Maverick is a hot pilot. When he encounters a pair of MiGs over the Persian Gulf, his wingman is clearly outflown and freaks. On almost no fuel, Maverick is able to talk him back down to the Carrier. When his wingman turns in his wings, Maverick is moved up in the standings and sent to the Top Gun Naval Flying School. There he fights the attitudes of the other pilots and an old story of his father's death in combat that killed others due to his father's error. Maverick struggles to be the best pilot, stepping on the toes of his other students and in a different way to Charlie, a civilian instructor to whom he is strongly attracted. Written by John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Errors and Explanations
Internet Movie Database
- The distance between the aircraft after Goose takes the picture. The other pilot may have started to ease away.
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers)
- Navy rules state on tactical jets, oxygen shall be worn from takeoff until landing, a rule broken throughout the movie. Real Navy/Marine Corps pilots break this rule all the time as well.
Incorrectly regarded as Goofs
- All Navy pilots must have NOMEX flight gloves with them. They are not required to (and in fact, do not always) wear them.
- When Maverick launches for the final dogfight scene, he shortly announces, "Maverick's supersonic. I'll be there in 30 seconds." The viewer may incorrectly think the air battle is taking place 150 miles away, which would mean it would take him almost 12 minutes to arrive (travelling at Mach one (at sea level, 761.2 mph, faster than it is at altitude). The battle is 150 miles away from the disabled communication ship SS Layton which is being rescued, not 150 miles from the carrier from which the Tomcats were launched.
- At the end of the movie, Maverick and the rescued crew meet up on the fight deck. The viewer may incorrectly think the engagement has taken place 120 miles away (making it impossible for the rescued crew to arrive so quickly). It in fact takes place 120 miles from the SS Layton, not the carrier (the viewer is not told how far from the carrier the battle occurs, though indications are that it is within 30 miles).
- Maverick's declaration of "I'm not leaving my wingman" may seem odd to some viewers, as the wingman's job is to follow the lead pilot. Maverick remembered the lesson that he learned when he lost a dogfight in school, as to why it is important to never leave your wingman. Had he done so, he would've put his crew and Iceman and Slider at risk.
- When turning in his wings at the beginning of the film, Cougar talks about 'almost orphaning' his new baby daughter. If he'd died she would still have a mother. An orphan is anyone who has lost one parent; you don't have to lose both parents to be orphaned.
- While the F-14 Tomcat was capable of simultaneously tracking and attacking six targets at once from long range, the rules of engagement for hostile situations arising during peacetime stipulate that the intercepting aircraft must first visually acquire the radar contacts, and verify their intentions. Had the MiGs turned away and headed for their home without firing a shot in anger, then the Tomcats would not have been allowed to shoot at them. If the Tomcats were responding to either a hostile action against friendly forces, or simply acting in self-defense, only then would they be allowed to shoot down the MiGs. All of this requires the crews to keep the MiGs in sight, thus negating the use of missiles from beyond visual range.
- Flight crews are seen throughout the film wearing golf shirts under their flight suits. While it is more common to wear a t-shirt under the flight suit, in the 1980's up until the early 2000's, crews did have the option to wear a golf shirt with their squadron colors under their flight suits.
- At the beginning when Maverick and Cougar are flying back to the ship and they are sweating running out of fuel before Maverick can talk Cougar down, this would not have been that much of a big deal. The carrier would have launched a tanker and refueled the planes. Even if Cougar was too shaken to land on the carrier, with the help of tankers, they could have diverted to a land based runway which is infinitely easier to land at. He may have been too shaken to complete the refuelling procedure.
- After Mitchell drops out of TOPGUN, Viper tells him: "That isn't something the State Department tells dependents when the battle happens on the wrong side of some line." The State Department does not notify military dependents of the death of a service member. The Defense Department does. Goose got it right when he joked in the cockpit after being nailed by Jester. While technically correct about which Executive Department sends notification to next of kin of deceased service members, its obvious from the context Viper means something else. When American military personnel are involved in "black" operations, or anything potentially embarrassing, e.g. combat "over the wrong line on some map" as Viper says, State would no doubt have some influence over the details released to family, being the department charged with overseeing our foreign relations. So what Viper means is, "The State Department doesn't let the Defense department tell people the true story."
- In the scene where Maverick is in Top Gun flying against Jester. In one scene he says he's going to hit the brakes. He hits the brakes and goes up so it look like Jester should fly underneath. In the next shot you can see Jester fly over Maverick. This is not a mistake, the Aircraft is pulling a high alpha maneuver, in this case 'hitting the brakes' by rapidly orienting the aircraft in a different direction, using the body and wings to slow the aircraft down rapidly. The Russian SU-27 Flanker is famous for this (search cobra maneuver) and the F-14 was capable of doing it as well. The aircraft continues in level flight even though the nose is oriented upwards (high angle of attack). As much as Top Gun makes mistakes with reference to aviation, this is not one of them.
- When the MiGs fire a missile, its not a Exocet, its a AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. Exocet's are anti-ship missiles. They are not effective against other aircraft. The MiG's were not yet within firing range of the ship, but were involved in a dogfight, for which the air-to-air Sidewinder missile is the more effective weapon. Most aircraft are able to carry multiple munitions.
- In the two dog fight sequences, when Maverick uses his speed brakes to "bleed off" air speed to cause the MIGs on his tail to overshoot him, the nose of his Tomcat pitches up and the MIGs pass beneath him. When pilots do this maneuver to evade pursuit by faster aircraft, loss of airspeed results in loss of lift which cause the aircraft to nose down and lose altitude, and the pursuer to pass above them. Closing the speed brakes and applying afterburner then brought the nose back up in a position to fire missiles into the opponent aircraft's exhaust pipe. The speed brake on the Tomcat is on top of the fuselage, and when actuated causes the aircraft to momentarily pitch nose up.
- In the last battle. Mav is ordered to launch his alert five. While hooking up to the catapult we see a man holding his left hand flat and placing two fingers sideways into it. That means you are plugging in an external power source. You would not do that during launch. You obviously haven't stood many alert 5's. Alert 5 or Alert 7 means that the aircraft must be able to be launched 5 (or 7) minutes from the time the order is given. This means that the crew has to be strapped into the aircraft, on the catapult and hooked up to external power in order to have the aircraft's systems checked and ready for immediate launch. Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) take several minutes to align. If they were not already aligned when the launch order was given, the crew would not be ready to launch on time. Once the order is given to launch, all you should have to do is start the motors, disconnect external power, wipe out the flight controls and hit the road. The man in this shot is requesting to disconnect the external power.
- During scene when Tom Cruise is considering his options to graduate with his class and looking over the Miramar run way as an F-14 passes by to land, it is shown with the tail hook extended down for landing on a ship. Navy pilot regularly practice landings with the tailhooks down. At certain Naval airbases such as Pax River, Oceana, Pensacola, etc., there are markings on the runways that resemble the carrier deck, and even include the IFOLS lighting system. This is not a mistake.
- In the scene at the beginning of the movie when the Admiral walks into to flight control room on the aircraft carrier and asks "Who's up there. Great, Maverick and Goose"; he is only wearing pilot wings on his uniform. As the scene progresses when Maverick and Cougar tangle with the Migs, the admiral is in the control room and his uniform changes to being completely decorated. The subject that enters the scene is not an Admiral he is a Commander.
- 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). 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. Corrected by rswarrior. Further, as stated in the special features on the Blu-Ray release, Goose was supposed to have waited before ejecting the seats so the canopy has time to clear since modern canopies can't be punched through.
- While in the trailer reviewing Maverick's flying, "put on the brakes and he'll fly right by..." Charlie is wearing a grey skirt. In the next scene while she is out by Maverick's bike she is wearing a black skirt. Charlie is wearing an entirely different ensemble, not just a different skirt, as is Maverick. During the trailer briefing he is in uniform, but at his motorcycle he is in civilian clothing. This indicates a run-in at a later time.
- 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 as the airbrake on the F-14 is actuated by a small slide button on the side of the quadrant itself. This is actually very accurate. The F-14 the throttle is reverse to what most airplanes of it's day. So to throttle up or faster you pulled the throttle and to slow down you pushed. The reason for this is so that during the jarring launch of a pitching deck. The throttles could not accidentally retard and thus not provide enough thrust. Throttles have sense been updated and the F-18 has a friction screw that will not allow the throttle to retard.
- In the opening dog fight scene (which took all of a couple minutes) they go from bright sun (Cougar loses his bogey in the sun) to being almost night time when Mav attempts to land on the carrier the first time. Two things: When an aircraft is at altitude, it will be brighter longer than down on sea level. Second, we don't know how long it took to fly back after the dog fight. If it was late afternoon for the dog fight, it could very well be getting dark on the return trip.
- Before "classes" begin, the pilots are told that they would be flying against planes that are faster than their F-14's. The F-14's top airspeed is over 500 mph faster than the F-5's, and more than DOUBLE that of the A-4. Corrected by John W Rosa The statement doesn't mean BOTH the F5 and A4 are faster. Only that the F14s will fly against faster planes. And since the F5 isn't playing an F5 in the film, but is playing a ficticious MIG 28 made up for the story, no one can say it isn't faster. '
- At Top Gun, Maverick does a fly by of the tower. He flies by, the camera cuts to the guy drinking coffee who spills it on himself. Then the camera cuts back to the sky and Maverick flies by again. Corrected by John W RosaThis is an artistic choice to heighten the impact of the moment, not a mistake of editing, just as "slow-motion" isn't an accidental drop of film speed that makes everything happen unrealistically slow.
- When Cougar lost the edge after, he wouldn't have given his wings to his Commanding Officer. Handing in your wings is merely a phrase, not something people do. Corrected by John W Rosa Character choice. It may not be required, but it's certainly his option to hand them in, throw them out or even swallow them.
- During the opening sequence of "cat shots" off the carrier deck, an F-14 is hooked into a catapult. As it's being launched, the camera switches to a deck member ducking as it goes by in the background. However, the plane going by is actually an A-6 Intruder. Corrected by John W Rosa This is a montage of shots randomly depicting the daily routine of carrier duty on the deck. The shots are not meant to be a continuous stream of real time. No mistake.
- The film makes several references to a 'MiG 28' when in fact all MiG aircraft are odd-numbered. No 'Mig 28" ever did or ever will exist. Corrected by John W RosaAnd "Maverick", "Goose" and "Iceman" don't exist either. The jet was actually an American F5, not a MIG at all, and since it doesn't look like any real MIG, the makers created a ficticious MIG model for the ficticious pilots to ficticiously fight. It's a fantasy, not a documentary. The MIG-28 designation was intentional, not a "mistake".
- When Maverick and Goose are in the water after ejecting you can clearly see the boat that films them. Corrected by Jacob La Cour Not true!
- 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. 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).
- In the final dogfight, Hollywood is being pursued by a MiG that has radar lock on him. A few seconds later the camera shot changes to the cockpit of the MiG showing his radar locking in on Hollywood's plane (again), but didn't he already have radar lock on him? That's the point. Hollywood supposedly broke radar lock, and the MiG had to reacquire him as the target.
- In the scene after Maverick goes to Viper's house to ask for "his options", he is shown sitting on his motorcycle at the end of a runway watching a plane coming in to land. The plane has its tailhook down, which should only be down while landing on the deck of a carrier. This obviously was footage of a carrier landing being reused. And in the very next shot it shows him watching the plane accelerating away with afterburners glowing, which contradicts the earlier shot of the plane landing. Corrected by Jazetopher Where do you think they practice the tailhook manuever? If the first time that a pilot learned to use the tailhook was on a carrier, many a pilot might die flying off the end of it into the ocean. Remember that this is a "training" program for pilots as well. Also, the afterburners are bringing him up to speed, possibly to circle back and repeat the manuever.
- 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. 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.
- 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. Corrected by shortdanzr Or they could have played a real volleyball game and switched sides.
- 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. 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.
- At the end of the movie, how did the flight deck crew know to cheer about what happened in the air? There would be no way for the news to spread THAT quickly for them to cheer & surround the F-14's to congratulate them when they first land back on the carrier. Corrected by Toolio There is plenty of time for the crew to be informed of the news via headphones that the crew wore, PA system or just word of mouth.
- In the opening flight scene when Cougar is having a nervous breakdown and can't land his plane or talk, you hear the controller say 'Cougar you are at three quarters of a mile call the ball'. Cougar then replies 'roger ball' in a cool calm voice which is inconsistent with the previous scene showing a speechless, rattled Cougar. Cougar doesn't say "roger ball", the air traffic controller says "rise your ball". So it is the air traffic controller who sounds rather calm.
- 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? Because he is doing the job he loves and doesn't care about promotion. I doubt the chances of promotion are that great doing his job anyway. And if he is good at his job, the powers-that-be would not promote him out of that position.
- 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. 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.
- The MiG-28s supposedly carried Exocet Anti-Ship missiles. The Exocet are French and are used by NATO countries, not the Soviets. Also, there would never be a "MiG-28" since Soviet aircraft numbers are always odd (MiG-19, MiG-21, MiG-25 etc). Plus, the Soviets used specialized anti-ship aircraft such as the Tu-22, not fighters, for such missions, and if the final dogfight took place far out in the ocean, where did the fighters come from? The Soviets did not have a carrier capable of launching fixed-wing aircraft at that time. It is never stated nor implied in the film that the Migs are Soviet.
- Just before Goose and Mav go down in a flat spin, they are flying over desert and mountains, yet somehow after the crash they have to be recovered by a rescue chopper out in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight. Corrected by William Bergquist You can hear Iceman on the radio saying that Maverick is in a flat spin and is headed out to sea. When they're rescued much of the horizon is obscured by spray thrown up by the helicopter.
- In the scene in the bathroom, you see Maverick walking through the doors, they say 'ladies room'. When they are in the bathroom, though, the writing should be backwards, as it is the back of the door and reflected in the mirror but it is written exactly the same, the words are on the wrong side of the doors as well. The writing on the back of the door would be backwards from the inside, but because it is reflected in the mirror it looks as if it is written properly.
- 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. He isn't dead at that stage, just seriously injured. He dies later in the base hospital.
- In the whole movie the pilots are controlling the throttle with their right hand. But in reality, the throttle is placed on the left hand side and the right hand is used to control the stick. At no time do the pilots control the throttle & joystick with the opposite hands, it only looks like it when they shoot the scene from the front looking back.
- Maverick is seen riding his motorcycle down the runway while jets go whipping by and he is not wearing a helmet. Wearing a helmet on a naval base is mandatory, even in states which permit riders to go helmetless on the public streets. But we already know that Maverick is a rebel - he does a flyby after 'killing' Jester even though he was ordered not to.
- At Top Gun, when Ice confronts Mav wondering who was covering Cougar while Mav was "show boating" with the MiG, Mav should have pointed out that the first MiG had already "bugged out" and he was, in fact, covering Cougar by engaging the second MiG. There is no training school in the world that tells the pilot to engage an enemy aircraft by flying inverted above it. Maverick should have flown behind the plane and illuminated it with his missile control radar and attempted to achieve a lock-on in order to send a message to the Mig pilot. If the Mig pilot had fired at Cougar, Maverick would not have been able to engage the Mig from his position (apart from kamikazeing into it). He would therefore not have been able to stop the Mig from shooting again or to get revenge if Cougar had been hit. Iceman is correct when he asks who was covering Cougar.
- The guy in the tower drinking coffee works at both Mirimar and the Enterprise? The air traffic control officer is a different person in the two scenes. It is just an amusing coincidence that they both happen to take a drink just before Maverick does his flyby.
- In the bar scene at the beginning of the movie when Iceman is talking to Maverick the camera is behind Maverick and shows him drinking a beer. The scene switches views to where the camera is behind Iceman and Mav is not drinking, then the scene switches back behind Mav and he is drinking from the bottle again. The bottle is merely being held out of frame. The bottle wouldn't have been held up to his face during the length of the conversation.
- Any pilot that disobeyed a direction by air traffic control and conducted a "fly by" would immediately lose their flying status, yet Maverick does it twice. Viper made it clear that he was cutting Maverick a break the first time he did a fly by, by not losing his flying status. The second time was at the end of the movie, so we don't see if he lost his flying status or not, although it is doubtful that they would take it away from him since he was a hero.
- In the scene where Charlie is introduced, you would not have to tell a bunch of experienced officers (ie Lieutenants), that they don't have to salute civilians. Corrected by Grumpy Scot Jester is informing them that the woman is a civilian, and not military personnel. They already know you don't salute civilians.
- Maverick followed Jester below the Hard Deck, yet only Maverick got into trouble. Corrected by wolfchild Because Jester was the target and could do that - Maverick followed him below the Hard Deck and then engaged his weapons - a direct violation of the rules. '
- If Viper had flown with Maverick's father in Vietnam then he would have rushed up and slapped Maverick on the back at the first chance, rather than being aloof and only finally putting his mind at rest about what happened after Maverick crashes a plane and loses the edge. Also as whatever happened to Maverick's father occurred some fifteen years previously, Viper wouldn't have hesitated in telling his dead mate's son what happened even if for some strange reason it was still classified. This isn't a film mistake - it's your opinion on how Viper should behave. Maybe he didn't like Maverick (or his father?) and wanted him to be uncomfortable.
- In the ejection scene where Goose buys the farm his helmet is clearly seen flying off during the sequence (it's even in slo-mo) yet when Maverick reaches him in the water he's wearing it. Goose's helmet does not go flying off. In the slo-mo section of the ejection scene look closely and you will see Goose's head (which is still in the helmet) get forecd forward when it comes in contact with the canopy. At no time does the helmet ever come off his head.
- In the opening dog fight scene, the wings on his F-14 change continuously from "swept" to "unswept". "Swept" wings are a delta shape and "unswept" are more clearly open. The changes in shape are dependent upon speed and would not change so quickly between scenes. The wing sweep feature of the F-14 can be either computer controlled or pilot controlled, allowing for greater manuverability during dogfights. Un-swept wings allow for tighter turns during a dogfight, especially when using the 20mm cannon.
- In the briefing just before the final dogfight the pilots are told that the "MiGs" carry the Exocet anti ship missile. This is actually a French missile. The French have sold this missile to countries that do not like us... for this reason the USS Stark, a Navy Frigate, was hit by an Exocet missile back some years ago.
- At the end Tom Cruise asks permission for a flyby. He is told "No, the pattern is full." There are only two planes and a helicopter in the air and the pattern is full? I think not. Corrected by Reformed Dispatcher Could it be that he was giving a convenient excuse (and plausible to anyone not within visiblity range to see for themselves)? It's obvious he isn't a fan of Maverick's fly-bys.
- In real life Maverick would have been about 5 inches too short to get into the navy as height restrictions still applied in the mid 1980s. Tom Cruise is 5'7". That average american man is only 5'10". I have a hard time believing that the Navy would have turned away everyone under 6'0" tall. That would have seriously limited their pool to choose from.
- In the opening dogfight, Cougar says "I'm gonna break high and right, see if he's really alone". During actual patrols, the two aircraft would never be on each others wingtip. Normal operation call for them to be about a mile apart and a thousand feet different in altitude - the better to see each others "six". When jet fighters come into battles in pairs, as the MiGs did in the first fight, they will often fly in tight formation to appear as one aircraft on radar so that when the battle begins, the enemy thinks that they're dealing with a single bogey, but are really dealing with two. When Cougar breaks away to see if he's really alone, this advantage continues because the MiG gets Cougar out of position at the beginning of the dogfight.
- In the final celebration scene aboard the carrier, there is a crowd of flight deck crewmen cheering, and if you listen and watch carefully, you can hear and see one of them yell, 'All right, Tom'. That could be due to the fact that Iceman's real name is Tom Kaczansky.
- While the Goose is falling to the water after having broken his neck and died, he puts his arms up to direct his parachute. I just finished watching this movie and i'm pretty sure that the person directing the parachute is supposed to be Maverick.
- At the end of the movie, when Maverick's aircraft is launched, there's a shot from an F-14 looking back from at the ship. Maverick was supposedly launched from one of the bow catapults, but the shot was clearly taken from an aircraft that had just come off one of the waist cats. Also, the pilot of the aircraft does a roll as he climbs away from the ship, a useless maneuver that the movie's director insisted on because it looked cool. The shot was not take from an aircraft that had taken off from one of the waist cats, it was taken from an aircraft doing a fly by (look at the exhaust trail) on the carrier. An aircraft doesn't have the airspeed that short after take off to do a roll.
- On the last flight that Maverick takes a line of dialogue is heard - "He's on your left at three o'clock." Three o'clock tends to be on the right. Actually, the time referenced (3 o'clock) doesn't refer to the right or left side on it's own. By saying "on your left, 3 o'clock" it means, turn to your left, imagine a clock on your right, then imagine 3 o'clock on that clock. It could be on your right, 12 o' clock, on your left, 6 o'clock, dead ahead, 3 o'clock. The time alone isn't the indication of location, as a rapid height reference is needed too.
- Throughout the movie, Charlie keeps referring to Maverick as Lieutenant, even though his rank insignia (2 silver bars connected) is Captain. One silver bar is the rank for Lieutenant. Corrected by Bruce Minnick This is wrong. In the Air Force and the Army, the double silver bars are the insignia of a Captain (grade 0-3). In the Navy, the double silver bars are the insignia of a Lieutenant (grade 0-3). The Navy does have a Captain rank, but it is a few grades higher (O-6) and is represented by a silver eagle (like an Air Force or Army Colonel). '
- A Navy Commander (O-5) will NEVER be the Commanding Officer of an aircraft carrier, he or she will ALWAYS be at least a Captain (O-6). The O-5 in the movie is not the commander of the carrier, he is the commander of the airwing (aka CAG by Navy terms). He is the officer in charge of all the squadrons on board the carrier. The Aircraft Carrier Commander is a completely separate individual, never portrayed in the movie. His job is to deal with driving the carrier around and the overall mission picture.
- When Mav and Goose eject (and Goose is killed), notice how the hatch hovers over the plane for nearly a full second. Pretty tough thing to do at 750 mph, huh? In reality the hatch goes first, then there is a delay before the seats go, but there is NO WAY to collide with the hatch in mid air - when the F-14 canopy is jettisoned it flies straight back between the vertical stabs like a field goal kick in the NFL. There was an actual incident where a RIO was killed during ejection during a flat spin exactly as Goose died in the movie. This is where the idea for Goose's cause of death came from. Then the Tomcats ejection seats were fixed to incur a longer delay so this would not happen again.
- Maverick states that the song 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' was a favourite of both his parents. However, his father disappeared in 1965 and the song wasn't written until 1967. I believe he says it was his mother who loved the song and asked him to play it over and over. He says she died "shortly after him" but doesn't state exactly when. Corrected by Reformed Dispatcher.
- In the opening scene where Goose takes a photo of the the Russian MiG you can see that if he was inverted at such a close range the tails on the planes would be touching. This is an impossible move (and the cut of sequence looks a little rocky too). Not so...the F5 (Russian Mig) has a single tail. The F14 has dual tails, so the Mig's would just slide between.
- Definitely the biggest mistake in the movie. Goose would have never died in the way that he did. On all of the F14 models, including the F14As that they were flying, the canopy has explosive bolts holding the glass to the metal on the canopy itself. When the ejection sequence is initiated, the bolts explode, shattering the canopy plexiglass. This was invented to prevent what happened to Goose. Actually this is not a mistake, it is based on a number of real-life incidents with the F-14, which did indeed have a problem which led to some severe injuries (and I believe at least one fatality) before it was corrected. The problem was that in a position where the aircraft was subjected to severe asymmetric thrust it would enter a flat spin (i.e. one where the nose is roughly level with the horizon). As there is little or no airflow over the control surfaces (the aircraft is moving rapidly downward, but has virtually no forward airspeed at all) it is a very difficult situation to recover from. The original F-14 ejection sequence discarded the canopy first, which was supposed to be blown backwards by the airflow. However in the flat spin situation this did not happen - the canopy remained in approximately the same position relative to the aircraft. When the seats blew a few seconds later, the pilot and RIO were ejected into the canopy. After several accidents of this type modifications were made, firstly to decrease the likelihood of a flat spin developing in the first place, and secondly to increase aircrew survivability in the event of a spin occurring. The second part of this included modifying the eject sequence so the canopy was shattered, rather than jettisoned.
- Goose could not have died by his head slamming into his cockpit. In addition to Tomcats having canopies that shatter automatically, the ejection chair is extremely tall, tall enough to protect the pilot's head. In the movie his chair is tiny. Tomcat canopies used to have explosive ejection. Only recent models introduced the shattering canopy
- In the final battle scene the carrier's captain is told both of the ship's catapults are out, so no more planes can be launched to help Iceman and Maverick. The USS Enterprise has FOUR catapults. When the statement was made that both catapults were broken and no planes can be launched, that can be a true occurrance. If you have the Waist catapults go down on you, you can't just jump to the other two on the bow. In a situation where they were launching alerts, the bow would be fully loaded with other aircraft. The only time they would probably be open is if 3/4 of the jets were in the air already, which they weren't.
- When they are playing volleyball, you can see that between each scene sometimes they have dogtags on and some scenes they don't. Because of the jumping around while playing, the dogtags are flipping around from front to back. So, depending on the camera shot, you may not see the tags.
- In many of the training scenes, there is a "hard deck" established - a flight level you cannot go below. Even though in one scene Maverick gets in trouble for breaking the hard deck, in other scenes all the planes are seen doing it and getting away with it. The hard deck can be the barometric altitude, not necessarily the altitude above ground level.
- In the scene where Maverick is preparing for launch as the "Alert 5" aircraft, he's shown to slide the canopy forward to close it. The Grumman F-14 has an aft-hinged, one piece canopy that locks in place when it closes, after being lowered into place. The canopy does not slide in any direction once closed. Actually this scene is correct (and actually filmed in a real F-14). The Tomcat's canopy comes down to the canopy rails and then slides forward about 3 inches to lock. The reverse happens when opening. It slides aft 3 inches and then lifts.