Monday, March 20, 2006

Ode To Maverick, Ice Man & The Tomcat

The U.S. Department of the Navy announced last week that the venerable F-14 Tomcat fighter is to be completely retired by this coming September. You remember the Tomcat, don't you? It's the featured "player" in the 1986 Tom Cruise movie, "Top Gun."

Over 600 of the twin-engined, swing-winged fighters (maximum speed of 1,544mph) were produced between 1970 and the early 1990's. Most F-14 squadrons will take delivery of its replacement, the F-18 "Super" Hornet in the coming months. The VF-31 "Tomcatters" squadron will retain their F-14's until August, making them the last to fly the famous fighter.

Of historical note, the last Tomcat to be catapulted from an aircraft carrier probably happened last Saturday (March 11th) aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt with the VF-213 Black Lion squadron.

For all of you military-aviation buffs, the Tomcat started life as a JOINT venture between the Navy and the Air Force. The two branches of the military were in need of a fighter, and decided to share their R&D dollars to contain the high costs associated with creating a high-tech aircraft from scratch.

It wasn't much of a surprise when politics entered the picture and the two forces couldn't agree on anything. The whole project went millions of dollars over-budget... and up in flames. From the ashes of engineer's blueprints, both the Navy and the Air Force developed their own dual-engined, swing-winged fighters (the Navy's F-14, and the Air Force F-111 Aardvark, retired in 1996).

There will be a major reunion of pilots, mechanics and supporters of the Tomcat September 20-23, 2006.

Most of the remaining F-14's will be destroyed, while a few will be shipped to museums.

As a parting shot, we re-print part of an interview with Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary about their feeling that "Top Gun" is one of Hollywood's least-known -- and best -- gay-themed movies:

"You've got Iceman, and all his crew.
They're gay, they represent the gay community...
and they're saying, "Go the gay way."
"Then you've got Maverick, right? He's on the edge, man.
He could go either way.
"Kelly McGillis--
she represents heterosexuality.
She's saying, "No, no, no!
Go the normal way;
play by the rules."
That's what's going on
throughout that whole movie.
"Mav goes to her house, all right?
It looks like they're going to have sex.
They're just kind of sitting back,
he's takin' a shower and everything. But they
don't have sex! He gets on the motorcycle,
drives away. She's like, "What the
hell, what's going on here?!?" Next scene
you see her, she's in the elevator,
she's dressed like a guy. She's got the cap on,
she's got the aviator glasses,
she's wearing the same jacket
that the Iceman wears. She's like,
"Okay, this is how I gotta get this guy...
this guy's going towards the gay way, I gotta bring
him back through a little subterfuge.
I'm gonna dress like a man."
That's how she approaches it-- she makes herself
more appealing by dressing like the Iceman.

"The movie's ending REALLY gets the point
across when they fight the MIGs at the end.
Mav's passed over into the gay way and
they are now this gay fighting force.
And they're beating the Russians--
the gays are beating the Russians.
And it's over, and they land, and Iceman's
been trying to get Maverick the
entire time, and finally, he's got him, all right?
And they're all hugging and kissing and
happy with each other, and Ice comes up to Maverick,
and he says, "Man, you can ride my tail, anytime!"
And what does Maverick say?
"You can ride mine!" Swordfight! Swordfight!"

Continuing that theme, take a look at the Topgun spoof, Brokeback Squadron.

Godspeed, Maverick... and remember one of the best lines from the flick: "You don't own that plane, son. The taxpayers do. So don't let your ego write any checks your body can't cash-- or you'll be flying a cargo plane full of rubber dog shit out of Hong Kong."

Words to live by...


At 7:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

II found your posting interesting, having been a Black Lion myself some years ago, but I must point out that the 2nd aircraft picture that is posted with this entry is actually an Air Force FB-111. The airframes are similar, sleak w/variable geometry wings but the FB-111 is slimmer (overall) than the f-14, it has only 1 vertical stabilizer (Vertical Tailwing), the engines are much closer together, when compared to the F-14; Also the pilot and copilot sit side by side one another in the FB-111 where as the Pilot sits in front of the RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) in the F-14

Sorry to be over critical of the entry, but I thought you might want to know, to maintain accuracy.

Best Regards.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger DodgerJon said...

Thanks for your comment... but, yes, I posted the shot of the F-111 as I had mentioned it in the story (the F-14 begat the F-111, if you will). I wanted readers to have an idea of what both craft look like.

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