Top Gun

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.

Factual error: Iceman is hit by cannon fire and has to shut down the right engine as a consequence. Later on, when Iceman and Maverick return to the carrier, Maverick asks for a flyby, which both tomcats perform as if nothing had happened to Iceman's plane. This violates regulation, essential safety protocols and it contradicts both Maverick and Iceman's personalities. The first thing you want to do when flying with only one engine (because your plane is damaged) is to make sure you land as soon as possible, you don't perform flybys, you don't even consider it. The remaining engine could fail too, turning the tomcat into a glider, that would mean the loss of the plane and it would put the lives of both pilots at even more risk. Maverick wouldn't allow this after losing Goose and Iceman has that nickname and reputation because he's a perfectionist, he plays utterly by the rules he wouldn't act like a fool when flying a damaged plane in that context. Also, Iceman performs that flyby with both engines running, which is absurd. (01:39:20 - 01:40:00)

Hardcard

Factual error: Although it doesn't occur in the land-based tower at Miramar during Mitchell's first high-speed pass (thankfully), when he repeats the pass at the carrier, the camera work tries to make it look like the jet rocks the tower. US super carriers displace over 100,000 tons, and are not pushed around even by 30,000 pounds of thrust flying nearby.

Factual error: The implausibility of holding class in a hangar instead of a classroom has already been mentioned. But how about the desk just inside of the hangar doors, complete with blotter, "in" and "out" baskets and other accessories?

Factual error: When Mav explains to Charlie his dogfight with the MiG-28, Charlie asks him: "You were in a 4G inverted dive with a MiG-28?", "Yes Ma'am" he replies. Imagine the two aircraft. The F-14 was inverted (the back of the F-14 was "looking" at the ground, and it was pulling 4 positive G's), and the MiG-28 was flying horizontally (belly of the MiG-28 was "looking" at the ground) so it should have been pulling 4 negative G's to keep their distance constant, or more to increase it (otherwise they'd have collided). For the MiG to pull 4 negative G's is almost impossible for two reasons: 1) the negative g-limits of the aircraft are somewhere in the area of 3.5, and 2) the Russian pilot's eyes would have popped out of his head at this g-force. Even the most modern and agile fighter aircraft of the world (like the F-16 and the Eurofighter) have a negative g-limit of 3.5 while their positive limit is at 9, mainly due to human body constraints.

Continuity mistake: In the scene where the guy tells Cruise "Maverick, you and Goose get your butts into Viper's office now", when the scene is close up on his face, the black guy is on the right, but as soon as it goes back to the regular scene the black guy is on the left.

Factual error: In the final dogfight scene, the Search and Rescue helicopter lands with rescued pilots very soon after the last F-14 lands. The dogfight took place approximately 250 miles away from the ship. The top speed of an H-3 is 120 knots. It should have taken the helo nearly two hours to return to the ship.

Factual error: US Flight suits certainly have their share of insignia on them, including name, rank, unit and sometimes others. Often aircraft type, school and hours awards are also worn, but they don't look as much like NASCAR fire suits as the movie makes out. Even so, all extraneous insignia are removed when operating in a combat zone. They're attached with velcro for this purpose.

Continuity mistake: At the end of the briefing before the final scene, Iceman questions Maverick's capabilities. He's right to do so as Maverick can't make up his mind what aircraft he's supposed to be flying. First we see him climbing into the cockpit of an F-14, then when the aircraft is placed on the catapult, it changes to an A6 Intruder. When the order is given for Alert-5 launch, he's flying an F-14.

Continuity mistake: At Top Gun School, when Maverick does his "hit the brakes and he'll fly right by" move, watch close and you will see part of the canopy moulding fly off the cockpit as the nose comes up.

Deliberate mistake: In the locker room scene after the final dogfight, Wolfman's helmet is seen hanging in Hollywood's locker. Hollywood's helmet is blue. (01:42:15)

Continuity mistake: In the final dogfight when Iceman shoots down the MiG, he says "roger, engage" and switches to missiles with his thumb on the flight stick. He then locks on and switches to missiles again. The switch was already in the correct position.

Other mistake: When Maverick is doing the fly-by at the end of the movie, you can notice the crew watching for the F-14's to fly by the carrier. It's obvious the fly-by was set up, otherwise the crew wouldn't be waiting to watch them fly by.

Ken Hogan

Factual error: After the final dogfight scene when Maverick and Iceman have landed, we see their two F-14 Tomcats spotted (parked) on the flight deck of the carrier. In the background, you see aircraft already spotted on the fantail (back of the ship) with several blocking the direct path of any aircraft landing on the carrier. While the aircraft directors and blueshirt crews would be fast in moving aircraft, they would not have had the time to spot and tie down all those aircraft on the fantail before Maverick and Iceman had finished parking their jets.

Factual error: After the graduation at Top Gun, the next scene shown is an aircraft carrier and the caption "24 hours later." To allow pilots time to overcome the effects of jet lag, they are grounded one day for every three times zones they crossed. Maverick wouldn't even have been on the flight schedule within 24 hours of having left California.

Continuity mistake: The flight where Goose dies begins over land - where the pilots are chatting. When they see the enemy they are over water. In the next shot they are over mountains and desert again, until they land on the water. That doesn't add up. There are no places in California where the desert goes all the way to the coast with no towns at all.

Jacob La Cour

Factual error: In describing the first encounter with the MiG, Maverick tells Charlie he saw a MiG do a negative 4G dive. However, in that scene, the two planes are flying straight and level - neither one climbs or dives at any time.

Continuity mistake: When Iceman's plane is hit and begins smoking, the camera is placed behind the firing port for the F-14's gun. The smoke we see is actually from the gun firing, which Ice wasn't doing at the time.

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: Goose's real name is Nick Bradshaw. This is visible after he dies among his belongings that Maverick goes through. It also appears on the canopy of the F-14 he and Maverick are assigned to.

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

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