Top Gun

Top Gun (1986)

79 corrected entries

(21 votes)

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: "Eject us" is nonsense in many 2-seat aircraft. The F-14, while having a single canopy, requires each pilot to eject themselves separately.

Correction: The pilot is able to eject himself and the copilot, each one does not need to eject themselves. It is that way in case the back seat person passed out he can still be saved.

Corrected entry: I don't remember there ever being an Alert 5 aircraft during normal flight operations, like Maverick was at the end of the movie. He should have been up in the air already. The Alert aircraft were normally set up before normal flight operations started in the morning.

Ken Hogan

Correction: I'm a former Air Boss. This situation actually does happen.

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 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).

Correction: Sorry, there are in fact plenty of hills near NAS Miramar. My apartment there was in Scripps Ranch, just on the Eastern edge of the runways, and overlooked the field from a height of about 150 feet.

Corrected entry: You can tell the scene where Goose dies is done in shallow water instead of the middle of the ocean, where it should be, because in the shot right after Goose splashes down into the water, Maverick takes a few steps to get to Goose instead of swimming over to him.

Correction: Maverick does not take a few steps to be with Goose. He is struggling to get behind Goose in the small raft.

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: And before that while in the water he moved his hand several times. Point being, he isn't dead at that stage, just seriously injured. He dies later in the base hospital.

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.

Correction: Goose is still alive after splashdown. He succumbs to his injuries on base.

Corrected entry: Pretty much everyone who fires a missile in this movie uses the stick's trigger. In a fighter aircraft, the trigger controls the radio/intercom or fires the gun. The red button on the far left fires weapons after the hat or castle switch selects them.

Correction: F/A-18 uses the trigger to fire missiles and guns. The pickle button is used to drop bombs.

Correction: On the F-14 Tomcat, the control stick trigger fires either guns or missiles (selectable). The weapons release button on the top of the stick drops bombs or other ordinance (selectable). The use of the stick controls in the movie looks correct.

Corrected entry: The helicopter on an aircraft carrier is usually one of the first aircraft airborne during flight ops. The helicopter should have been airborne already when they call to launch the rescue helicopter when Hollywood was shot down.

Ken Hogan

Correction: Sort of - a helicopter will be airborne for launch and recovery...usually. It is permissible to have an alert helo and either manned RHIB or plane guard surface unit for SAR coverage. Furthermore, once the launch and recovery cycle is complete, prior to the next launch (approximately 1.5 hours), helos will often land to get gas, swap crews, or swap actual aircraft.

Corrected entry: The training was conducted at Miramar, 5 (or so) miles from the beach. When Charlie confronts Maverick about his flying and he leaves on a motorcycle, he zooms up a hill away from the ocean leaving NTC SD (Naval Training Center San Diego - not Miramar) with the Coronado Bay Bridge - and lots of ocean water - in the background.

Correction: The hill he's zooming up is right off an I5 exit to the golden hill neighborhood so if he left Miramar, got on the freeway and exited there this would be a logical sequence. Also NTC SD is a few miles to the south from this filming location.

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: 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: 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

Continuity mistake: At the end, a victorious Maverick is hoisted on the shoulders of the guys. As he goes up, he isn't wearing sunglasses. His head goes out of the shot, and when he comes down, he's wearing a pair.

More mistakes in Top Gun

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.


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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