‘Top Gun: Maverick’s Monica Barbaro Flies With U.S. Navy Blue Angels

by Alex Falls
Vivien Killilea / Stringer / Getty

Top Gun: Maverick was an unprecedented success that took over American pop culture all summer long. This week, the film fell out of the top 10 spots at the box office for the first time since its release nearly five months ago. But it’s hands down the most successful film of the year so far with very little competition on the horizon and raking in almost $1.5 billion.

One of the film’s biggest assets is its talented cast. Anchored by several fresh faces, Top Gun: Maverick has more talent than just Tom Cruise. One such talented actor is Monica Barabro who played Natasha “Phoenix” Trace.

Last week, Barbaro flew with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels as part of the celebrations for San Francisco’s Fleet Week. She was nominated to take part in the flight because of her work with various charities. Including The Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Wingman Foundation.

The Blue Angels honored the actress during the flight by posting not only her name but also her character’s call sign, Phoenix, on the sides of the plane she was in.

Luckily for Barbaro, her training for Top Gun: Maverick involved flying for real. So when it came time for this most recent flight, she was mentally ready for it. She spoke to CBS in San Francisco after the event.

“It was really fun to get to see everything they were about to do in the show, and then get to watch it with that perspective,” Barbaro said. “I’m very lucky I flew in the movie, and kind of knew what I was doing up there. I think if I were a first timer, that would’ve been pretty intense.”

The Blue Angles also shared the story with their followers on Instagram. Writing alongside their post, “Today, actress and Top Gun: Maverick star, Monica Barbaro, call sign ”Phoenix,” had the opportunity to leave the G-suit behind and take a ride in the back of one of our F/A-18 Super Hornets! It was a pleasure having you visit with the team and share your love of aviation with us! Till next time, Phoenix!”

Blue Angels Deliver Real-Life Top Gun Thrills

Barbaro is not the first member of the Top Gun: Maverick cast to fly with the Blue Angels. Her co-star Glen Powell flew with them earlier this year as well. He’s also currently working on a documentary about the Blue Angels. 

The documentary will follow “the newest class of the storied Navy and Marine Corps flight squadron through intense training and into a season of heart-stopping aerial artistry, and the veterans on the team who, this year, will take their final flights.”

“I made two naval aviation films back-to-back,” Powell said. “I lived on bases among our men and women in uniform and learned firsthand what it takes for them to be the best of the best. After flying with the Blue Angels in an air show, I saw an incredible opportunity to make a world-class documentary.”