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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — The Super Hornet is the height of technology, flown by the U.S. Navy and proudly made here in St. Louis. That jet plane is also the one that Tom Cruise flies in the new “Top Gun: Maverick” movie opening nationwide.  

On Wednesday night, Boeing employees who help make the F-18 plane got a sneak peek of the film and sat in a simulator to fulfill their need for speed. Tom Cruise takes to the skies once again in the new film “Top Gun: Maverick,” taking the highway to the danger zone and flying the Boeing Super Hornet.

“The star of the movie is Tom Cruise, but having seen the movie and been involved in principle filming, the F-18 is a character,” said Kevin McLaughlin, the director of Navy Fighters Boeing.  “The Super Hornet is a character and a good one.”  

Boeing employees beamed at their beauty on the silver screen and also got a chance to fly the most technologically advanced Navy jet in a simulator. 

“Actual replica,” said McLaughlin.  “Full simulator, switch ology, switches display everything is the same.” 

The company let employees sit in a simulator and try to land their handiwork on an aircraft carrier, before heading inside the Ronnie’s Marcus Imax Cinema and seeing the real deal Super Hornet shine on the big screen. 

“It gives me the chills every single time,” said Jessica Idleman, F-18 production manager.  “I was like a giddy little kid knowing that I was going to get to watch the movie tonight.  I’ve heard from others that have watched it at how amazing it is to see our aircraft in action and see what it can do.  It’s going to be unbelievable. I can’t wait.”   

This real-life pilot and top gun served as a consultant on the new movie that tells a new story some 36 years after the original left audiences in awe.   

“In the first one, there are definitely moments where guys like me are like we don’t do that. That’s not how this works or how the class operates,” said McLaughlin. “A lot of advisors were involved with script and plot development and on-scene to remain true to naval aviation and top gun training and how we fly and go overseas.” 

You can see for yourself why these Boeing employees are so proud of their Super Hornet that they mounted special Imax cameras for the film.