Top Gun Fact Check: Is the Maverick Mission Last Flight Possible?


The latest Maverick mission serves as a heartbreaking climax to Top Gun: Maverick, but can the pilots really complete this flight? The Top Gun franchise has not been without incredible tricks and maneuvers, and the exploits in Top Gun: Maverick are no exception. However, the latest Maverick flight pushes the boundaries of what is possible for a real pilot flying an F-18.

In Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise’s character, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, and his team of pilots are tasked with blowing up an unauthorized national uranium enrichment plant, which is located in a canyon and protected by both surface-to-air and surface-to-air missiles. fighters that operate from a nearby airbase. The alleged Maverick attack involves two pairs of fighter jets that will fly through the canyon at low altitude so that they will not be noticed, and bomb the factory. Then they have to make a steep climb out of the canyon to avoid the mountain. They are expected to complete the full task in two and a half minutes. Other aviators do not believe whether the plan proposed by Maverick is possible. But he proves them wrong by conducting an unauthorized flight on a simulated course within the originally proposed parameters, and he is appointed the head of the strike mission.

The stunts involved in the last flight of the Top Gun: Maverick mission may be technically possible, but whether they are likely is another question. As a rule, the Navy does not allow pilots to fly below 200 feet during training, as indicated in the film by Jon Hamm’s character, Cyclone. It is also seen that aviators repeatedly miss during training, which confirms the complexity of their task – until Maverick proves that this is really possible. In addition, according to expert Fred Kaplan, “the F-18 does not have the range to pull off this trick, especially at high fuel drain speeds” (via Slate). The fact that the last flight that the Maverick performs includes altitudes not normally approved by the Navy, speeds that push the boundaries of the F-18, and high accuracy to hit the target makes it unlikely that the pilot will be able to perform the last flight of the Maverick.

Of course, suspending distrust is essential when watching the films “The Best Shooter”, both of which demonstrate incredible, incredible maneuvers. However, a unique feature of Top Gun: Maverick is its commitment to practical tricks rather than computer graphics, which makes the final mission at least as real and plausible as possible. Top Gun: The cast of Maverick flew planes, even though they didn’t pilot them to perform their aerial stunts, and this lends some credibility to the on-screen visuals. As actor Glen Powell, who played the Executioner in the film, said: “If you used computer graphics, the audience is very smart, they can notice the difference. When you’re racing through canyons at 650 knots, you can’t fake it, and you can’t fake the G’s on the actors’ faces” (via Entertainment Weekly).

There are a lot of incredible stunts in Top Gun: Maverick, including the last flight of the Maverick. The use of practical effects for aerial stunts in the film suggests that the overload, altitude and speed observed in the flight of the Maverick are technically possible. To perform all these tricks in one go, as Maverick did in his last mission, requires high precision and low altitudes that test the limits of not only the F-18, but also the pilots. So while the last flight of the Top Gun: Maverick mission is technically achievable, it is extremely unlikely that any pilot other than Maverick will be able to complete it – that is, it is a trick that has only ever existed in the movies.