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

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

Suggested correction: They are the same earrings the light just hits them at different angles.

Character mistake: In the opening scene is a paragraph describing why the Top Gun school was started. The word "insure" is used when the word should have been "ensure". They wanted to guarantee the U.S. had superior pilots, not take out an insurance policy.

imshiffman

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

Suggested correction: Insure and ensure are equivalent in US usage, and are from the same Anglo-Norman root.

Having the same root word is irrelevant. Many distinct words have the same root. In the US "insure", "ensure", and "assure" are not equivalent, therefore this correction is not valid. One could argue that "insure" was used to mean to be protect against risk as "insure" doesn't specifically mean "take out an insurance policy." But generally one would use the phrase "insure against."

Bishop73

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

Suggested correction: There is a thin black line, but it's not necessarily connected as described. Life raft's have a sea anchor (basically a nylon basket which drags in the water) in order to slow their drift and keep them oriented with the sea behind the occupant (which is where that line is). So, it could be visible movie equipment, or it could be the sea anchor (or maybe they used the sea anchor attachment for the crew boat?).

Continuity mistake: In the final battle scene, which takes place way out over the water, in some of the F-14 shots, mountains can be seen in the background.

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

Suggested correction: How is this a mistake? The aggressors would have to come from a land base so there is every possibility of mountains being visible.

They are based in San Diego, Miramar Naval Air Station. Mountain can be seen from there but not what was filmed. Mountains shown are in Nevada.

Factual error: In all sequences where Maverick "puts on the brakes", he is shown pushing the throttle quadrant forward and pulling the stick back. This would put him in a full-afterburner climb, but you don't really stop and it doesn't work in a medium speed tail chase (which is easier to film). The air brake does effectively nothing on the F-14 because it is too small, and not deployable at full power.

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

Suggested correction: In the movie when Maverick "hits the brakes" he is not talking about the airbrakes. He rapidly pitches up the aircraft into a manoeuvre similar to the cobra (high G break) which makes the entire plane a massive airbrake. The reason he slams the throttles forward is so that he can catch the speed before the aircraft stalls.

In a turning fight, you are already loaded - already under G. 'Rapidly pitching up' is the default maneuver you are already doing. Pugachev's Cobra is not something the F-14 was capable of, as the maneuver requires the ability to rapidly generate significant angle of attack at low speed. Also, the cobra stalls the aircraft. You don't catch the aircraft before it stalls, you intentionally stall it. For that matter, fighter aircraft engaged in a turning fight are typically stalled. Fighters are not in the same category as most other airplanes :).

Also incorrect. When in a knife fight like that, you are not "rapidly pitching up" by default, every move is gradual and calculated, the only time you would be rapidly pitching up is for a "snapshot" of the enemy. Furthermore, fighter aircraft engaged in a turning fight are not "typically" stalled, you do NOT stall your jet in a fight like that. They'll be turning at either optimal AoA (Angle of Attack) OR the highest G for a snapshot of the enemy/to make an aggressive maneuver. In this situation, applying more thrust while causing a rapid onset of G is appropriate in the Tomcat, and while not able to pull a Cobra, you could still cause a disruption to whoever is chasing you - either forcing an overshoot or for them to break off to position for reattack.

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

Suggested correction: Not even Iran? Yemen?

No. Territorial waters don't extend all that far off the coast, and the water nearer those countries is the Gulf of Oman / Gulf of Aden / Arabian Sea, and wouldn't be referred to as the Indian Ocean.

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.

Character mistake: In the military, at the time of filming, basic protocol was that you wear your "cover" or hat when outside. When walking back from Goose's funeral, outside, Tom Cruise is carrying his hat.

morantis

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

Suggested correction: Goose's funeral is not shown in this movie.

Factual error: 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.

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

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

Suggested 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.

Factual error: During the dog fight at the end more aircraft can't be launched because "both" catapults are broken. Aircraft carriers have 4 catapults, not 2.

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

Suggested correction: The officer questioned the status of Willard and Simpkin, previously designated the pilots on alert on Cats 3&4. The reply was "both catapults are broken", meaning Cats 3&4. Doesn't explain Cats 1&2, however.

kayelbe

Continuity mistake: When Cougar is looking at the picture of his wife and child, it's a girl. When he is interviewed by the Captain, he says "I almost orphaned him..." (00:10:14 - 00:13:03)

PeterNZ

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

Suggested correction: He actually says "I almost orphaned 'em out there today" ie. Orphaned THEM not him.

stiiggy

Except he follows it up with "I've never even seen him." So he's talking about a boy. And before the orphan line he said "wife and kid", not "wife and kids", implying only one child.

Bishop73

Other mistake: When they go into the flat spin, Maverick is unable to pull the ejection handle due to high Gs. But in the F-14, there is an alternate ejection handle between the legs of the pilot.

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

Suggested correction: He is pinned forward, which is a peculiarity of the F14 as the pilot sits more aft than say an F/A18. Doesn't matter where the ejection handle is, he physically can't reach it.

stiiggy

Other mistake: Final scene, Enterprise CO and Maverick dialogue in locker room: the lockers behind them appear to be labelled for Maverick and Goose, the latter of course never lived to be based on ship.

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

Visible crew/equipment: When Charlie walks down to the front of the class in the hanger, Jester is the only one at the front. Look at the reflection of Maverick's glasses, and the reflection shows lots of people standing in front of him.

More mistakes in Top Gun

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

More quotes from Top Gun

Trivia: Charlie's date in her first bar scene is the real Viper from the actual Top Gun school, called Pete Pettigrew. He was the consultant on the film.

More trivia for Top Gun

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

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.