How to have a ‘Top Gun Maverick Experience’ at the Smoky Mountain Air Show

People of all ages, including kids, can take a seat inside the fighter jet.
Although very few people get to experience piloting a fighter jet, you can sit inside the cockpit of one, dreaming of what it would be like.
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 9:28 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Although very few people get to experience piloting a fighter jet, you can sit inside the cockpit of one, dreaming of what it would be like at the Smoky Mountain Air Show.

A F/A-18 Hornet will be at McGhee Tyson Airport, giving attendees a “Top Gun Maverick Experience.” The aircraft entered service with the United States Navy in 1978, the Marine Crops in 1984 and saw its first action in 1986 during the bombing of Libya, according to officials.

As an attack and fighter jet, the aircraft has 43 years of operational experience under its belt and replaced the F-4 Phantom, A-7 Corsair, F-14 Tomcat and A-6 intruder.

In its prime, the fighter jet had a maximum speed of 1190 miles per hour.

“Its primary mission was fleet air defense, suppression of enemy air defenses, air interdiction, air-to-ground support and aerial reconnaissance,” according to DreamBIG Entertainment.

The entertainment company took possession of the decommissioned cockpit action of the jet, intending to bring it to life as a fully interactive event, ground attraction and museum piece, officials said.

“The cockpit itself is priceless because there are virtually no authentic F/A18s in private hands within the United States,” a spokesperson said.

People of all ages, including kids, can take a seat inside the fighter jet.

Three children inside the cockpit Friday told WVLT News one of the most incredible things about the experience was how high up they were, giving them views of everything happening around the airport.

Learn more about the Smoky Mountain Air Show here. Miss the Blue Angels practice show? Watch it here!