FlightSmith Magazine



Film to be shown at 'The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration' -- EAA AirVenture

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (May 3, 2007) - The votes are in! Thousands of aviation enthusiasts have made their choices in EAA's "Greatest Aviation Movie of All Time" poll, and the winning film combines adventure, romance and lots of high-performance flying.

The champion is "Top Gun," the 1986 blockbuster that starred Tom Cruise (an EAA member), Kelly McGillis, Tom Skerritt, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards and several other stars in a drama based at the U.S. Navy's "Top Gun" fighter training school. The movie, which was the biggest grossing film in the U.S. that year, will be shown during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007 at the event's Fly-In Theater, presented by Ford Motor Company and Eclipse Aviation.

"There's no doubt regarding the popular appeal of 'Top Gun,' even 20 years after its initial release," said Tom Benenson, FLYING Magazine senior editor, who created many of the introductions for the Fly-In Theater at EAA AirVenture 2006. "Many aviation fans have this film as part of their video collection or regularly search for the movie's airings on television. Knowing the flying sequences are based on actual U.S. military training makes the film even more appealing to pilots."

"Top Gun" was one of 10 finalists in the online poll at It collected more than 20.5 percent of the more than 10,000 votes cast, ahead of the classic 1949 film "Twelve O'Clock High" (17.7 percent) and more recent World War II epic "Memphis Belle" from 1990 (12.2 percent).

The finalists were the 10 most-nominated films by EAA members earlier this year, who submitted more than 140 aviation movies. Others in the final poll included "Battle of Britain" (1969) with 11.8 percent; "Spirit of St. Louis" (1957) and "The Great Waldo Pepper" (1975), each with 8.6 percent; "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines" (1965) 7.1 percent; "The Flight of the Phoenix" (1965) 5.2 percent; and "The High and the Mighty" (1954) with 4.0 percent.

"We thank the thousands of people who participated in this online poll over the past two months," Benenson said. "We heard from many EAA members and others who are passionate about their particular favorites when it comes to aviation movies. Their voting and input has assured a long list of future feature possibilities as EAA continues to develop the Fly-In Theater with the support of Ford and Eclipse."

The viewing date of "Top Gun" at the Fly-In Theater during EAA AirVenture 2007 will be announced when it is finalized in the coming weeks. This film will join the previously announced "Apollo 13" on the schedule, a movie that will be shown on Friday, July 27 and introduced by actual Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell. Additional films and presenters will be announced as they are confirmed, but all promise to be movies of special interest for aviation enthusiasts.

The outdoor theater, located adjacent to EAA's Camp Scholler camping area, will be open each evening (weather permitting) from Sunday, July 22 through Saturday, July 28. The walk-in theater is reminiscent of the famous drive-in theaters of the past, complete with popcorn! There is no admission charge for the theater, which is open to all AirVenture guests. Each evening's show begins at approximately 8:30 p.m., with an introduction by a celebrity presenter, followed by a classic aviation film at about 9 p.m., shown on a projection screen measuring five stories high.

EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration and EAA's yearly membership convention. It will be held July 23-29 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wis. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit EAA AirVenture information is also available through the World Wide Web at