By Renata Di Gregorio, Fire Coast News
Here’s a guess for what you may have done this weekend: go to the movies!
The new “Top Gun” hit theaters, 36 years since the first one. That means it was 36 years ago that some little kids were watching and now some of those kids are adults working in aviation.
Matt Bocchino was a young boy when he watched the first “Top Gun” movie and got inspired. Now he’s the one in the sky.
“I don’t think my mom knew that I saw it at that age,” Bocchino laughed.
After that, the path, or you could say the runway, was laid out for Bocchino’s future.
“‘Top Gun’ was definitely a huge part of my reason for getting into the aviation industry,” he said.
Now Bocchino is a pilot and the director of Cecil Airport and Spaceport.
The action, the adrenaline, the airplanes, the loud noises, which is kind of how I ended up at Cecil,” Bocchino said. “A lot of stuff you see in the movie there happens out here.”
In 2019 Tom Cruise’s fighter jet from the movie was at Cecil Airport and Spaceport.
“It flew into Cecil and then Boeing converted it into a Blue Angel,” Bocchino said.
Now decades after “Top Gun” debuted, the kid with the popcorn has become the man in aviator sunglasses flying the plane.
“It’s freedom,” said Bocchino. “There’s a famous saying, ‘a mile of runway will take you anywhere.'”
The first stop: to the movies.
If the original movie helped inspire Bocchino to become a pilot, could Hollywood help the pilot shortage?
“Partially because of this movie, I wanted to be in the military or fly for a living or both,” Bocchino said. “I’m Type 1 diabetic so that’s how we ended up in this path.”
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