correction: Two things: When an aircraft is at altitude, it will be brighter longer than down on sea level. Second, we don't know how long it took to fly back after the dog fight. If it was late afternoon for the dog fight, it could very well be getting dark on the return trip.

Corrected entry: At Top Gun, Maverick does a fly by of the tower. He flies by, the camera cuts to the guy drinking coffee who spills it on himself. Then the camera cuts back to the sky and Maverick flies by again.

Correction: This is an artistic choice to heighten the impact of the moment, not a mistake of editing, just as "slow-motion" isn't an accidental drop of film speed that makes everything happen unrealistically slow.


Corrected entry: When Cougar lost the edge after, he wouldn't have given his wings to his Commanding Officer. Handing in your wings is merely a phrase, not something people do.

Correction: Character choice. It may not be required, but it's certainly his option to hand them in, throw them out or even swallow them.


Corrected entry: During the opening sequence of "cat shots" off the carrier deck, an F-14 is hooked into a catapult. As it's being launched, the camera switches to a deck member ducking as it goes by in the background. However, the plane going by is actually an A-6 Intruder.

Correction: This is a montage of shots randomly depicting the daily routine of carrier duty on the deck. The shots are not meant to be a continuous stream of real time. No mistake.


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

Goose: It's the bottom of the 9th, the score is tied. It's time for the big one.
Iceman: You up for this one, Maverick?
Maverick: Just a walk in the park, Kazansky.

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.

More trivia for Top Gun

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.