EXCLUSIVE: Papillion-La Vista grad turned fighter pilot helped in ‘Top Gun’ sequel

Top Gun: Maverick hits theaters Friday.
Published: May. 28, 2022 at 11:57 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The highly anticipated sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” hit theaters Friday — and along with it, the debut performance of a Papillion La Vista High School graduate.

Mike Scott helped to coordinate some of the incredible aerial and aircraft carrier deck shots in the “Top Gun” sequel.

“They needed someone to tell them what the flight schedule would be each day, so what jets were flying when,” Scott said. “I was able to tell them when they would be able to get the best shots that they were looking for based on the types of airplanes they wanted to see.”

The 2004 Papillion La Vista High School grad got involved with the movie production because of his last Navy job as air-wing strike operations officer. He said it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“It was very important for me because I was inspired by the first movie. Many of us were — to become fighter pilots and aviators in the military — so I wanted to be authentic as it could be.”

Tom Cruise returned in the action-packed film as a courageous test pilot training young aviators for a special mission. And in true Hollywood fashion, the movie itself had some turbulence.

Years of delays and setbacks, which Scott said made it even more worth the wait.

“I think it’s going to capture the excitement of naval aviation and fighter aviation. The flying scenes are authentic. A lot of this was shot with actors in the cockpit, with other jets. I mean, the cinematography is going to be incredible.”

Scott and a few friends did get screen time, albeit fleeting; they appeared as extras in the hectic bar scene.

For him, the experience was simply once in a lifetime.

“I grew up with the movie, and thanked him for having us here as extras, and told him that he was the reason I was a Navy fighter pilot. I think he got a kick out of that, so that was pretty special.”

Scott said Paramount Pictures threw him and some other naval aviators a screening party earlier this week. And he said he got to meet an actor James Tolkan, who played “Stinger” in the first movie.

Scott added that the movie was great and hopes it will inspire the next generation of aviators.

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