Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

49 mistakes

(20 votes)

Factual error: Admiral Cain is sitting in the control room together with the Darkstar team looking at the mission control screens when the camera zooms in on one particular screen in the control room. It shows the density gradients around the airplane, visualizing the shock waves in a so-called schlieren image. The angle depicted between the shock wave and the Darkstar's fuselage appears closer to Mach 1.5 than Mach 7.5. (00:09:47)

Factual error: The radar guided SAMs are consistently evaded/triggered by the pilots' flares, which in reality only work against heat seeking missiles. Radar guided missiles would be defended against using chaff, basically clouds of aluminium foil strips. It was mentioned in some interviews they didn't want use chaff as it wouldn't really be visible for the audience - hence why they only deploy flares.

Jon Sandys

Plot hole: Any strike on a military facility by incoming aircraft would first take out the SAM sites with missiles to clear the way for said aircraft to operate freely. After all, the Tomahawks fly right past the attacking planes and take out the runway with no issues at all - no reason they couldn't hit the high and exposed SAMs.

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Suggested correction: The idea was to use the tomahawks to take out the airfield and prevent enemy planes from taking off. The SAMs could be evaded by flying through the canyon so the airfield was considered a higher priority target.

lionhead

While that may be so, those planes exit would have a difficult time out running and avoiding that many SAMs. It's not like the ship wouldn't have enough tomahawks to take out the SAMs as well.

Taking out the airfield was deemed necessary to complete the mission, taking out SAMs beyond the canyon was not. The original plan didn't take into account the pilots surviving the mission in the first place, so the Navy didn't bother with extra strikes on SAM sites. Maverick had to struggle to get them to approve this plan in the first place too, so he wouldn't be able to convince them to put even more effort into it.

lionhead

They still have to avoid the SAMs on the way out, no canyon to protect them then.

Factual error: The F14 could never have got airborne with such a short clear run unassisted. It needs about 800m, about half a mile.

Deliberate mistake: During the scenes where Maverick is flying the Darkstar spy plane, his helmet is lit up on the inside, so we can see his face. In reality the light would be reflecting off the plexiglass, meaning we would not be able to see his face, and he would not be able to see at all.

Movie Medic

Plot hole: Given the mission parameters, why wouldn't the facility be taken out with a barrage of ballistic missiles instead of weapons dropped from manned aircraft? "GPS jamming" wouldn't be a factor with ballistic missiles.

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Suggested correction: Likely incorrect. The movie makes a big deal out of the steep climb and descent of the narrow mountainous valley in which the target is located, and the wide arc of a ballistic missile from launch to strike would be geometrically unable to hit the target. It would in essence have to be launched straight down at the target (akin to what a Javelin does), something that in this case only aircraft overhead would be able to do.

Actually, the Tomahawks can use inertial guidance.

Sounds like a perfect mission for a B2.

TLAMs can navigate terrain like that.

Factual error: The left turn the Dark Star makes at Mach 9 is not possible. The G force stress would tear the aircraft apart. The turn radius is far too small at that speed.

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Suggested correction: Incorrect. Dark Star is a theoretical aircraft, so we have no idea of its capabilities. Also, race car drivers can pull 9G's and somehow live.

stiiggy

What is being said is not that it is subjected to 9G's, which is completely doable (Maverick gets to 10 during the mission sequence). What is being stated is that a turn with that radius at Mach 9 (not 9Gs) would generate a much higher G.

There is no scale given, so it is unknown how tight the turn radius is and, consequently, how many g's would be produced.

Again, as Dark Star is purely hypothetical, we have no idea of its capabilities or positive G capabilities. What's to say that it doesn't have a way of being able to execute such turns? You are comparing it to an actual aircraft, not a theoretical one.

stiiggy

Even being theoretical, such a turn in that speed is not just a matter of a slightly better technology, but a difference that would be almost science fiction at this point. Darkstar is based on the Lockheed Martin SR-72, which can theoretically get to Mach 6. Even at Mach 6, to make a U turn would take a turn radius of more than 200 miles. I understand your point, that being fictional it can do whatever the filmmakers want, but that would in no way meet reality.

Suggested correction: You are basing this opinion on the capabilities of conventional aircraft. Dark Star isn't real and doesn't have to be realistic.

stiiggy

Some very rough dead reckoning based on screen grabs of the turn show that if the plane had been similar in size to the SR-71 and had pulled that turn at mach 10 the pilot would be experiencing 970-990 G.

Factual error: When the blue tactical screen is shown, four ships are displayed. Bottom ship is labeled CG-49. CG-49, the USS Vincennes, was a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser that was decommissioned in 2005, and scrapped in 2011.

Revealing mistake: During the scene with Maverick and Rooster in the F-14A, you can see the cockpit of the F-18F being reflected off Rooster's visor on the helmet.

Factual error: The flame coming out of the engine exhaust port on Darkstar when the scram jet is engaged is wrong. That speed at which the burnt gas is being ejected should show the classic supersonic shock diamonds.

Continuity mistake: In the first scene when Maverick enters the airbase on his motorcycle it is mid-morning based on the sun and shadows. When he takes off in the test jet it is pre-dawn.

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Suggested correction: The movie sequencing/reveal is shoddy for this. Prior to him uncovering the motorcycle and heading out he slaps the calendar on the wall where it says, If I recall, "Mach 8." the day before on the calendar says something like "training" or "physical test" or something (I honestly forgot). That happens the first day ("afternoon") as shown with him on the treadmill; he sleeps on-base to get up "pre-dawn" and that's when the admiral arrives and he takes off.

kayelbe

This shot is likely referring to the fact that at Mach 10 he's travelling so fast towards the west that the sun (which only just set) appears to be rising again, as he outraces the darkness.

Travelling that far west would bring aircraft and pilot well over the pacific. No chance to find a lift back there.

I've watched this movie many more times since my comment. The runway assigned is "21", which has a heading of 210°, roughly southwest. This puts him facing the setting sun, but at his speed he's covering such a distance that he's actually seeing it "set" again. Even with the turn, the POV of the breakup appears still heading west. Somehow he ends up in rural (Northern?) California, walking all night to arrive at the diner for breakfast.

kayelbe

Factual error: The TLAM cruise missiles launched at the runway are subsonic. They could not catch up with and pass the Super Hornets.

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Suggested correction: It's not defined how fast the hornets are flying, and considering the mission I doubt that they would be running tanks in order to extend their range - so it could be possible that the hornets are flying slower than the max speed of the TLAM's.

With respect, the film does mention their speed: 660 knots, equal to 1,222 km/h, or Mach 0.99.

FleetCommand

That's their speed once the actual attack run began in the canyon. Could have easily been going much slower while on approach over the water.

660 knots indicated, at high altitude, seems like it would be over the speed of sound.

Character mistake: The Admiral refers to Top Gun as Maverick's final post. As Maverick is a Naval aviator, it should be referred to as his final duty station. The army uses the term post.

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Suggested correction: "Post", in the Navy, is also used in the same manner as "adjourned" or "dismissed". It could be argued that the Admiral was stating this is the last duty station from which he will "post".

kayelbe

Factual error: The pilots are not wearing actual Super Hornet, heads-up display helmets. And, they would not be using clear eye shields in the daytime. Of course, if they were using the sun-tinted shields, you wouldn't be able to see all the acting going on inside those oxygen masks.

Factual error: During real-world training exercises, aviators are told to keep a 500 to a 1000 ft safety bubble around them at all times. In multiple scenes you can see where they are almost flying in a wingtip formation.

Movie Medic

Factual error: During the steep climb after the bombs are dropped, the max Gs would occur at the initial stages of the pull up. Once the aircraft is maintaining a steep nose high attitude, the Gs should no longer be that high, let alone increasing towards 9-10 G. If they kept pulling that many Gs, they would be flying a loop instead of climbing.

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Suggested correction: To be fair in all instances of showing this climb they show the increase in Gs and them straining during the pull, not after they have levelled out already. The climb might be shown as taking longer for dramatic reasons.

lionhead

Factual error: One of the major plot points is the second aircraft "buddy lasing" so that the bombs will hit the target. Since the target is a non-moving structure, the coordinates would have been programmed into the mission computer onboard the aircraft ahead of time so there would be no reason to have to manually find and aim the laser to guide the bombs.

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Suggested correction: It was mentioned in the movie that the location was GPS jammed, so they cannot get the exact coordinates for the bunker beforehand, therefore it requires this mission to have the F-18/A pairs and buddy lase the bombs to the target.

That's another mistake. GPS jamming is a form of radio frequency jamming. There is no such jamming in place. The aircraft are in constant two-way contact with their carrier group.

FleetCommand

GPS is only one part of the radio frequency spectrum. Radar is another, radio communications another (actually a number of different frequencies). A GPS jammer does not block radio communication - unless it's a broad spectrum jammer - which could then interfere with the radar they are flying low to avoid. In the first gulf war GPS jammers were sold to Iraq by Russia - and the US mentioned that several were destroyed with GPS guided devices.

And that's yet another mistake. Without a broad spectrum jammer in place, F-35 could deliver its payload using NAVCON guidance. Another issue is that the so-called GPS jamming was so clean it didn't even cause crackle on other radio frequencies.

FleetCommand

Character mistake: Phoenix says Hangman is the only active-duty pilot in the Navy with a confirmed kill, but she is wrong because Maverick has 3 confirmed kills and is still an active-duty Navy pilot, even though he has been flying test aircraft. (00:25:10)

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Suggested correction: She says, "you are looking at the only naval aviator on active duty with a confirmed air-to-air kill." She isn't wrong. Maverick was not an active-duty navy aviator since three years before that moment and would not become one until near the end of the film, i.e, a week later. Second, films are allowed to show characters that make in-universe mistakes. She corrects herself near the end of the film at 1:58:20, saying Maverick is an active-duty navy pilot with five kills.

FleetCommand

Maverick is still an active duty Naval aviator the entire time.

People on active duty get promoted based on their service length. In this film, Maverick has not received a promotion for 30 years, and more importantly, has not scored a single aerial kill in 30 years.

FleetCommand

He's had a few promotions in 30 years. In 1986, he was an O-3. In this film, he is an O-6. He hasn't been promoted at the same rate as his peers, for sure, but that's just who he is. He didn't want to be in a position where he couldn't fly anymore. On that note, he's not assigned to a Fighter Squadron at the beginning of the film, but to a test pilot billet - so technically, Phoenix was correct in her thinking if not her choice of words.

kayelbe

Cyclone graduated in 1988. 34 years later, he's an Admiral and air boss. Maverick graduated two years earlier and stayed a Captain for Amelia's entire life, despite having flown missions in Iraq, among other things. Where did all his service time go? The answer is a "dishonorable discharge." He got his service time annulled because of his escapades involving "The Admiral" (Penny's father), "the Other Admiral", and Admiral Cain. He got fired. In the real world, he'd get fired upon.

FleetCommand

You are assuming way too much. While it's true that the Navy would likely encourage him to retire long before the events of the new movie, it's spelled out in the film that he hasn't advanced because he wants to keep flying. He's a maverick, plain and simple. If he has to piss off an Admiral to keep from getting promoted to a desk job, he'd do it.

kayelbe

Let me quote what you just said: "it's spelled out in the film that he hasn't advanced!" There you go. Do you know what else has been spelled out in the film? That at 00:25:10 film time, Hangman was the only active-duty pilot in the Navy with a confirmed kill.

FleetCommand

Other mistake: In the Darkstar takeoff sequence, there is a cockpit shot where Maverick looks back after passing over the Admiral, then looks forward into the cockpit. You can see that the landing gear handle is still in the "down" position and the 3 "gear down and locked" lights are illuminated. At this point in the flight the gear has already been retracted (confirmed visually in the previous external shot).

Factual error: While flying out, Maverick strikes an object, tearing off his front landing gear. This would have led to a loss of hydraulic fluid, making it impossible to raise or lower his main mounts. It would probably lead to a complete loss of hydraulic fluid to all control surfaces, making it impossible to fly the plane.

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Suggested correction: The F-14 has two separate hydraulic systems: the flight hydraulic system and the combined hydraulic system. Only the combined system is connected to the landing gear. Maverick would be unable to raise his main gear, but all control surfaces would remain operational. In addition to that, the landing gear can be isolated from the combined system, so it would be possible for both systems to remain operational.

HTH

Rear Admiral: The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is headed for extinction.
Maverick: Maybe so, sir. But not today.

More quotes from Top Gun: Maverick
More trivia for Top Gun: Maverick

Question: How were the ones who crashed/ejected rescued if they were in dangerous enemy territory?

Answer: Are you referring to Phoenix and Bob? They ejected over California, during training. The only members of Dagger Flight to eject/crash during the actual mission in enemy territory were Maverick and Rooster.

kayelbe

More questions & answers from Top Gun: Maverick

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