With the country abuzz about Top Gun: Maverick, Tim Allen offered proof that Tom Cruise isn’t the only actor who could hang with a bunch of superstar pilots.
Allen, the comedian who starred in Home Improvement, a classic TV mainstay from the 1990s, posted a YouTube video of his experience flying with the Blue Angels. Allen was 30 and two years into Home Improvement when he flew with some of the country’s top pilots.
Tim Allen, with a nod to his old show, tweeted earlier this week:
“Tool man Top Gun, what a memory.” (We second that memory)
The video didn’t have a date. But the National Naval Aviation Museum posted about the Tim Allen experience in 2020. According to the Facebook post, Tim Allen flew with the spectacular group of aviators in 1993.
In the video, Tim Allen told the pilots he’d been a big fan since he was a kid. His father used to take him to the air shows. And Home Improvement actually featured the Blue Angels in 1997. That was for an episode called “Insult to Injury.” It ran April 15, 1997. To jog your memory, here’s the plot tease:
“Tim separates his shoulder and needs an operation the day before an award-winning show where he could drive a steamroller and two days before a trip with Mark to see the Blue Angels. He escapes from the hospital, and causes further injury.”
Like Tim Allen, we’re all fans of the Blue Angels, which performs in front of an average of 11 million spectators a year. The group also visits hospitals and schools when the pilots aren’t toying with the speed of sound.
The Blue Angels even flew at the start of the Covid pandemic in 2020. The pilots flew over numerous cities as a way to honor healthcare workers.
Admiral Chester Nimitz created the Blue Angels in 1946. Most of the pilots flew in World War II. And the flight exhibition team helped keep up the morale in the Navy. Back then, the pilots flew Grumman F6F Hellcats. These days, the pilots pull off their disciplined, yet spectacular maneuvers in F-18 Super Hornet Fighter Jets. So yes, that’s a lot like Top Gun: Maverick. Each Blue Angels pilot must have flown a minimum of 1,250 hours to qualify for the team.
On his Blue Angels experience, Tim Allen entertained the pilots as much as they impressed him. He put on a flight suit and while in the air, he experienced 5.5 G’s.
The Blue Angel in charge told Allen: “We just showed you how slow we can go, now we can show you how fast we can go without breaking any windows. We’re going to go just shy of supersonic.”
The pilot said they were flying at about 620 knots “almost the speed of sound.” That’s about 713 mph. You break the speed of sound by exceeding 760 mph. So that certainly satisfied a need for speed.
When Tim Allen got off the plane, he immediately patted the ground before thanking the pilots. And then he walked away, looking a bit wobbly. We’re assuming Tom Cruise probably did the same when he first flew in a fighter jet for the original Top Gun back in 1986.