WGBH Openvault

NOVA; Top Gun and Beyond


License Clip

More material is available from this program at the WGBH Archive. If you are a researcher interested in accessing the collection at WGBH, please email archive_requests@wgbh.org.

Undigitized item: Request Digitization

Untranscribed item: Request Transcription

Top Gun and Beyond
Program Number


Series Description

Premiered March 1974 NOVA is a general-interest documentary series that addresses a single science issue each week. Billed as "science adventures for curious grown-ups" when it first aired in March, 1974, NOVA continues to offer an informative and entertaining approach to a challenging subject. 1996 marked NOVA's 23rd season, which makes it the longest-running science program on national television. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Series release date: 3/3/1974

Program Description

Man and machines "at the edge" in high speed fighter planes. Today's high tech planes have changed the nature of flying, but can't change the nature of the pilots. What does this mean for weapon design? The history of the fighter plane is covered. Now, faster and more maneuverable than ever, fighter jets have run up against another one performance limit that engineers may not be able to overcome: the biology barrier. As NOVA cameras show, the newest fighters are both aerodynamically unstable and immensely powerful, but this combination causes almost unbelievable maneuverability, which in turn exposes the human pilot to excessive g-forces. Those g-forces can cause the pilot to suddenly black out -- and remain incapacitated for minutes.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “NOVA; Top Gun and Beyond,” 08/12/1987, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 10, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_BEE5D394777B4F15BEE3F082E67BD531.
MLA: “NOVA; Top Gun and Beyond.” 08/12/1987. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 10, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_BEE5D394777B4F15BEE3F082E67BD531>.
APA: NOVA; Top Gun and Beyond. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_BEE5D394777B4F15BEE3F082E67BD531
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.