“Top Gun”: How To Join The Best of the Best

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Maverick and Cougar. Flying a Tomkat with your wingman. ‘Nobody puts baby in the corner’. Yes, you love Top Gun. The jet fighters, the hair, the teeth, the tight, tight buns.

But that wondrous film was just a work of fiction, right? Like Bagpuss or all those Michael Moore things?

There’s no way little old you could strap yourself into a high-performance aircraft and fly erratically, irresponsibly and with masculine flair?

You big silly.

You too can easily take to the skies with a Harold Faltermeyer soundtrack blasting painfully in your ears. Just sign yourself up to the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program.

The real life Top Gun programme designed to turn into a real Tom Cruise without… [REDACTED BY OUR LAWYERS].

#1. Choose a Call Sign

Obviously, before you do anything, ANYTHING, you need a snappy nickname that perfectly expresses your action personality.

Some of the good ones have been taken, like Iceman, Maverick, Goose and Cougar. But there are options. If you are not as fast as some, how about Sloth?

Or if you are overtly hairy, you could be Chimp. If you are French, then Frenchie could work for you. Or Croissant Charlie. Or Le Freak.

Names to avoid would be Captain Bad Fly, Taliban Ted, Shaky or The Kid From Deliverance. Once you have your name, you’re more than halfway there. But only slightly more.

#2. Learn To High Five In Aviators

With your name firmly in place, you’ll next have to work on your how to facilitate an above head handclasp with shades in place with your wingman.

Practice on a scarecrow in a nearby field or meadow. Or an elderly relative with a lack of feeling all down one side might make an ideal practice facilitator.

And in terms of sunglasses, avoid anything over-sized or novelty. Basically, what you don’t want to look like is Sue Pollard.

If you’re on the bus heading to the Top Gun academy and catch your reflection and think ‘oh I look like Sue Pollard’ then something is very, very wrong.

#3. Become American

Oh yeah, probably should have mentioned, to be a proper Top Gunner, you need to be a member of the United States Navy.

So if you are neither an American or in the United States Navy, you’ll need to sort that out. Other countries have similar high-octane, battle-readying flight training programmes. But they are rubbish.

I mean, where is Kenny Loggins from? Canada? Never. Kenny Loggins is as American as the hit song he sang ‘Danger Zone’.

And this means that all Top Gun-style courses that aren’t American are bogus.

It is quite easy to resemble an American. Just sing the song ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins as loudly and often as you can.

#4. Enroll in Top Gun

So you’ve become an American, joined the Navy and trained to be an ace fighter pilot.

Oh right, you have to be an ace fighter pilot. But I imagine if you’re reading this there’s a good chance you’re an ace fighter pilot already.

Then you’ll head to Naval Strike and Air Warfare Centre at NAS Fallon, Nevada and spend nine weeks learning all about tactics, hardware, shooting, ejector seats and all the latest in air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

Actually you’ll probably only need eight weeks, since you’ve got your callsign/high-fiving/sunglasses sorted already.

During these weeks you’ll be flying single-seat F/A-18 Cs and Es, and two-seat F/A-18 Ds and Fs. We imagine these are the sort of airplanes with the guns like you have in Top Gun.The kind Tom Cruise knocked about in with his pals.

Other elements of the course include coping with the death of Goose, hating Cold War era Russians and having a crack at Kelly McGillis.

Perks of the Job

Once you are a great big Top Gun man (as its officially known), the world is your oyster. Put simply: the perks are incredible.

For instance, there is a 7% discount in selected branches of Kennedy or President’s Fried Chicken.

Photocopying at your local library is now free. You can wear a leather jacket with puffy sleeves and patches without fear of invoking laughter.

And Kenny Loggins will personally appear at any family event (barring Easter, that’s Kenny’s time), and sing a selection of his hit. ‘Danger Zone’. By Kenny Loggins.

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