Atlanta-native pilot soars in 'Top Gun: Maverick'

There seems to be no limit to how high "Top Gun: Maverick" will soar, as the Tom Cruise film breaks box office records and wins raves from critics and audiences around the world.

And in case you didn't know, there's a key metro Atlanta connection to the blockbuster action flick, involving a U.S. Navy Commander and Blue Angels pilot who helped make all those pulse-pounding flying sequences so realistic.

Commander Frank J. Weisser – a graduate of North Springs High School and the U.S. Naval Academy – was called up to perform spectacular flying scenes in the film due to his experience flying at extremely low altitudes. 

"The liaison for the movie went to a lot of trouble to find the experts in every field," says Weisser. "And the reason I was involved is because as a Blue Angel, I've flown so many airshows at really low altitudes, that the scenes where they needed airplanes at abnormally low altitudes, they used me for."

Weisser says he worked off-and-on on the film from the fall of 2018 through the summer of 2019, often flying in the cockpit with star Cruise.

"Tom flies a lot personally, so he's really strong in the airplane. That's important to me, because when the passenger is really strong like he was, it means there's no limit to what we can do with that airplane," he said.

Weisser says he's thrilled by the response to "Top Gun: Maverick" and hopes it inspires a new generation to serve through Naval aviation. Meanwhile, the pilot now manages and develops a private fly-in community called Heaven's Landing in Rabun County. 

To hear more from Commander Frank J. Weisser, click the video player in this article.