The wife of a stunt pilot who died while filming a daring stunt for the original film Top Gun says the tragic incident remains a mystery.
Judy Shol Art’s husband plunged into the ocean after failing to recover from an inverted flat rotation while filming dramatic background scenes for the original blockbuster.
The death of the experienced pilot was horribly similar to the on-screen death of Gus, Maverick’s cinematographer in the film, who also died unable to recover from a flat rotation.
Neither Art’s plane nor his body were found – and the death came as a shock to the film industry at the time.
Speaking on the eve of the May 27 launch Top Gun: MaverickJudy said Art’s death at age 53 came as a big shock to anyone who knew him, as he was very experienced and cared about safety.
“It was a day no one expected or expected,” Judy told The Sun.
“He was very careful and confident in the preparation, checking the equipment and making sure everything was in good condition.
“He took all the precautions he could, but it still happened.
“He was not a gentleman in such things, he was always very aware of the element of danger and did his best to reduce the risk.”
Art, who has worked on hundreds of TV shows and movies, including Indiana Jones, just started working on Top Gun when he died.
The pilot was asked to take some “shots from a plate”, which were used as a background for actors such as Van Kilmer and Tom Cruise, on the green screen during filming.
The art had to make an inverted flat course, a fairly low risk for an experienced pilot, and the couple set off from their home in San Bernadino, California, to Edwards Air Force Base north of Los Angeles on September 16, 1985.
“He went out and did a few sequences of these flat rotations, but in the picture he caught an observer plane flying behind him and told them to retreat a couple of miles because it would ruin the picture,” Judy said.
He called the radio again, saying, “I have a problem,” and then about three seconds later said, “I have a real problem.”
“They backed away, lost sight of him, and then he told them on the radio that he was starting an inverted flat rotation.
“For a while down, he called the radio again, saying, ‘I have a problem,’ and then about three seconds later he said, ‘I have a real problem.’
“The guys on the observer plane went into the area where he was operating, and by the time they got there, he was gone.”
A support ship searched the area near Karlovy Vary and soon noticed debris and oil floating on the water.
Judy, who was supposed to fly an observer plane behind Arta but changed her plan at the last minute, remembers waiting at the nearby Rialto airport for their scheduled return at 5 p.m.
When they were late, she called the nearest Carlsbad airport, who told her the crew was returning.
“At that moment, they knew what had happened, but they didn’t want to talk to me on the phone,” she said.
“Eventually they came and landed. I expected Art to land first because he had a faster plane.
They just said, “He’s not coming home.” And that was all. “
“But the other guys landed and I didn’t see Art’s plane anywhere. When they came out, I looked at them and knew something very bad had happened.
“I said, ‘Where’s Art?’ and they looked at me and said, “Come inside, we need to talk.” They just said, “He’s not coming home.” And that was all.
He only said that Arta’s plane was equipped with a parachute and a life jacket, and the observer’s plane also had life jackets and a life raft.
THE SECRET OF BEAUTY
Unfortunately, Art, who spent 18 years as an aviation teacher, taught the exact trick that killed him, hundreds of aviation students.
There are still many unanswered questions about the disaster.
“The NTSB, which is investigating the crash, determined it was a special disorientation, but you can take it for granted,” Judy said.
“There was never a definitive answer for several reasons – neither the plane nor Art were found, they got lost at sea, and there were no recording devices like in the airlines.
“It’s kind of a guessing game, but it doesn’t change the end result, so I just don’t waste time trying to figure it out.”
TOP GUN 2
Judy said Art would be happy to see a new film – in which Cruz as Maverick and Miles Teller as Rooster, son of Gus – if he were still alive.
“Art would definitely like a new film – aerial photography – it’s a whole world, and it has changed dramatically over the years – cameras, lighting, sounds, and it was that element of the film that my husband really liked.
“He would like to see how things turned out from the original Top Gun.
“I’ll probably see it at some point. I think it will be a real crowd sold out because it’s been waiting so long.
Days and years soften sad memories.
“It won’t hurt me to watch, my husband’s career was primarily a film, so I understand his love of aviation and filmmaking in the industry.
“It doesn’t hurt because it’s been a long time – days and years are softened by sad memories.”
Judy says she would like Art to be remembered as a teacher, a competition pilot and a stunt pilot – and she will always be grateful to him for giving her the love of flying.
“It was a gift that Art made me – I wasn’t a pilot when I met him and I wasn’t particularly interested, but I got so involved and he shared so much with me that it became a part of my life. And even now its no, I still fly and I still enjoy being a part of the aviation world.
“I think it helped me deal with everything, to be honest.
“We all face losses in our lives – either we have or we will. It’s painful, difficult and tragic, whether it’s an accident, illness or old age. And that’s what we have to fight and move forward.” life I try to be a very positive person ”.