We Got Some Walkaround Photos Of The F-14 Tomcat Used For The Filming Of “Top Gun: Maverick”

The F-14 that was used in Top Gun 2 has returned to San Diego Air and Space Museum. (Image credit: a reader who wishes to remain anonymous).

The Top Gun sequel’s F-14 has returned to her home. And we have obtained some interesting shots of the Tomcat that expose  her movie “costume”.

The fact that an F-14 will appear in “Top Gun: Maverick” is not a secret. In December last year we posted the first shots of Tom Cruise at Lake Tahoe next to an old F-14. The same Tomcat, that appeared to have a Phoenix emblem under the cockpit, later made a comeback aboard a U.S. Navy carrier, when the very same aircraft was spotted, with black painted tails and phoenix-like insignias, entangled in the flattop’s crash barricade, during filming aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt in San Diego.

After taking part in the filming of Top Gun 2 at Naval Air Station North Island and nearby during the winter, the jet, #159631, which belongs to the San Diego Air and Space Museum Gillespie Field Annex, was disassembled to be returned to Gillespie Field with the unique Top Gun markings on its side.

The aircraft returned to SDASM on Jun. 10, and just a couple of days later, on Jun. 13, a reader visiting the Annex found that the aircraft has already been reassembled.

The reassembled Tomcat used in Top Gun 2.

“Interestingly, the aircraft was moved with all the movie insigna exposed. The assembly crew took them off, but as the photos in this post prove, this didn’t make a difference. The Tomcat had arresting hook: some speculated it barricaded because it might have been land based version. Whether it was just put back on for restoration or was on during shoot I don’t know,” our reader explained in an email.

The mysterious “Phoenix” insignia is still clearly visible.

“There were no engines in it. Right wingtip a little beat up, otherwise in pretty good shape.” Well, we don’t know anything about the aircraft and her role in Top Gun sequel. It’s not clear whether the aircraft will be repainted in its previous livery or something else, nor is it known if it will be moved elsewhere. Still, the fact that to the eye of a Top Gun geek it appears to be in a “good shape” is a great news!

The phoenix-like insignia on the black painted tail of the F-14.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.