Gable is Jim Lane, the eponymous test pilot, and Tracy is Gunner, Jim's mechanic and best friend. Jim is out trying to set a speed record in an experimental plane when an oil pump failure forces him to make an unscheduled landing in a farm in Kansas, which happens to be the residence of Ann Barton (Loy). They quickly fall in love and get married, but the incredibly dangerous life of a test pilot brings stress to both Jim's marriage and Jim's friendship with Gunner. Barrymore plays Drake, Jim's boss.
- Ace Pilot: Jim's job, testing experimental aircraft up to and sometimes beyond the limits of their performance.
- As You Know: Some expository dialogue between Drake and Gunner about the test flight Jim's going on.
- Babies Ever After: The finale reveals that Jim has retired from test flying and is now an instructor with the Army Air Corps, and he and Ann have had a son.
- Call-Back: Gunner has a good-luck ritual of sticking his gum on the back of Jim's plane before Jim takes off. At the end, Jim does this with one of his Army fliers.
- The Casanova: When Jim first appears in the movie, he's bringing a girl to his room, while another girl is already there waiting for him.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Gunner dies in Jim's arms after Jim pulls him from the climactic plane crash.
- Driving a Desk: Done very obviously in classic '30s tradition when Jim and Ann are driving around.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Jim and all the other pilots get roaring drunk after Benson is killed.
- Fatal Family Photo: Or the equivalent thereof. Benson's wife and three cute children show up to see the speed trials that both Benson and Jim are flying in. Naturally, Benson crashes and dies.
- Fourth-Date Marriage: One day together is enough for Jim and Ann to get married.
- Hangover Sensitivity: Jim wakes up hurting (and in a different city) after a bender.
- Have a Gay Old Time: "Why don't you be gay for once and give yourself a shock?"
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jim and Gunner, although there are occasional vague intimations that it might be a bit less heterosexual on Gunner's part.Jim: [cheerfully] Who do you love, honey?
Gunner: [somewhat more seriously] I love you.
Jim: I love you, too!
- Love Triangle: As Ann notes, there's a love triangle between her, Jim, and the sky.
- Meet Cute: A guy crashing a plane into a girl's backyard has to count as meeting cute.
- Romantic False Lead: There's some blandly handsome guy in Ann's hometown who fancies her. He seems to know he's in a Clark Gable movie, though, and soon disappears.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: Apparently every time Jim goes up for a test flight, it's an above-the-fold front-page newspaper headline.