Top Gun

Factual error: The final dogfight scene has a huge error when Hollywood's jet is hit with a missile and he ejects. The next scene shows him manually deploying a small pilot chute to open his main parachute. After seat/man seperation, the main chute automatically deploys depending on altitude and airspeed. He would still be connected to his ejection seat until his chute deploys. Having to manually throw a "pilot chute" to the wind would leave too much for human error.

Factual error: In nearly every cockpit scene, regardless of fighter airframe, you can see that half or more of the lights on the caution lights panel on the lower right-hand side of the cockpit are lit. These lights are the illuminated names of all the systems that are not currently operating, ergo if the "Engine 1" light is lit, then Engine 1 is not running. If over half of the lights are lit (as in the cockpit scenes) then the pilots must be flying without half of their systems running, including engines, hydraulics, and radar. None of these lights should be on in flight. This makes it obvious that the scenes were shot on the ground using external power.

Continuity mistake: The scene in the TCTS room, when they are evaluating dog fight maneuvers, Charlie is sitting on the desk wearing a beige pencil skirt, a few moments later when chasing Maverick down outside, she is in a black pencil skirt.

Factual error: After the dogfight, when CAG meets Maverick in the squadron locker room, Goose is written on the locker next to Maverick's. They would not have left this on there after his death.

Factual error: The beginning of the movie when Maverick inverts and gets cozy (canopy to canopy) with the MIG pilot and Goose is taking pictures could never have happened. The tails of the F-14 are nearly 9 feet tall and the canopies are a mere three feet apart, so this would have resulted in a collision.

James Rowell

Continuity mistake: During the second dogfight, Iceman shuts down one of his engines, but when they fly past the carrier while returning, there are two lines of smoke coming out of his plane.

Factual error: In every scene in which Maverick and Goose are in their flight suits, the squadron patch they wear is that of Airborne Early Warning Squadron One Two Zero (VAW-120). The same graphic is use on their flight helmets. Airborne Early Warning Squadrons in 1986 were flying the E-2C Hawkeye, a twin-turboprop aircraft with a rather large and obvious 24' diameter rotating dome mounted above the fuselage. Also worth noting, the squadron logo used on the aircraft in the movie was that of Strike Fighter Squadron 25, the "Fist of the Fleet." VFA-25 never flew F-14 Tomcats. In 1968, they flew the A-7B Corsair II, then in May 1983 they transitioned to the F/A -18A Hornet. Additionally, Hollywood and Wolfman are wearing patches/helmet graphics of VAW-124 Bear Aces (another VAW E-2 squadron).

Continuity mistake: The class at Top Gun was made up of the current best pilot/RIO air crews which had not previously attended the school, from various squadrons. At graduation, out of all the pilots in the Navy, including all the pilots from Maverick's squadron still on the carrier (some of which would have already graduated from Top Gun), Maverick, Iceman and Wolfman have to rush back to Maverick's aircraft carrier because they are the only pilots available that can go against the MiGs?

Continuity mistake: If you notice Charlie's (Kelly McGillis) car, the DoD base's name sticker is blue (on her car, it is in the lower left corner). Blue is reserved for Officers. It should be green (for civilian employees).

Continuity mistake: In the first dogfight, when Cougar freaks out he removes his face mask. When Maverick takes-off again to guide him down the shot shows Cougar and Merlin's plane from the side where Cougar is again wearing his mask. Then it cuts back to a face shot of Cougar and his mask is off again. (00:09:35 - 00:11:00)

Continuity mistake: Maverick is shown wearing a black wristwatch, but on the closeup shots of his hand on the throttle, the watch is silver.

Continuity mistake: Take notice of everyone's hands during the action sequences. No one is wearing gloves. As standard issue for military pilots, the gloves are made of Nomex and provide protection from fire and allow for a better grip when things get a little hot and heavy.

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

Suggested correction: While it's technically correct that they have to wear Nomex flight gloves for taking off and landing, I know many jet jockeys who choose to ignore this rule.

Other mistake: During the final dogfight, the same shots of missiles flying through the air are used several times.

David Mercier

Factual error: In his first flight at TOPGUN, Maverick and Jester are seen flying at low level, yet there is a 10,000 foot hard deck, so they must be flying over mountains that height above sea level, in which case the hard deck to be any use would have to be higher.

Factual error: When Goose takes the photo of the MIG's cockpit, the type of Polaroid camera he is using has an acoustic auto-focus system. It will not focus beyond clear glass or plastic because the ultrasonic pulse bounces off the glass and not off whatever is behind it. Therefore the photo would be focused on Goose's own canopy and the MIG's cockpit instruments (of interest to Charlie) would be very blurry. Perhaps that is why the photo is not shown. Also: Goose proclaims the photo great immediately after it comes out of the camera. In fact it takes a minute or so to develop and become visible.

origamibob

Factual error: Every time one of the F-14 pilots fires a missile, he thumbs the selector switch on the stick to the SP/PH (Sparrow/Phoenix) position, then pulls the trigger. In every case, it's a Sidewinder that leaves the rail, even though it isn't selected, and would not have had time to "home" anyway.

Audio problem: Reference the dialogue in the hangar where Mav/Goose and Charlie are discussing what was happening when they met the MiG, and Goose says "You know, the finger." In the original 1985 cinema release, Charlie replies "Yes, I know the finger, Lieutenant," but in the video release this has been changed to "Yes, I know the finger, Goose." If you look closely you'll see that her lips don't move when she enunciates the word "Goose," and if you listen carefully you can hear the edit change in the soundtrack between "finger," and "Goose."

Continuity mistake: After the final dog fight where everybody is happily back on the aircraft carrier, Iceman exclaims: You can be my wingman anytime, and Maverick replies: Bullshit - you can be mine. Then they hug, and during that hug Iceman in someway manages to put his sunglasses on, from one cut to another

Continuity mistake: When the four pilots are playing volleyball, they have no sand sticking to them even though they are shirtless, sweating, and sometimes diving in the sand.

Iceman: The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room.

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.

Bishop73

More trivia for Top Gun

Chosen answer: The term "Ghostrider" refers to the squadron name. There used to be a Tomcat squadron called the Ghostriders. Usually in a radio call, the squadron name is followed by a number. For instance, in the first fight where we see Cougar get into a spot of trouble with the Mig on his tail, he radios "This is Ghostrider 117 this bogey's all over me, he's got missile lock on me, do I have permission to fire?" That is normally the correct term as to who is on the radio.

More questions & answers from 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.