Young Navy Officers, Jay and Meagan, have dreamt of becoming naval aviators flying the F-14 Tomcat since their childhoods. The film follows their two-and-a-half year journey as it takes ... See full summary »
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Young Navy Officers, Jay and Meagan, have dreamt of becoming naval aviators flying the F-14 Tomcat since their childhoods. The film follows their two-and-a-half year journey as it takes them through dogfights in the Nevada desert, night landings on aircraft carriers in the Atlantic, and eventually to the biggest challenge young officers face: wartime deployments to Iraq. Written by
During Jay's F-14 dogfight with the F-5 "Saint", the exterior shots are clearly of an F-14 Tomcat, but when footage is shown of Jay's face and torso from inside the cockpit, the unmistakable wings and outwardly canted vertical stabilizers of an F/A-18 Hornet are plainly visible through the canopy behind him. This mistake is repeated again while Jay is attempting his first carrier landing. When the camera is on Jay in the cockpit, it's obvious that he is once again flying in an F/A-18 Hornet, but exterior footage from the carrier shows an F-14 Tomcat landing on the deck. See more »
Compelling stories, excellent flight footage, some questionable statistics
Many of the statistics claimed by Captain John Cole ("Sir Buckethead") range from dubious to patently false. First, he claims that 1 of every 1,000 applicants get into the Naval Academy, or 0.1%, whereas the actual figure according to the College Board is 14% or approximately one in seven. Captain Cole was off by a factor of 140.
Captain Cole also claims that only 1 of every 10,000 applicants are admitted to flight school, 30-40% of admits graduate flight school, 15% of graduates get jets, and 1% of pilots with jets get to fly to F-14. By Captain Cole's statistics, if every person in the United States Armed Forces in a given year (approximately 2,900,000 active and reserve) applied to flight school, 290 would be admitted, 87-116 would complete flight school, 13-17 would get jets, and 0.13 to 0.17 people would get to fly the F-14. The Navy, then, would produce a new F-14 pilot once every six to eight years.
Captain Cole ends his random-number-generating soliloquy by pointing out that when he went through flight school 1 in 10,000 aspirants got to fly the F-14, but today the figure is probably around 1 in 100,000. Again, if every member of the United States Armed Forces aspired to fly the F-14, then only 29 would achieve their goal. More realistically, if every member of the United States Navy (about 332,000) aspired to fly the F-14, then, only 3.32 people would make the grade, which would leave 1.32 F-14 pilots after accounting for Jay and Meagan, but also would not match his previous claims above.
There is no doubt that operating air superiority fighters like the (now retired) F-14 is a highly sought-after gig in the United States Navy. However, the producers of this film could've performed a bit of vetting on their interview subject's claims before deciding to include his commentary in the final version.
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