Edwards flies fighter jets in ‘Maverick’ film

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Navy LCDR Nate Edwards, a Prairie du Chien native, stands beneath a jet landing on the aircraft carrier, which served as the set for the “Top Gun: Maverick” movie. (Submitted photo)

By Correne Martin


If you watch “Top Gun: Maverick” closely, you might catch a glimpse of an F/A-18 being flown by pilot Nate Edwards, a Prairie du Chien native. 

“I flew mostly a jet that had four external cameras mounted on it and mostly helped with sequences around the aircraft carrier,” said the 2007 Prairie du Chien High School graduate of his appearance in the blockbuster film. Nate is the son of Brian and Mary Edwards.  He joined the Navy in 2011 and has flown F/A-18s since 2013.

This was LCDR Edwards’ first time appearing in a major motion picture. Viewers can even see his name listed among the 20-some Navy pilots in the ending credits. 

“The movie crew coordinated through the Navy. We would work with a Navy liaison and an aerial coordinator to get an idea of what they were looking for in terms of certain shots,” Edwards explained. “A lot of what you see in the movie is real, although they did supplement some things.”

To capture the best camera angles and footage, Edwards said, there was a main Navy jet equipped with cameras on the outside and a second jet with cameras on the inside, along with other non-Navy aircrafts carrying cameras as well. 

Production actually took place for the movie from May 2018 through April 2019 in California, Washington and Nevada.

For a few weeks, the actors filmed some of the sequel’s most iconic scenes on a ship based out of Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado on the San Diego Bay. Then, the Naval aviators were brought on board, Edwards said. They filmed at other Naval air stations too. 

After a long delay, due to the pandemic, the movie released May 27. It has been at the box office in Prairie du Chien since and will remain there through Aug. 11 at least, according to the Prairie Cinema website.

Nate and his wife, Jess, live in San Diego, Calif. Of course, having seen “Top Gun” growing up, he shared, “It was a cool experience. I’m glad the movie turned out well.”

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