Scott Altman is a pretty cool guy.   He's the commander of the Atlantis mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope (and, as noted previously, astronaut John Grunsfeld is also carrying along Edwin Hubble's basketball, another level of awesome) and being commander of a space shuttle mission is nice, though I generally think NASA has lost both its way and the imagination of the public by manning a fleet of delivery trucks instead of doing actual space exploration.

   No, Altman is cool because he was one of the stunt pilots in "Top Gun."

Sure, that just meant he had to fly Tom Cruise in an F-14 and do some aerial acrobatics, but it's "Top Gun" - pretty iconic no matter what.   What baffled me in his CNN interview was 
But Altman is in one of the movie's most memorable scenes. While flying upside down, inverted, Altman gives an obscene gesture to the pilot of an enemy plane.
Now, I'm no physics genius (okay, I am, at least when it comes to things that, you know, could actually happen) but when I saw that scene as a 19 year old guy, I broke out laughing.  Not only were they bad special effects of two planes cut and pasted into the same frame about a Soviet plane that didn't exist (they didn't do even numbered MiGs, at least then), that move was impossible on planet Earth.    You may argue Euler or Bernoulli when it comes to flying but, one way or another, those planes were not flying like that.   On a good day, they get pushed apart.   On a very bad day, they get sucked into each other.

Take a look for yourself and tell me what you think.   

and then check out this modern re-enactment of the ending aerial battle scene.