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Headscratchers / Top Gun

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  • Am I the only one who thinks Goose's death make no sense? I mean, during ejection the canopy is thrown away and not upwards while the seat gets ejected upwards at a very higher and safer altitude, but mysteriously the canopy appeared in Goose's way to break his neck when it was supposed to be lower in altitude and the seat much upper because of it's incorporated rockets. So?
    • The F-14s early engine choice had a nasty habit of flaming out unevenly (as shown in the film), and this would cause the aircraft yaw to one direction, forcing a spin which was unrecoverable. One Guy in Back was actually killed by hitting the Canopy when his seat fired, and causing him to hit the metal bar of the canopy, killing him. Ejecting is sadly not a Get-out-of-death free card many films make it to be. It just guarantees there's a body to return to the family.
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    • Also, ejection seats are generally designed to operate within a particular set of circumstances. For a long while, ejecting while a plane was too low or too slow would simply mean getting catapulted into the air before hitting the ground next to the plane's wreckage with parachute unfurled. Even with later "Zero-Zero" ejection seats designed to safely allow a pilot to parachute from safety even if ejected from a parked plane (zero altitude and zero airspeed), you could run into unexpected problems if the plane is doing something particularly unusual. In this case, the plane being in a spin would cause the various bits, such as the discarded canopy, to be doing things the designers didn't anticipate. And some days the dice roll just isn't in your favor and you die despite all the work put into the system to give you the best possible odds.
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    • Also, Goose could have been knocked out by the canopy, and drowned because he was unconscious too long under water. Maverick was pulling him back to the surface when he finally got to him.
  • So it's a nice moment after the battle when Maverick throws Goose's dog tags into the sea. But... he doesn't think that Goose's widow might have wanted to have those things? Or even if she doesn't, he doesn't think perhaps he might give them to Goose's son when the boy is old enough to understand and might want that link to the hero father he missed out on knowing?
    • It's not uncommon for soldiers, sailors, and airmen to have multiple sets of dogtags in case one gets lost, damaged, or stolen. Odds are, the set Mav has is just one that Goose kept as an extra set and only ever told Mav about. The official set that Goose was wearing at the time of the accident was likely handed to his wife by the Navy. Mav throwing the set he had into the sea was basically his way of giving his best friend a Burial at Sea.
  • There was no way that Cougar could have safely landed his Tomcat after being shook up like that during the opening dogfight. The manner in which Cougar was hyperventilating and trembling would have left him well short of the concentration and fine motor skills needed to fly “by the ball” and catch an arresting wire. Night carrier landings in particular are very difficult very precise near stall speed flaring maneuvers that require a pilot’s full attention to even minor movements of the aircraft. That and a rather complicated communication protocol between the pilot, carrier and LSO would all but disallow someone as shaken up as Cougar from even attempting a landing. This is actually explained by the fact Cougar was originally supposed to suffer a ramp strike and die, thereby allowing Maverick to take his slot.

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