Pilot Wearing “Maverick” Helmet Flew Through The Star Wars Canyon During “Top Gun” Sequel Filming

A photo of a U.S. Navy F/A-18 with a crew member wearing the same helmet seen in previously leaked images of "Top Gun: Maverick" from a western low-flying area earlier this month. (Photo: @lohffingfoto via Instagram)

Filming of “Top Gun: Maverick” Continues, Tomcat Returned, Aerial Sequences Shot.

A sharp-eyed aviation photographer caught a photo of a U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet two-seat variant transiting through the Star Wars canyon, one of the most popular western U.S. low-flying areas, earlier this month during what appears to be filming of in-cockpit sequences for the upcoming “Top Gun: Maverick” movie.

The photo, posted to Instagram by Christopher Lohff (@lohffingfoto), shows the pilot/front-seater wearing the same HGU-68/P lightweight flight helmet with custom graphics as seen in previously leaked photos from the production of “Top Gun: Maverick”. The upcoming film, slated for release on June 26, 2020 in the U.S., is likely entering the final stages of its production phase before going to post-production and editing.

Another interesting detail in the photo is the appearance of an array of what appears to be four of the new Sony VENICE CineAlta video cameras on the coaming of the rear cockpit. The new Sony VENICE CineAlta is a full-frame, 36x24mm digital video camera that shoots at a maximum resolution of 6048×4032 and can be modified to shoot at even higher quality resolution. The cameras cost about $42,000 USD each without lenses or upgrades for higher resolution.

The Sony VENICE CineAlta array seen in the F/A-18 appears includes four rearward-facing cameras in the aft cockpit of the F/A-18 with various focal length lenses including at least two very wide-angle lenses. The camera array is fitted to the top of the rear cockpit coaming at the top of the instrument panel with a custom machined mount.

These photos give a clue about what some of the in-cockpit sequences may look like when the film debuts next year.

The new Sony VENICE CineAlta is a production-quality, compact, high resolution video camera release last year for professional cinematography. (Photo: Sony)

Just before the photos from the western low-flying areas appeared on Instagram, the Internet was filled with “spy” photos of an F-14 Tomcat being used in filming for the upcoming movie. The appearance of the Tomcat suggests a retrospective sequence, some kind of “flashback” to the original “Top Gun” in this upcoming release.

 

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Our Hero Tomcat should be returning to the San Diego Air & Space Museum Annex soon. Its service to the new film is coming to a close after its road trip to Lake Tahoe and a visit to the deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. We’ve got a few pics before its latest tour of duty began shared to us by @explrn_erth Interior looks great, clearly it has been well cared for and prepped for it’s close-up nicely. I’m really looking forward to seeing this bird up close soon. Maybe we’ll find out what the master plan is as far as returning it to its original squadron paint or keeping it ‘screen accurate’ from MAVERICK. Swipe through the pics to see the full mission. Thanks again to @explrn_erth for sending those pre-production shots.

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The F-14 Tomcat that was sighted around Coronado Island and North Island NAS also showed up on the deck of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) for some filming sequences. One sequence included the aircraft being stopped in the large net/arresting barrier used for emergency recoveries onboard ship. The F-14 used in the filming is likely Grumman F-14A Tomcat #159638, an aircraft previously on display at the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s Gillespie Annex in El Cajon, California.