[Watch Video Below] Top Gun, one of the iconic movies of the 1980s, is about a Naval Aviator who is selected to attend the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School. In the movie, the student pilots fly the U.S. Navy’s F-14 Tomcat, a supersonic, twin-engine, variable-sweep wing fighter aircraft.
The F-14 was a beast with an empty weight of 43,735 lb, versus its replacement, the F-18 Hornet, which weighed 23,000 lb. while empty. Load each aircraft up to their maximum takeoff weight and the Hornet comes in at 51,900 lb while the Tomcat’s sits on the tarmac at 74,350 lb. Despite the weight differential, the F-14 still had a maximum speed of 1,544 mph and the F-18, only 1,190 mph. The F-14 Tomcat, introduced into service in 1974, was retired by the U.S. Navy on September 22, 2006
In 1986, Top Gun was the largest grossing movie in the U.S. at about $176 million. Matthew Modine turned down the role of Maverick based on personal reasons. One thing is for sure about Top Gun and the F-14 Tomcat: seeing Maverick and Goose chasing Jester across the sky, pushing the envelope between the mountain tops, and downing enemy aircraft over the ocean to protect the USS Enterprise put the job of “fighter pilot” at the top of many kids’ dream job lists.
Enjoy this week’s Jet Friday video, F-14 Tomcat Defender of the Fleet Documentary by History of Wars. If you like jet-powered aircraft then check out all our many #JetFriday posts and share them with your friends.