Few pilots ever have an opportunity to meet an enemy aircraft in aerial battle. Fewer yet come out victorious. And even fewer still—in fact, only one—then go on to be involved in arguably the most influential pop culture aviation film of all time.
That man is retired US Navy Rear Admiral Pete “Viper” Pettigrew.
Climb aboard this week’s episode and hear the harrowing tale of Viper’s shootdown of a North Vietnamese MiG-21 with an untrained Radar Intercept Officer. An NFO who crewed the backseat of an F-4 Phantom or F-14 Tomcat. in the backseat of his F-4 Phantom II. Then learn how he answered the call to assist Hollywood as the military adviser to everyone’s favorite flying movie, Top Gun. Think it a coincidence that Tom Skerritt’s character—the Commanding Officer. aka “Skipper”. The senior-ranking officer and individual in charge of a particular unit, such as a squadron. of TOPGUN—was A nickname aircrew use to address one another on the ground and in-flight, in lieu of using real names and ranks. “Viper”?!
With spare time after the interview listener questions are addressed, such as how likely it would have been in the real world for Maverick’s engine flameout occur by flying through another plane’s jet wash, which cockpit arrangement the host liked better between the F/A-18 and F-16, more on aircraft paint schemes, how the Approach magazine was regarded, and defining moments.