A lot of real world military aircraft have appeared in several movies. These appearances show the popularity of the aircraft with the general public. They also get the opportunity to showcase their capabilities to the public.
We aviation geeks from around the world love to unwind by spending the time searching for and watching some really good movies specifically related to fighter planes. We love the great dogfights, head to head chase sequences and the actual fighters themselves.
We did our research and had a look into the story line, the action and the method how the movie was shot. We loved, and watched at least once, all the movies in this must watch list. And we have listed our top 5 rated favorite movies of all time. Hope you enjoy our selection of movies:
1) Les Chevaliers du Ciel
This film was famous for its great video angles and highly real time aerial warfare. It had a great storyline but was quite limited in dog fights shot in the film. The method used to capture and shoot the movie was good along with excellent cameramen and camera work. The technical specifications shown in the film were very authentic. The flight sequences from the film were all filmed with actual real aircraft and aerial footage and photography, without the use of CGI. In order to capture the greatly flown high-speed manoeuvres, a specially designed high technology camera was somehow attached to a Mirage 2000 aircraft which then tailed the ‘star planes’ as they flew, for only another Mirage 2000 could actually fly at speeds that matched the planes being filmed. The traditional film camera, which was specially constructed with lenses facing forward, backward, to the side, and downward, was installed inside an empty fuel pod primarily built by Dassault, the aircraft company consortium which constructed the Mirage 2000. For tracking shots , where using the Mirage 2000 camera was not practical, a Lear jet was flown in from Southern California in the United States, and used for about a week at great expense.
2) Top Gun
The well known film, Top Gun was shot well with all the shooting done from the ground. The storyline wasn’t that good and seemed technically inaccurate. There is no plane called the MiG-28 – all Mikoyan-Gurevich aircraft have odd-number designations. The planes used in the film to simulate the MiGs were Northrop F-5E Tiger IIs. During most flight sequences, safety pins and star wheels on left top head box of Martin Baker GRU-7A ejection seat are installed. Thus the seat is not armed and in any inverted manoeuvres, seats would slide off ejection gun rails. There were many dogfights shown in the film. F-14 was the main plane used in this film. During both the training missions and dogfight scenes, the sound effects for the targeting system and the radar/missile warning are nearly identical. In reality, those two sounds would be completely different so as to give the pilot no doubt as to what’s going on.
3) Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag
This is a documentary film which is highly accurate in the technical aspect. There are also many good dogfight scenes and it’s a must watch movie for all aviation enthusiasts. The F-15 is the main plane used in the film. In addition to the breath-taking cinematography and heart-stopping action sequences, and the less glamorous depictions are shot well. The shots inside the AWACS aircraft are simply exquisite. Likewise, we are treated to stunning panoramas of the airfield and runways at Nellis AFB.
4) Iron Eagle
This film had some good dogfights but since it’s an old movie we didn’t like it much. The storyline was not to the mark however the overall movie was good. The F-16 was the main plane used in this film. However the cockpit and controls of a real F-16 are nothing like they appear in this movie. Many of the external shots of the aircraft during flight clearly show that these are remote controlled scale models. This is evident by the jumpy flight characteristics. Full size aircraft do not behave in such erratic manners. The enemy fighters used in this film are not MIGs at all. They are Israeli Aircraft Industries F-21 Kfirs, which are French Mirage 5s that are modified and produced by Israel. The M-61A1 cannon does not require a radar lock to shoot at a target, and is not affected by any operating mode of the radar. The radar could be turned off, and the cannon would still operate normally. In reality, no weapon that the F-16s carried in the film required a radar lock to operate.
5) Behind Enemy Lines
This film had a good story line and also was technically accurate. There were few dogfights in the film understandably because of the storyline it was based on. The F-18 was the main plane used in the film. The film also portrayed the following glitches where it showed a missile being capable of chasing the F/A-18. On an F-18, the survival radio and beacon are located inside a seat pan underneath the pilot. After clearing the cockpit canopy, the ejection seat separates. During the ejection sequence, the two seats collide with each other however the ejection seats are usually designed so that they would direct themselves away from one another to prevent this.
Additional Readings –
- Navy preparing to launch new carrier catapult technology
- Jet Engines – How they work
- Mach Loop – Speed and scenery heaven
- Media’s perspective of Red Flag
Author – Jake Meilak