The Many Errors in Top Gun Maverick
A sequel that was 36 years in the making, Top Gun Maverick was released to massive box office success earlier this year. But for many fighter pilots in both ground based and naval aviation, the response to the movie was a collective, ‘mehhhh…’ of boredom and eye rolling.
The sequel has improved significantly over the first movie’s unforgivable errors. Where in one scene Maverick pulled both the throttle and flight stick back in an effort to gain altitude aggressively. In the real world, a pilot would actually push the throttle forward for maximum engine thrust to complete the aggressive manouevre. The error was so profound that in Top Gun Maverick, this scene was intetionally emphasised as quiet acknowledgement by Tom Cruise on the first movie’s stark mistake.
Other mistakes include the title itself where the official name of the special pilot training program is actually called, United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, or TOPGUN unlike the movie’s use of the colloqual name of ‘Top Gun’. A minor but neverthless important distinction.
Besdies the human actors, the actual stars of the show were marginally wrong as well. Instead of the F/A-18E Super Hornets used as the aggressors during the training scenes, in the real world, bandits (as confirmed enemy planes are called) would actually be flown by F-16Ns. The Navy’s very own variant of the ubiquitous F-16 Fighting Falcon used by the United States Air Force and many other Air Forces around the world.
Despite its departure from much of the real world tactial aviation, the sequel to the original Top Gun of 1986 has redeemed some of its glaring mistakes and remains an entertaining way of spending 130 minutes on Saturday afternoon.