This Blue Angel Flyby Is How Top Gun 2 Captured That Crazy Hypersonic Jet Takeoff Scene

Using a very real F/A-18 Hornet to figure out how to capture the sequence gave the movie’s production team what they needed to make the magic happen.

byTyler Rogoway|
Topgun photo


Even though Top Gun: Maverick's release has been delayed to next December due to the COVID-19 nightmare we are all living through, the promotions team behind the film is still trickling out some behind the scenes footage to keep people's interest in the film. The most intriguing part of the second trailer that was released was a shot of a fictional hypersonic test jet literally blowing the roof off a guard shack during its departure, with Ed Harris looking on. You can read more about that trailer and the shot in question in this past piece of ours. Now, we get to see a bit more about how they captured that sequence, including using a Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet to test and prepare for the shot. 

As we originally stated, the scene was filmed at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and the guard shack shown is a set-piece designed for the movie. It is almost comical in its placement for those familiar with aviation as it sits right at the edge of the runway overrun. In the newly released video, you can see one of the Blue Angels' jets, smoke on, doing a high-speed pass over the shack and the production crew at very low level, which results in concussive shock and a big swirling storm of smoke and dust. 

Check it out for yourself:

Here is the trailer version. The scene in question is the dramatic bumper at the end at 2:10 runtime:

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We also got another quick glimpse of the Blue Angel flyby in a previous behind the scenes extended video that was released.

It is most likely that the shot shown in the trailer had the hypersonic jet superimposed over a Hornet to capture the effect. Add in a bit more movie magic and it gets even more dramatic via the lifting of the guard shack roof.

Youtube Screengrab

The Navy's level of participation in the film was extreme, much like the first, but we still don't know all the details in regards to just how much flight time went into making the sequel. Considering production included hauling an F-14 Tomcat back onto a supercarrier and shooting scenes of it tangled up in the carrier's crash barrier, the seagoing service clearly went the extra mile. You can learn a bit about what camera ships were used and how the air-to-air sequences were captured in this past piece of ours.

Extending the release date of the film, the second major extension since Top Gun: Maverick started production, may not be such a bad thing. It should give the production team extra time to polish what has to be a ridiculously intricate film to edit and dub. 

Let's all hope we can safely return to the theaters by December 23rd, 2020, when the movie finally is unveiled to the masses. 

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