According to Bloomberg, the US Navy lent Tom Cruise F/A-18 Super Hornets for the new “Top Gun” movie. So what were the rules and how much did it cost? The studio paid as much as $11,374 an hour to use the advanced fighter planes. Tom Cruise and all the other actors couldn’t touch the controls.
According to Glen Roberts, the chief of the Pentagon’s entertainment media office. Pentagon regulation bars non-military personnel from controlling a Defense Department asset other than small arms in training scenarios. Instead, the actors rode behind F/A-18 pilots after completing required training on how to eject from the plane in an emergency and how to survive at sea.
So when you watch the movie remember a trained military pilot was flying the plane. I would assume the actors were filmed with fake controls behind the pilot. Or maybe some other kind of movie magic.