Top Gun

Question: So, Maverick is in Miramar (California) and must depart immediately for the Indian Ocean, some 12 time zones away. How do he (and all the others) get there in 24 hours, especially on the carrier, well rested and acclimated to the new time zone, ready to go to battle?

Answer: Who said it was 24 hours? When they move from one scene to another one, it's indicated that time has passed. Several hours to several days.

Question: This is probably a stupid question, but I know nothing at all about how these kind of aircrafts are flown. What exactly is the purpose of the guy sitting in the back of the plane? All they seem to do in the film is look in all directions for enemy aircrafts.

Answer: These aircraft are extremely complex; the presence of the backseater, variously known officially as the Weapon Systems Operator or Radar Intercept Officer, allows the pilot to focus on the immediate needs of flying the plane, as his backseater can take on many of the other tasks required. They serve as navigators, tacticians, bombardiers, weapons systems operators and, of course, as we see in the film, an extra set of eyes; they use their discretion in passing information to the pilot, ensuring that the pilot has only data that's important to the situation and isn't swamped by trivia. Without the distraction of having to fly the plane, they can often be better placed to coordinate between multiple planes, leading to situations where the backseater can be placed in command of the mission.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: Why does the air traffic controller call Maverick "Ghostrider"? Surely that isn't his call sign?

Macalou

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.

Question: I would like to know from a real Navy pilot if the scene is correct where Maverick's F-14 is right on Iceman's tail and he tells him to fly hard right to get out of his way. This leaves jet wash in his flight path and the jet goes down. Wouldn't a real pilot be trained to avoid this kind of danger from happening with the jet wash?

jcmann01

Answer: The original F-14A used the TF30 engine which was prone to compressor stall. This problem was fixed in later aircraft. https://theaviationist.com/2014/12/12/f-14b-engine-goose/.

Chosen answer: Probably not a lot of Navy fighter jocks on this site. Of course he'd be trained to avoid it, but Maverick is hyper-aggressive and is following Iceman way too closely. Had he been farther back he'd have avoided it.

Grumpy Scot

Question: When Mav meets Charlie in the bar, she makes a joke about his name and then he informs her it's his call sign. And she says "Oh, you're a pilot!" Considering the fact that she is an "important" civilian adviser at Top Gun and Mav is wearing his wings, wouldn't that have been obvious?

Answer: Charlie is playing dumb because she knows Maverick is trying to chat her up - he has no idea who she is and as she says later she sees a lot of pilots in there come and go.

Question: True or False: once a missile has been fired at you it's locked on to hit you and no way that banking hard would evade an incoming missile, unless you use countermeasures of flare and or chaff?

TShep81

Chosen answer: False. Missiles are fast, but they are not as agile as most fighter jets. One of the problems the first Sidewinder missiles encountered was that the Korean MiG-15's could simply out turn them (which is explained as the purpose of Top Gun in the movie). Missiles have gotten better, but so have the planes. In close quarter combat, like shown in this movie, fighters could potentially turn away from a missile.

Friso94

The Sidewinder came into US Navy use in 1956 after the Korean War had ended. The first air-to-air missile kill took place in the Vietnam War.

stiiggy

Answer: To clarify, there are different types of missiles with different types of seekers. IR (infrared), also known as heat seeking - these are used in close range and track the target aircraft's heat from its engine. To defeat this, the targeted aircraft would use a combination of maneuver and flare (designed to be a hotter heat signature than the engine). SAR (semi active radar) - medium range, where the firing aircraft uses its own radar to lock the missile onto the target. Once the missile has enough tracking fidelity of its own, it takes over its own guidance and the firing aircraft can maneuver away from the target. To defeat, the targeted aircraft uses a combination of maneuver and chaff (metal particles designed to trick the incoming missile into thinking that is the airplane). AR (active radar) - medium to long range, the missile uses its own radar system to track, acquire, and seek. It's defeated the same as SAR missiles.

CUAviator

Question: In many flight and pre flight scenes, Ice is shown wearing a blue collared shirt under his flight suit. Is it normal for pilots to wear street clothes under their flight suits as opposed to just an undershirt? What about pants?

Answer: After being stationed onboard an Aircraft Carrier for several years I can say your observations are correct. They should have a regulation white T under there. None of the pilots I know would wear a civilian T under their flight suit because it could mark them as an American, and it could contain chemicals that in a pure oxygen environment of the flight suit could have produced fumes.

James Rowell

Answer: During the timeframe the movie was shot, polo shirts were authorized under flight suits. They no longer are for two reasons - 1) the buttons are a FOD (foreign object damage) hazard and 2) the v-neckish does not provide enough flame protection. However, regarding color, every navy squadron or command is authorized to choose a color for their crew/turtle neck undershirt. If a color has not been specified, the color shall be navy blue or black.

Thanks! That makes sense in the movie: You can see several other pilot / RIO pairs with the same color Polo or undershirts on (red and yellow). Also, Goose and Mav are wearing white and other pairs are wearing black.

Chosen answer: Most likely? Charlie. He probably knows that there is something between the two and lets her know which explains the following scene where Charlie walks into the bar he is at.

shortdanzr Premium member

Question: Does anyone else think it was cheating for Jester to go below the hard deck after he was out-maneuvered by Maverick? He knew that it would be against the rules for Maverick to engage after he dropped below 10,000 ft.

Answer: Jester called "no joy" which ends the engagement. After that he can go below the hard deck, Maverick can't be credited with a kill that's below the hard deck and after the call of no joy.

stiiggy

In reality Jester's "No joy" ("I can't see you!") call would've been followed by Maverick's "Continue" ("I see you (and I'm about to shoot you down!")) and after that if Jester still would've gone under the hard deck the fight would've ended with a maneuver kill for Maverick. (enemy crashed into the ground). Only a "Knock it off" call would've ended the fight there and then.

"Continue" is not in the NATO Brevity Codes, therefore you answer is invalid.

stiiggy

Yes it is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiservice_tactical_brevity_code

Well, don't I look silly. Thanks for the correction sir :).

stiiggy

Your answer is basically just explaining what Jester was trying to achieve, but didn't address the question of motive. Jester's claim was that due to an unsafe condition he needed to terminate the engagement, while Maverick believed he was doing it to avoid getting caught in a disadvantageous situation where he could be "hit." The movie makes it appear Maverick was right so Jester doing it was cheating. It would be like an athlete who is behind claiming an injury to end a match without anyone yet winning in order to avoid losing.

Question: Question for the ex F14 Tomcat pilots out there... Does the "target locked" tone say when you are launching a Sidewinder sound exactly the same as the "warning tone," when someone has your aircraft locked? Or is that yet another Top Gun-ism?

stiiggy

Answer: I can't speak for the older ALR-45 or ALR-50 radar warning receivers, but in the case of ALR-67 it most certainly does not sound anything like the Sidewinder tone. A sidewinder tone is a low-pitched growling sound that gets stronger with the strength of the heat signature. Https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axPJcdvJxLs ALR-67 RWR has four different tones (scroll down to the bottom of the page): https://www.openflightschool.de/mod/book/tool/print/index.php?id=806.

Thank you sir.

Question: For any military pilots out there: Is it even realistic that Maverick's accident would've been investigated, concluded, and Mav would have been cleared and put back to flight status within the time-frame of the TOPGUN class? Wikipedia says TOPGUN in the 80's was only 5 weeks and today it's 9 weeks. I don't remember how far along they were when Mav and Goose crashed but I'm guessing 1/2 way through at most, so that gives 2-3 weeks to investigate and clear Maverick.

Answer: Totally unrealistic, especially since it was a fatal incident. These can take weeks and months to be investigated and the pilot returned to flight status.

stiiggy

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

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

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