By SONJA BARISIC, Associated Press Writer
Fri Sep 22, 7:30 PM ET
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The F-14 Tomcat, the dogfighting Cold War fighter jet immortalized in the movie "Top Gun," made its ceremonial final flight Friday in a display that suggested the timing was right for retirement.
Pilot Lt. Cmdr. David Faehnle and radar intercept officer Lt. Cmdr. Robert Gentry gave a final salute from inside their cockpit before aircraft no. 102 taxied down the runway and out of sight at Oceana Naval Air Station.
The plane that actually took off as thousands applauded and whistled, however, was aircraft no. 107, with Lt. Cmdr. Chris Richard at the controls and intercept officer Lt. Mike Petronis in the back seat.
The first jet had mechanical problems — "a common occurrence with the F-14," said Mike Maus, a Navy spokesman. The second jet had been on standby just in case.
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Saturday, September 23, 2006
AP: Navy's 'Top Gun' jet takes final flight