Top Gun movie - Jet wash/Flat spin

Military aircraft accidents/mishaps.
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TC

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Unread post16 Feb 2006, 01:52

MKopack wrote:I had been told by people in the Tomcat community (back during the 'Top Gun' timeframe) that the movie scene was based upon an actual incident.


You are correct Mike. The scene was based partially on fact. Here is what I had posted a few months back on a previous page:

TC wrote:About the Top Gun ejection sequence: It was based on a flat spin mishap I believe at Pt. Mugu in 1979. Anyway, the canopy still had the short lanyard, and when it jettisoned, the crew reported that it seemed to float over their heads. This would have presented a danger had their seats not cleared.

They reported this, and the lanyards were extended to prevent this from happening again.


At the time Top Gun was released, the problem with the lanyard was already remedied. BTW, every now and again, one may view the video of the real life Tomcat ejection on one of those "World's Wildest Videos" or "Real TV" type shows.

Curiously, a few posters have mentioned the ACES II on this thread. The F-14 currently has the MB Mk.14 NACES seat. When Top Gun was filmed, it had the MB Mk. GRU-7A seat. Neither of these seats have canopy breakers, and the Tomcat's canopy is too thick to go through the glass. Also, when Maverick reached back, struggling to pull his face curtain handle, the inertia reels should have brought him back into the seat.

To Err is Human. To Forgive is NOT ACC Policy.
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Velvet

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Unread post17 Feb 2006, 02:50

TC
The F-14D had the NACES, the F-14A and B had the GRU-7. Doesn't matter, all gone now.
The change in lanyard didn't fix the problem. This is why the Out Of Control procedure ended with, "Jettison canopy, RIO-Command Eject". The canopy will come off by itself when you eject, but the manual jettison first would give it another second or two to clear the 'dead air' above the aircraft when the seats went up the rails.
Inertial reel's only fire when the ejection sequence starts. In a flat spin the 14's point of rotation was actually BEHIND the aircraft, so the pilot was at the end of an eyeballs out centrifuge to the tune of 5.5G's toward the nose when fully developed. The RIO, being not as far out on the end of the centrifuge, was experiencing less eyeball out G and had a better chance at getting to the handle. This is why the crew would also lock their inertial harness if the plane "departed". Still don't know why they weren't reaching for the "secondary" handle between their legs. I instinctively reach there when I'm in serious trouble.

Silly movie, but that scene was the only remotely realistic part of the movie.

Golf shirts under flight suits...wow. It's been a while.
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fangz007

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Unread post15 Dec 2011, 03:59

Ok, alot of things in the movie top gun is fake, but the incident with the canopy could have actually happened. As he air around the f-14 produced the flat spin or jet wash, the canopy had no real separation from the aircraft which produced a kind of suction. If you take a piece of paper, lay it flat on the back of your hand and swiftly swat downward...the paper would follow your hand because of the air producing the suction with your hand...
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huggy

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Unread post18 Feb 2012, 04:53

fangz007 wrote:Ok, alot of things in the movie top gun is fake, but the incident with the canopy could have actually happened. As he air around the f-14 produced the flat spin or jet wash, the canopy had no real separation from the aircraft which produced a kind of suction. If you take a piece of paper, lay it flat on the back of your hand and swiftly swat downward...the paper would follow your hand because of the air producing the suction with your hand...


My F-14 buds are rolling on the floor!
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razamanaz

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Unread post14 Mar 2012, 04:56

The Top Gun ejection scenario is plausable as follows: the F-14 is in a flat spin and falling vertically. As such, there is minimal front to rear airflow as found in normal flight to help remove the canopy as it is jettisoned. This problem is further compounded by low pressure slipstream vortices above the forward fuselage created by the bottom to top airflow as the aircraft falls. Because the jet is "flat spinning" at high revolution, the canopy will also be spinning in the same direction when it is jettisoned but its spin rate will quickly de-synchronize from the aircraft due to the canopy having less weight and mass as it encounters lateral air resistance. Since the aft seat ejects first during an automatic dual ejection, the aft crew member would be the one most likely to impact it. Under normal ejection parameters, egress system sequencing time delays and seat/canopy interlocks are supposed to prevent seat/canopy collision; however, under adverse parameters it is possible. In the movie, Maverick would of course know this because he knew everything and thus he warned Goose to "watch the canopy" as they ejected.

This should not be a problem with F-16's due to (A) the canopy jettison rockets which help to remove the canopy and (B) the interlock lanyards which normally aren't fully extended until the canopy has rotated aft and away from the cockpit. Of course, if the canopy fails to jettison ballistically and cannot be manually unlocked/released by the pilot to clear the aircraft, built-in interlocks will mechanically prevent the seat from firing. This is an intentionally-designed feature since the ACES-II seat cannot penetrate the thick canopy transparancy.

(31 years egress systems experience)
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viper992

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Unread post21 May 2013, 05:43

shiz302 wrote:That spin makes about as much sense as goose hitting his head on the canopy too.



Actually, one of the biggest problems that the F-14 had was that it could enter a flat spin. The entire fuselage is thinner than a pancake, and flat spins were big problems with the plane and the old TF-34 engines. And, yes, there were many times when the canopy just hung there...and yes there were many times when RIOs--he was always shot off first--almost crashed into it. A few RIOs even broke legs and arms. So it is possible for that to happen.
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