Top Gun

Top Gun (1986)

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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.

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.


Corrected entry: The film makes several references to a 'MiG 28' when in fact all MiG aircraft are odd-numbered. No 'Mig 28" ever did or ever will exist.

Correction: And "Maverick", "Goose" and "Iceman" don't exist either. The jet was actually an American F5, not a MIG at all, and since it doesn't look like any real MIG, the makers created a ficticious MIG model for the ficticious pilots to ficticiously fight. It's a fantasy, not a documentary. The MIG-28 designation was intentional, not a "mistake".


Corrected entry: When Maverick and Goose are in the water after ejecting you can clearly see the boat that films them.

Correction: Not true!

Jacob La Cour

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: In the final dogfight, Hollywood is being pursued by a MiG that has radar lock on him. A few seconds later the camera shot changes to the cockpit of the MiG showing his radar locking in on Hollywood's plane (again), but didn't he already have radar lock on him?

Correction: That's the point. Hollywood supposedly broke radar lock, and the MiG had to reacquire him as the target.

Corrected entry: In the scene after Maverick goes to Viper's house to ask for "his options", he is shown sitting on his motorcycle at the end of a runway watching a plane coming in to land. The plane has its tailhook down, which should only be down while landing on the deck of a carrier. This obviously was footage of a carrier landing being reused. And in the very next shot it shows him watching the plane accelerating away with afterburners glowing, which contradicts the earlier shot of the plane landing. (01:25:00)

Correction: Where do you think they practice the tailhook manoeuvre? If the first time that a pilot learned to use the tailhook was on a carrier, many a pilot might die flying off the end of it into the ocean. Remember that this is a "training" program for pilots as well. Also, the afterburners are bringing him up to speed, possibly to circle back and repeat the manoeuvre.


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.

Corrected entry: In the volleyball scene, you will notice a burgundy "50's Chevy" type vehicle behind some bleachers just behind Maverick and Goose's side. During close-ups of Iceman and his partner diving for balls, you can see the same car behind their side. When Maverick is leaving, you finally see a far away shot of Iceman's side and the car is definitely not there. It seems as if the "action" shots were filmed on one side because they never switched sides.

Correction: Or they could have played a real volleyball game and switched sides.

shortdanzr Premium member

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: At the end of the movie, how did the flight deck crew know to cheer about what happened in the air? There would be no way for the news to spread THAT quickly for them to cheer & surround the F-14's to congratulate them when they first land back on the carrier.

Ken Hogan

Correction: There is plenty of time for the crew to be informed of the news via headphones that the crew wore, PA system or just word of mouth.


Corrected entry: In the opening flight scene when Cougar is having a nervous breakdown and can't land his plane or talk, you hear the controller say 'Cougar you are at three quarters of a mile call the ball'. Cougar then replies 'roger ball' in a cool calm voice which is inconsistent with the previous scene showing a speechless, rattled Cougar.

Correction: Cougar doesn't say "roger ball", the air traffic controller says "rise your ball". So it is the air traffic controller who sounds rather calm.

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: Just before Goose and Mav go down in a flat spin, they are flying over desert and mountains, yet somehow after the crash they have to be recovered by a rescue chopper out in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight.

Correction: You can hear Iceman on the radio saying that Maverick is in a flat spin and is headed out to sea. When they're rescued much of the horizon is obscured by spray thrown up by the helicopter.

William Bergquist

Corrected entry: In the scene in the bathroom, you see Maverick walking through the doors, they say 'ladies room'. When they are in the bathroom, though, the writing should be backwards, as it is the back of the door and reflected in the mirror but it is written exactly the same, the words are on the wrong side of the doors as well.

Correction: The writing on the back of the door would be backwards from the inside, but because it is reflected in the mirror it looks as if it is written properly.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Goose dies, when he is getting carried up to the helicopter his arm moves up to his chest and then itches it.

Correction: He isn't dead at that stage, just seriously injured. He dies later in the base hospital.

Corrected entry: In the whole movie the pilots are controlling the throttle with their right hand. But in reality, the throttle is placed on the left hand side and the right hand is used to control the stick.

Correction: At no time do the pilots control the throttle & joystick with the opposite hands, it only looks like it when they shoot the scene from the front looking back.

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: At Top Gun, when Ice confronts Mav wondering who was covering Cougar while Mav was "show boating" with the MiG, Mav should have pointed out that the first MiG had already "bugged out" and he was, in fact, covering Cougar by engaging the second MiG.

Correction: There is no training school in the world that tells the pilot to engage an enemy aircraft by flying inverted above it. Maverick should have flown behind the plane and illuminated it with his missile control radar and attempted to achieve a lockon in order to send a message to the Mig pilot. If the Mig pilot had fired at Cougar, Maverick would not have been able to engage the Mig from his position ( apart from kamikazeing into it). He would therefore not have been able to stop the Mig from shooting again or to get revenge if Cougar had been hit. Iceman is correct when he asks who was covering Cougar.

Corrected entry: The guy in the tower drinking coffee works at both Mirimar and the Enterprise?

Correction: The air traffic control officer is a different person in the two scenes. It is just an amusing coincidence that they both happen to take a drink just before Maverick does his flyby.

Corrected entry: In the bar scene at the beginning of the movie when Iceman is talking to Maverick the camera is behind Maverick and shows him drinking a beer. The scene switches views to where the camera is behind Iceman and Mav is not drinking, then the scene switches back behind Mav and he is drinking from the bottle again.

Correction: The bottle is merely being held out of frame. The bottle wouldn't have been held up to his face during the length of the conversation.

Corrected entry: Any pilot that disobeyed a direction by air traffic control and conducted a "fly by" would immediately lose their flying status, yet Maverick does it twice.

Correction: Viper made it clear that he was cutting Maverick a break the first time he did a fly by, by not losing his flying status. The second time was at the end of the movie, so we don't see if he lost his flying status or not, although it is doubtful that they would take it away from him since he was a hero.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Charlie is introduced, you would not have to tell a bunch of experienced officers (ie Lieutenants), that they don't have to salute civilians.

Correction: Jester is informing them that the woman is a civilian, and not military personnel. They already know you don't salute civilians. It was also contextual because Jester immediately follows up with "But you better listen to her because the Pentagon listens to her."

Grumpy Scot

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.


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 the ejection scene where Goose buys the farm his helmet is clearly seen flying off during the sequence (it's even in slo-mo) yet when Maverick reaches him in the water he's wearing it.

Correction: Goose's helmet does not go flying off. In the slo-mo section of the ejection scene look closely and you will see Goose's head (which is still in the helmet) get forecd forward when it comes in contact with the canopy. At no time does the helmet ever come off his head.

Corrected entry: In the opening dog fight scene, the wings on his F-14 change continuously from "swept" to "unswept". "Swept" wings are a delta shape and "unswept" are more clearly open. The changes in shape are dependent upon speed and would not change so quickly between scenes.

Correction: The wing sweep feature of the F-14 can be either computer controlled or pilot controlled, allowing for greater manuverability during dogfights. Un-swept wings allow for tighter turns during a dogfight, especially when using the 20mm cannon.

Corrected entry: In the briefing just before the final dogfight the pilots are told that the "MiGs" carry the exocet anti ship missile. This is actually a French missile.

Correction: The French have sold this missile to countries that do not like us... for this reason the USS Stark, a Navy Frigate, was hit by an Exocet missile back some years ago.

Corrected entry: At the end Tom Cruise asks permission for a flyby. He is told "No, the pattern is full." There are only two planes and a helicopter in the air and the pattern is full? I think not.

Correction: Could it be that he was giving a convenient excuse (and plausible to anyone not within visiblity range to see for themselves)? It's obvious he isn't a fan of Maverick's fly-bys.


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: In the opening dogfight, Cougar says "I'm gonna break high and right, see if he's really alone". During actual patrols, the two aircraft would never be on each others' wingtip. Normal operation calls for them to be about a mile apart and a thousand feet different in altitude - the better to see each others "six".

Correction: When jet fighters come into battles in pairs, as the MiGs did in the first fight, they will often fly in tight formation to appear as one aircraft on radar so that when the battle begins, the enemy thinks that they're dealing with a single bogey, but are really dealing with two. When Cougar breaks away to see if he's really alone, this advantage continues because the MiG gets Cougar out of position at the beginning of the dogfight.

Corrected entry: In the final celebration scene aboard the carrier, there is a crowd of flight deck crewmen cheering, and if you listen and watch carefully, you can hear and see one of them yell, 'All right, Tom'.

Correction: That could be due to the fact that Iceman's real name is Tom Kaczansky.

Corrected entry: While the Goose is falling to the water after having broken his neck and died, he puts his arms up to direct his parachute.

Correction: I just finished watching this movie and i'm pretty sure that the person directing the parachute is supposed to be Maverick.

Corrected entry: At the end of the movie, when Maverick's aircraft is launched, there's a shot from an F-14 looking back from at the ship. Maverick was supposedly launched from one of the bow catapults, but the shot was clearly taken from an aircraft that had just come off one of the waist cats. Also, the pilot of the aircraft does a roll as he climbs away from the ship, a useless maneuver that the movie's director insisted on because it looked cool.

Correction: The shot was not take from an aircraft that had taken off from one of the waist cats, it was taken from an aircraft doing a fly by (look at the exhaust trail) on the carrier. An aircraft doesnt have the airspeed that short after take off to do a roll.

Corrected entry: On the last flight that Maverick takes a line of dialogue is heard - "He's on your left at three o'clock." Three o'clock tends to be on the right.

Correction: Actually, the time referenced (3 o'clock) doesn't refer to the right or left side on it's own. By saying "on your left, 3 o'clock" it means, turn to your left, imagine a clock on your right, then imagine 3 o'clock on that clock. It could be on your right, 12 o' clock, on your left, 6 o'clock, dead ahead, 3 o'clock. The time alone isn't the indication of location, as a rapid height reference is needed too.

Corrected entry: Throughout the movie, Charlie keeps referring to Maverick as Lieutenant, even though his rank insignia (2 silver bars connected) is Captain. One silver bar is the rank for Lieutenant.

Correction: This is wrong. In the Air Force and the Army, the double silver bars are the insignia of a Captain (grade 0-3). In the Coast Guard, the double silver bars are the insignia of a Lieutenant (grade 0-3). The Navy does have a Captain rank, but it is a few grades higher (O-6) and is represented by a silver eagle (like an Air Force or Army Colonel), so Lieutenant is correct.

Bruce Minnick

Corrected entry: A Navy Commander (O-5) will NEVER be the Commanding Officer of an aircraft carrier, he or she will ALWAYS be at least a Captain (O-6).

Correction: The O-5 in the movie is not the commander of the carrier, he is the commander of the airwing (aka CAG by Navy terms). He is the officer in charge of all the squadrons on board the carrier. The Aircraft Carrier Commander is a completely separate individual, never portrayed in the movie. His job is to deal with driving the carrier around and the overall mission picture.

Corrected entry: When Mav and Goose eject (and Goose is killed), notice how the hatch hovers over the plane for nearly a full second. Pretty tough thing to do at 750 mph, huh? In reality the hatch goes first, then there is a delay before the seats go, but there is NO WAY to collide with the hatch in mid air - when the F-14 canopy is jettisoned it flies straight back between the vertical stabs like a field goal kick in the NFL.

Correction: There was an actual incident where a RIO was killed during ejection during a flat spin exactly as Goose died in the movie. This is where the idea for Goose's cause of death came from. Then the Tomcats ejection seats were fixed to incur a longer delay so this would not happen again.

Corrected entry: In the opening scene where Goose takes a photo of the the Russian MiG you can see that if he was inverted at such a close range the tails on the planes would be touching. This is an impossible move (and the cut of sequence looks a little rocky too).

Correction: Not so...the F5 (Russian Mig) has a single tail. The F14 has dual tails, so the Mig's would just slide between.

Corrected entry: Definitely the biggest mistake in the movie. Goose would have never died in the way that he did. On all of the F14 models, including the F14As that they were flying, the canopy has explosive bolts holding the glass to the metal on the canopy itself. When the ejection sequence is initiated, the bolts explode, shattering the canopy plexiglass. This was invented to prevent what happened to Goose.

Correction: Actually this is not a mistake, it is based on a number of real-life incidents with the F-14, which did indeed have a problem which led to some severe injuries (and I believe at least one fatality) before it was corrected. The problem was that in a position where the aircraft was subjected to severe asymmetric thrust it would enter a flat spin (i.e. one where the nose is roughly level with the horizon). As there is little or no airflow over the control surfaces (the aircraft is moving rapidly downward, but has virtually no forward airspeed at all) it is a very difficult situation to recover from. The original F-14 ejection sequence discarded the canopy first, which was supposed to be blown backwards by the airflow. However in the flat spin situation this did not happen - the canopy remained in approximately the same position relative to the aircraft. When the seats blew a few seconds later, the pilot and RIO were ejected into the canopy. After several accidents of this type modifications were made, firstly to decrease the likelihood of a flat spin developing in the first place, and secondly to increase aircrew survivability in the event of a spin occurring. The second part of this included modifying the eject sequence so the canopy was shattered, rather than jettisoned.

Corrected entry: Goose could not have died by his head slamming into his cockpit. In addition to Tomcats having canopies that shatter automatically, the ejection chair is extremely tall, tall enough to protect the pilot's head. In the movie his chair is tiny.

Correction: Tomcat canopies used to have explosive ejection. Only recent models introduced the shattering canopy.

Corrected entry: In the final battle scene the carrier's captain is told both of the ship's catapults are out, so no more planes can be launched to help Iceman and Maverick. The USS Enterprise has FOUR catapults.

Correction: When the statement was made that both catapults were broken and no planes can be launched, that can be a true occurrance. I have worked on Aircraft Carriers and if you have the Waist catapults go down on you, you can't just jump to the other two on the bow. In a situation where they were launching alerts, the bow would be fully loaded with other aircraft. The only time they would probably be open is if 3/4 of the jets were in the air already, which they weren't.

Corrected entry: When they are playing volleyball, you can see that between each scene sometimes they have dogtags on and some scenes they don't.

Correction: Because of the jumping around while playing, the dogtags are flipping around from front to back. So, depending on the camera shot, you may not see the tags.

Corrected entry: In the scene where Maverick is preparing for launch as the "Alert 5" aircraft, he's shown to slide the canopy forward to close it. The Grumman F-14 has an aft-hinged, one piece canopy that locks in place when it closes, after being lowered into place. The canopy does not slide in any direction once closed.

Correction: Actually this scene is correct (and actually filmed in a real F-14). The Tomcat's canopy comes down to the canopy rails and then slides forward about 3 inches to lock. The reverse happens when opening. It slides aft 3 inches and then lifts.

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More for Top Gun


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



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