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How Did Goose Die In Top Gun? (Explained)


Top Gun is one of Tom Cruise’s most beloved films and easily one of the best-aged action films from the 1980s.

The lengths that the production team went through to create this film and the sacrifices that resulted from the action were not wasted.

This action film has garnered multiple generations of fans, even back when it was released in 1986.

Few action films will make you feel the intense power of fighting around in some of the United States Military’s most iconic aircraft.


How Did Goose Die In Top Gun?

Military jet fighter


Goose died in Top Gun when both engines of his fighter jet experienced a flameout, resulting in the jet performing a fatal flat spin that sent it into a canopy of trees.

While Maverick was able to eject his seat, Goose, played by Anthony Edwards, wasn’t able to, and his death was caused by the intense impact.

This 1986 high-speed action film follows the story of the students who are attending the best Navy flight school in the United States, featuring Tom Cruise as the lead hero, Maverick.

Top Gun later went on to spawn the hit sequel film, 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick.

Originally, Goose was going to die in a midair dogfight.

However, Paramount had to comply with the Department of Defense Entertainment Media Office in order to have access to all of the military equipment used throughout the film.

The Department of Defense went through the script for Top Gun and made multiple changes due to safety and what is realistic military protocol.

Another change made by the agency was turning Charlie from a service member to a civilian because the Navy forbids enlisted personnel and officers from having romantic relationships.

The Top Gun franchise has inspired generations of pilots to pursue aviation thanks to the use of real military planes and stunts.

It cost Paramount $1.8 million to use all the planes and aircraft carriers seen throughout the 1986 film, which were provided by the Pentagon.

For this price, Paramount got access to the Miramar Naval Air Station, four aircraft carriers, more than 20 F-14 Tomcats, F-5 Tigers, A-4 Skyhawks, and the support of real-life Top Gun pilots.

Considering that a single F-14 Tomcat cost $38 million, Paramount got an incredible bargain on the military set pieces even if the film company had to change how Goose dies.


Did Maverick Cause Goose’s Death?

Tombstone with flags


No, Maverick did not cause Goose’s death despite what Maverick may believe about the situation.

The person who actually caused Goose to die was Iceman, played by Val Kilmer, due to his prideful and stubborn nature, which had been a problem throughout the entire film.

During a tandem training session, Iceman and Maverick, along with their respective partners, were supposed to work together to go up against their superiors.

Instead, Iceman’s need to prove that he is the best ends up putting his teammates at risk.

Maverick and Goose had been in the chase for Jester, but Iceman and his co-pilot decided to speed ahead of them slightly and block their shots in hopes of scoring the points for themselves.

Iceman wasn’t able to get a clear shot, and Maverick begged him to move out of the way so he and Goose could secure the victory for their team.

After ensuring that he couldn’t get a hit, Iceman breaks off at the last second but ends up moving too late for Maverick and Goose to move out the way.

Iceman’s pride killed Goose.

Before the lethal crash, Maverick and Goose were the perfect pilot partners thanks to the strong bond they shared throughout the first two acts of the film.

When Goose’s wife, played by Meg Ryan, comes to visit him, she makes it clear that she and her husband have known Maverick for a long time by teasing him about his previous love life in front of his current girlfriend.

Despite how much Maverick blamed himself for the death of his partner, not even Goose’s wife blames Maverick and pleads with him to continue flying because it’s what Goose would have wanted.

Maverick was even cleared of guilt by the board of inquiry, but he is unable to shake the undeserved guilt to the point of nearly leaving the Navy.


Is Goose’s Death In Top Gun Realistic?

Shocked man posing and watching movie tv


Yes, Goose’s death in Top Gun is realistic because there are plenty of flight training sessions that go horribly wrong, resulting in the death of some student.

It is also not uncommon for there to be problems with pilots ejecting from their seats.

According to former United States Navy F-14A Tomcat pilot John Chesire, the crews of fighter jets aren’t ejected simultaneously.

Instead, they are released with a short interval of time between each other and at slightly different angles.

No matter which crew member ejects first, the Radar Intercept Officer like Goose will eject to the left and the pilot will be sent to the right.

This ensures that neither crew member hits the other in mid-air after ejecting.

During a normal ejection sequence, the canopy will be blown off by the forward airspeed to allow both the pilot and Radar Intercept Officer to eject safely from their jet.

However, the flat spin that Maverick and Goose pull off means that there would not be enough forward airspeed to properly blow the canopy off.

Instead, the flat spin causes a vacuum just above the canopy that holds it in place no matter how many times someone has engaged the ejection sequence.

Rather than pulling the canopy off the jet, the canopy stays above where the Radar Intercept Officer would normally eject to and causes them to hit the canopy instead of safely ejecting.

To prevent crew members from falling to the same fate as Top Gun’s Goose, aircrews are taught to jettison the canopy off early instead of waiting for the ejection sequence to do it for them.

F-14 Tomcats come with a lever that allows the crew members to remove the canopy separate from the eject sequence.

Goose’s death was heartbreaking, but it was necessary for Maverick’s development.


Who Died While Filming Top Gun?

Video cameraman film event with huge camera


Art Scholl was the aviation stuntman who died after he plunged into the Pacific Ocean as a result of being unable to recover from an inverted flat spin.

Before his work on 1986’s Top Gun, Scholl had done stunts for thousands of productions.

Even the best of both the aviation and entertainment industries consider Scholl’s lethal mishap to be a mystery.

He had been in full control of the Pitts S-2 plane he was flying directly up to the moment that the jet hit the water.

Art Scholl was 53 years old when he was performing an inverted flat spin for some greenscreen backdrop shots.

As veteran pilots, Scholl and other aviation professionals considered this maneuver to be low-risk.

Scholl had first arrived at Edwards Air Force base to do some overland filming before having lunch and switching to the Pitts S-2.

The pilot went out and did multiple flat spins, only to find out that another aircraft had spoiled the shot and caused him to have to redo the sequence.

Only a few minutes in, he radioed in stating, “I have a real problem,” before his deadly plunge seconds later.

Neither the plane nor his body was ever recovered or found, despite the search parties sent out to find the seasoned stunt pilot.

Art Scholl was survived by his wife and two sons.

According to his wife Judy Scholl, she has no clue what occurred on the set of Top Gun in 1985.

Art Scholl was considered to be an incredibly calculated and by-the-book stuntman who didn’t take risks while performing his stunts.

Scholl was an energetic, go-getter who was always focused on his next goal.

When he wasn’t working on productions like Indiana Jones, he was performing in aerial shows and competitions.


Why Didn’t Maverick Keep Goose’s Dog Tag?

dog tag/army chains


Maverick doesn’t keep Goose’s dog tags and instead decided to throw his dog tags into the ocean as a symbolic gesture of him letting go of the undeserved guilt he felt after the death of his friend.

The last time Maverick had seen Goose was when his friend’s body floated in the ocean next to him.

Maverick understands that he has to let go of the guilt surrounding his partner’s death if he wants to achieve a life that would make Goose proud.

He also knows that Goose would have wanted him to move on from the incident and focus his attention on serving the Navy to the best of his ability.

With the support of Goose’s widow, Maverick presses himself to graduate from flight school and attempt to take down Iceman by becoming the best pilot that the Navy has to offer.

While Maverick’s mental state has improved since the death of Goose, it was called into question during the graduating class’s first mission.

Maverick began to have a panic attack when he found himself in a situation similar to that which had killed Goose, but he’s able to overcome this wave of intense fear to help his squad take out six hostile MiGs.

After pulling himself out of the risky situation and helping his new squad, Maverick proves to himself that he has what it takes to achieve the dream he shared with Goose.

Maverick is able to survive in the Navy for decades before Goose’s son Rooster decides to join the academy where Maverick now teaches.

In Top Gun: Maverick, the guilt-filled scars are reopened for Maverick when he discovers that Rooster blames Maverick for the death of his father.

Even decades later, Maverick struggles with the death of his partner and remains at the rank of captain.


Who Is Goose’s Son?



Bradley “Rooster“ Bradshaw, played by Miles Teller, is Nick “Goose” Bradshaw and Carole Bradshaw’s son.

He attends the flight academy that Pete “Maverick” Mitchell teaches at.

Despite his mother’s wishes, Rooster wants to follow in the steps of his father.

Before the events of Top Gun: Maverick, Carole Bradshaw had begged Maverick to help her prevent Rooster from falling to the same fate as Goose.

Per her request, Maverick goes as far as to block his application to the Naval Academy.

Sadly, Rooster’s mother passed away shortly after the request.

Thanks to his talent and persistence, Rooster eventually makes it into TOPGUN and comes bearing a grudge against Maverick for Goose’s death and for stalling his career.

Rooster doesn’t let go of the resentment he feels towards Maverick until Maverick decides to tell Rooster that he only blocked his application at the request of his mother.

Maverick felt that he was honoring Goose’s memory by keeping Rooster safe and giving Carole Bradshaw a bit of peace of mind, albeit only temporary.

Rooster realizes how much Maverick cared about his father and his family, allowing the two to set aside their problems to help each other honor the memory of Goose in a way that appeases them both.

Maverick develops a deep respect for Rooster, who has managed to reach this point in his career without the support of family, and decides to offer the support that Rooster needs.

Had Carole Bradshaw still been alive, Rooster may not have been the dedicated pilot he becomes in the popular sequel film.

She might have stepped in and gotten in the way of his character development by resolving the problem for Rooster and Maverick.

Instead, Rooster is given the opportunity to prove his perseverance and earns the respect of Maverick.

By letting go of his resentment towards Maverick, Rooster finds peace.


Who Played Goose In Top Gun?

Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham attend "Plaza Suite" Opening Night on March 28, 2022 in New York City.


Anthony Edwards was the actor behind Nick “Goose” Bradshaw and is an avid supporter of bringing back his character in one form or another.

Although there may not be a strong chance of Edwards’s idea for “Ghost Goose” genuinely coming into play, Edwards is still elated with the fact that his hit film recently got a sequel.

His former co-star Tom Cruise called Edwards and showed him the film in person.

After watching the film, Edwards turned to Cruise and simply stated, “Mission accomplished.”

Anthony Edwards feels that Top Gun is a special film that has deep connections with fans, which meant that creating a sequel that lives up to the original film was going to be incredibly difficult.

Despite the uphill battle that came with Top Gun: Maverick, Edwards feels that the sequel gives viewers the same feelings as the original film.

The public seems to have agreed with Edwards, with Top Gun: Maverick earning more than $300 million in the United States and $600 million internationally only months after its release.

This has made the sequel Tom Cruise’s most successful film domestically.

Anthony Edwards appreciated the fact that Rooster shared a lot of similarities with Goose, but the writers were still able to make him his own character.

Edwards believes the difference comes from the fact that Goose was Maverick’s wingman and Rooster flies solo.

Rooster’s actor, Miles Teller, felt that he was a good casting option for his role because he genuinely looks like he could be the son of Meg Ryan and Anthony Edwards when he grows out his mustache.

Not only do young Anthony Edwards and Miles Teller look like one another, but Teller also does an excellent job of embodying the small mannerism of Goose like his piano playing and the way he speaks.


Why Did Goose Have To Die In Top Gun?

Pilot walking away from aircraft after a mission


According to Anthony Edwards, Goose had to die in Top Gun because Maverick needed to suffer and overcome a big life event in order to properly mature into the pilot that his squad needed.

Goose’s death is the breaking point that Maverick must survive to prove to himself just how strong he is when he needs to be.

Earlier in the film, Maverick tells Goose that he is the only family that the lonely pilot has left, and he has no idea what he would do with his life if he lost him.

Goose is one of the most lovable and supportive sidekicks in cinematic history.

These factors are what make Goose’s death in the 1986 film even more heart-wrenching for viewers.

Knowing that Maverick is now alone and has lost his biggest source of motivation, new viewers are forced to wonder if Maverick will give up his dream of being a Navy pilot.

Rather than giving in to the guilt and anxiety, Maverick pushes himself forward and goes on to achieve the goal that he hoped he would be able to complete with Goose by his side.

Not only does Goose’s death affect the events of Top Gun, but his death also continues to be a key plot point in the sequel film Top Gun: Maverick.

While Maverick has taken to teaching at the same Naval flight school that he and Goose once attended, Goose’s son Rooster is forced to spend his young adult life alone without any family to support him.

It’s now Maverick’s turn to be everything Goose was for him and help Rooster overcome his mourning and anger.

Through their reconnection, Maverick and Rooster find peace in Goose’s death by relying on one another.

Maverick gets a partner he can rely on and Rooster finally gets the necessary familiar support.


Why Is Everyone In Top Gun So Sweaty?

Ukrainian Su-27 during Air Show 2013 event on August 24, 2013 in Radom, Poland


Everyone in Top Gun is so sweaty because real-life pilots are known to sweat intensely while under the pressure of high amounts of g-force, which is essentially squeezing the sweat out of the pilots.

Navy ships are also known for getting hot depending on where they’re located, similar to ships seen in Top Gun being located on the Indian Ocean.

When they weren’t filming aboard a ship, director Tony Scott was having the actors endure the hot heat of San Diego, California.

Between Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick, the sweat is vastly more intense in the original film.

Whether it be an attempt to create more sexual appeal from the sweat-drenched actors like Tom Cruise or simply the fact that air conditioning wasn’t as frequently installed in the 1980s, there’s no denying that the original Top Gun cast was sweating buckets compared to the cast of Top Gun: Maverick.

However, things seem to be vastly more sweaty in the final third of the sequel film.

With the crew experiencing more g-forces and aerial action than any other part of the film, it makes sense that the previously dewy Maverick cast would then be drenched in sweat.

In both films, it’s clear that Tom Cruise as Maverick is the sweatiest member of the team.

Whether this is Tom Cruise and Tony Scott’s attempt at keeping the attention of the more mature women in the audience or Cruise and Mavericks’s natural reaction, Top Gun: Maverick promises to bring back all the old feelings from the original film and even brings back sweat.

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