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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Our tame fighter pilot has Top Gun: Maverick in his sights

Caveat 1: Nothing that happened in the movie was actually surprising, so, depending on your definition of spoiler, there may or may not be spoilers below. Caveat B: Per my agreement with the military lawyers in obtaining permission to write for Hagerty, I can't divulge what branch of the service I'm in.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/our-tame-fighter-pilot-has-top-gun-maverick-in-his-sights/
64 REPLIES 64
audiocage
Advanced Driver

"Seeing that I had returned without any bombs remaining on my jet, they were curious and excited to know what happened." The sheer nonchalance of this sentence made me laugh out loud. This is a level of badassery that few will ever attain. Boy howdy.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

No bombs left on the jet? NBD.

Glad you enjoyed it!
hyperv6
Collector

As a son of an ex Air Force man and growing up around enough planes to know my way around I refused to see the latest movie after seeing the original.

There is just so much crap here that it is as silly as any Fast and Furious.

I work in the racing industry and refused Days Of Thunder too also finding Stroker Ace more realistic. Same director go figure.

I think what is so frustrating is a movie like this if they stuck to the real thing it would have been a very hood movie and also paid respect to this who really do this for a living.

To me they cheapened the image levels that just make this a joke in the eyes of this who know better.

What was funny was I found myself unexpectedly at Fighter Town when it was at Miramar. I got to meet the real top gun pilots and I did ask them about the movie. Most did not take the movie personal but they all were alike in that is not how things really work.

Some noted they had wished they could do some of the things the movie had the F14’s doing.

I know it is entertainment but to me fighter pilots are a group of folks that really don’t get the credit they should and I hate to see them made into comic book like images.

Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

I'll have to check out Stroker Ace.

There are places in the DoD where making a Top Gun reference costs you $5!
hyperv6
Collector

The Stroker movie was much closer than Days Of Thunder to  the real thing if that era. 

I am good on sci-fi stuff for being entertained. But in movies involving the military I am more a Private Ryan or Band of Brothers kind of movie guy. 

I find the truth much more interesting resting than watching the A Team in air planes. 

 

hyperv6
Collector

Still the best racing movie was Grand Prix. 

Krippel
Intermediate Driver

I was also involved in racing for a number of years and we were CONSTANTLY quoting Days of Thunder! It was hilarious and always lightened things up in the paddock, or even the hot pits. Maybe because we had all seen and loved it as kids well before actually getting into the game, I dunno.
Even now though, I usually get sucked in if I happen to be flipping channels and catch it on TV. It’s a popcorn movie; I don’t think it was ever trying to be anything else
tommykat1
Intermediate Driver

Buzzkill. I stopped reading at the first spoiler. I think I will like this movie as much as I did "Ford vs. Ferrari." My buddy, who flew F15 Eagles for the Oregon Air Guard gave it a 10 out of 10, and he's a reliable source in my booklet.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Not trying to be a buzzkill, just calling it like I see it. As I said, I have plenty of coworkers who, like your Eagle driver buddy, really enjoyed the movie.
ccrvtt
Intermediate Driver

Any sentient adult knows that movies are entertainment loosely based on reality. I saw Top Gun: Maverick on IMAX and was very entertained. I was also aware of what I saw in the background: The U. S. military is extremely well-trained and efficient - why anyone would want to f-, er, mess with us is a mystery,

I am not a militarist nor have I served, but I find comfort in the knowledge that men & women the caliber of Mr. Arakes are operating the weapons systems that make the world a safer place. The gist of The Art of War by Sun Tzu is to let your enemy know that you are capable of defeating him so thoroughly that he never attacks.

I have also witnessed flyovers by both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds. Impressive is an understatement. These guys are the best.
Tinkerah
Engineer

What?? I can only "Like" a comment once?? C'mon!!
VMF218
Intermediate Driver

Put down the slide rule and enjoy the love of flying for a minute! There are very few people in the world who have had the opportunity to strap a jet to our butt and feel it rack our body as it rips through the envelope. Both Top Gun's did a great job of sharing with others what that feels like. What words are there for the joy of cat-shots, formation flying, or screaming through the Cascades on VR-1355? I've had a smile on my face for a week and have re-lived incredible memories. My dad earned a couple DFC's flying Corsairs (VMF-218) and we would have had nothing but joy watching this together.
As Staff Sgt. Matthews taught our class:
"I don't know but I've been told -
Navy wings are made of Gold.
And I don't know, but it's been said -
Air Force wings are made of lead."
- And may I also take this moment to offer my sincere movie-watching condolences to your wife.

Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Believe me, I love flying! And there's nothing like a great VR route, especially if there's lots odd mountainous terrain.

Kudos to your dad. I bet he had some great stories!

My wife thought your movie-watching comment was hilarious.
VMF218
Intermediate Driver

Growing up I was only vaguely aware that my dad had been a pilot. He never spoke of flying or the war, but he did share some of your disdain for lack of realism. I'd be watching Baa Baa Black Sheep and he would make remarks - "For crying out loud - you don't do a slow-roll in combat" or "There weren't any nurses on those islands". Regardless - that show did have an important effect. Before long he owned a Bellanca Viking and we spent the next umpteen years trimming trees with it at 150 knots. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUmL601TOP8
hyperv6
Collector

Navy wings are lead. It helps sink the mistakes. 😁

Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Now that's funny.
Sledogpilot
Detailer

Great response VMF.
In “Fighter Pilot Podcast” on YouTube, 3 former Topgun instructors loved it.
Heck if you were going to shoot the SAMs with cruise missiles, why not the ventilation duct? Or why not just overwhelm their air defenses and then MOAB the site?
Mccasksl
New Driver

Great read, great stuff Josh! Keep up the great work. I gain a new appreciation for Hagerty everyday. Cheers!
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.
Air_and_Water
Instructor

Thanks for the writeup!

It was quite entertaining and illuminating. Yes, I go into movies like these attempting to suspend my disbelief, but sometimes that's difficult and a real faux pas pulls you back into the movie theater instead of in the movie where you should be. Several car guy friends and I went to see "Days of Thunder" at the theater. I called it "2D Top Gun", and we all tore it apart. Even the great Robert Duvall couldn't keep me immersed because I couldn't suspend disbelief, and much of it also had to do with ignoring the laws of physics.

Also: "Square root of Jack squat"... *files away term for later use 🙂
dnjallin619
New Driver

My complaint about the movie was the unoriginality of the writing. The writer(s) had obviously spent way too much time watching the first Star Wars movie. The mission down the valley to drop a bomb down a narrow hole is just like Luke Skywalker trying to destroy the Death Star. And the frequent admonition to "Don't think, just do," was almost a direct quote from Yoda. And why would any country build a uranium enrichment plant at the bottom of an extinct volcano?
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

All valid points. As mentioned, I could only cover a small subset of what I didn't like about it.
topside
Instructor

1st: Thank you for your service. 2nd: I really appreciate your writing, seasoned with the nonchalant euphemisms and descriptions that one encounters, from my experience, only from test pilots, aviators, and racers, who've come close to the Afterlife. 3rd: The general public, bless their hearts, seem to be oft-baffled by the realities of such disciplines, but they do love pyrotechnics and magic, and movie producers will pander to that every time; in 3 words, "Fast and Furious". The film industry is essentially about money, not the physics, historical accuracy, or fascinating details of what some of us hold dear.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

1st: you're welcome. It really is an honor to serve.

2nd: I'm glad you enjoyed reading it and thanks for the feedback!

And I have nothing to add to your third point.
merlebalke
Advanced Driver

Well, he got Tremors right, but by Fast and Furious standards, Top Gun Maverick was a documentary.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Always good to find another Tremors fan!
Alvin
Pit Crew

Josh,
Thank you, thank you for what you do.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Alvin, you're welcome!
Martin44
Pit Crew

Josh, first and foremost thank you for being the pointy end of the spear and for protecting us 99+% of the population that are rear-echelon bug-masher types.
My take on the movie is not from an aerodynamic or weapons perspective, of which I only have enough experience and knowledge to get myself and others killed, but from one who was even too old to strap in a fighter jet when the original movie was released in 1985. Therefore, I simply found the movie wonderfully patriotic, minimal in its wokeness and PC messaging and just extremely entertaining.

I'm not surprised that there is a departure from realism. I think this movie is getting such high praise because lets be honest new movies today have mostly sucked and anything that doesn't seem to contain the overwhelming woke message is getting high praise. Any movie where men can be men, women can be women and we give some sort of visually entertaining movies is like a revelation even though in the 1990's it would have been normal.

I feel your pain though, you can only put your brain in suspend for so long sometimes. I took forever to see the original fast and furious movie because I could tell from the previews it was going to be incredibly dumb. When it got to the cheap theaters and after some urgent pleading from friends to see it, I put my brain in suspend, turned off the live commentary and enjoyed that stupid movie. But I could have let 'em rip Mystery Science Theater 3000 style in the theater, it would have been a hoot.

Thank you for your service!
hyperv6
Collector

Yes I think coming out of Covid lock downs people are hunger for any movie. T Rex already knocked off this movie. 

With the quality of new movies of late even Smokey and the Bandit Two would be a hit. 

Imagine if the new Indiana Jones had been ready. It would blow them all away even if it sucked. 

From what I am hearing Indy 5 is probably going to suck.  Indy 4 was just dumb.  Remember the nuke the fridge scene?  The Army Ants scene?  Remember the guy who was going to replace Indy "for the franchise".  Indiana Jones 1-3 for me. 

 

Don't call me Junior!

Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

The fridge nuking scene was the worst!
hyperv6
Collector

I have not heard enough about it. 

I did hear though they said no one but Ford will play the part. 

Hmm they killed Bond so will they kill Indy? 

Maestro1
Technician

Thank you for your service.
I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise and the attendant BS. I served this Country, not in your capacity but on the ground next to some very bad people and I think that making any of it romantic or heroic is nonsense. There are only dead heroes.
However this is a movie, a commercial enterprise aimed at profit, so any number of exagerations, inaccuracies and other faux pas are to be expected. The thing had a huge Gross Start Up, in the Millions in the first weekend it opened, so I'm in the minority.
I'd rather read what you write. Thank you and stay well.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Thanks for commenting and I'm glad you enjoyed it. More importantly, thanks for your service!
mhealy1
Advanced Driver


I’ve never served in the military so this is just the outside looking in. I agree that it’s not romantic, but I disagree strongly with your sentiments on heroic: those who serve are all heroes.
Thank YOU for your service.
JGeske
Instructor

Interesting hearing a pilot's perspective on the film. I see other comments regarding the opinions of fighter pilots who are friend/family on this, and want to put in a different comment perspective (on pilots, not the movie).

During Korea, one of my grandfathers was a ground crewman for Republic F-84 Thunderjets. My other grandfather was on the ground as Sergeant in the Marines, who were mighty thankful for those Thunderjets. Both instilled in their kids and grandkids a healthy respect for the drivers of those jet drivers on ground support missions (and pilots in general). My hat is off to all of you brave pilots keeping the skies clear and ground safe for all the grunts. I literally would not be here to type this without pilots keeping my granddads safe.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

My hat is off to your granddads. Believe me, I've got lots of love and respect for airplane crew chiefs! Also, working with and supporting soldiers and Marines on the ground is one of my favorite parts of the job.
JGeske
Instructor

Thanks! Also, I look back on the original Top Gun film, and think, "Man, how boring would this have been if they would have been true to life and simply picked off the MiGs at distance with their AIM-54 Phoenix missiles?" I mean, let's face it, the F-14 was pretty much designed with the intent of carrying the AIM-54 since those were so heavy that no existing naval aircraft could field them. Dogfighting is cool for film, but the reality is that a 100 mile range, fire-and-forget missile is how the engagement at the end of the film would be handled.

jvalade
New Driver

Great review and well written!
The US Army Air Corps became the US Air Force in 1947. My Uncle was a career Army/Airforce pilot who flew bombing missions during WW2 over Germany in B-17's, the Berlin Airlift, and transitioned to fighter jets in the Air Force, after his time at Strategic Air Command. He would fly over my hometown of Traverse City in the fifties in F-86's going super-sonic. After we felt the shock wave my mother would get a phone call about an hour later from her brother, asking if he broke any of her china.
Some of my favorite memories were of him flying into Traverse City to give his many nieces and nephews rides in a Cessna over the old farmstead in Cedar, MI. I was always inspired by his dedication to flying and attained my private pilot license in 1978.
Sadly he passed away in the early sixties while he was on a classified mission out of Dugway, Utah with an Army Special Forces officer. They were flying in a simple Taylorcraft 2-seat observation plane and came too close to a weather front that produce severe down-drafts at the edge of a mountain range and was slammed into the ground.
In spite of all of his experience and skill, it was a simple error of disregarding weather and physics that led to his death. He will be forever remembered by his family, and taught us all a lesson that flying is inherently a dangerous and risky occupation.
Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

I loved hearing about your uncle, thanks for sharing.
Tim
Technician

I think it's always more difficult to suspend disbelief when you're a subject matter expert. Don't get me started on the issues the way *every* *single* *computer* is portrayed in movies. To stay in the moment, I just try to remember that most liberties are taken to more easily convey a message or an event. I'm more forgiving of something that wouldn't be done the way it is shown (not speaking strictly of computers here) than when something couldn't be done the way it is shown. For the latter, see every Fast & Furious movie, each one besting the previous in completely ridiculous impossibilities.
Tim
Technician

As an aside, I don't know why I get so worked up, but it really annoys me when the subtitles of a foreign language don't match the words actually spoken. Especially when there's plenty of room to write and enough time to read what was said.
Tinkerah
Engineer

Like the F&F franchise, these spectacles are made for the entertainment of the masses who know nothing of real world air combat, and the bunches (like me) who are aware of some realities, but not really for the very select few who live that life. As I said aloud to my agreeing wife "They should be maneuvering for advantage instead of wisecracking over the radio."
hyperv6
Collector

Hollywood has an advantage when it come to the general public. Most are ignorant enough on many things they can get away with much. 

This appears to also be the case in Politics too. 

 

Josh_Arakes
Advanced Driver

Always, always maneuver for advantage!
hyperv6
Collector

What gets left out on fly overs is that most of these planes are going to be flying some place anyways. 

Pilots have to keep up so many hours and practice navigation and tactics. 

The fly overs are planned missions and are timed to they really are not just joy riding.

 

The military is learning fast from what is going on in Europe now. Tanks are not fairing well with the new shoulder rockets. Even navy ships are very vulnerable to drones and small arms anymore. The Russians have been sitting ducks in some cases. 

I expect many things will be reassessed in the near future.