Unlike Maverick, Dale "Snort" Snodgrass was a real F-14 Tomcat pilot. The Tomcat pilot, according to the US Navy: He's considered the "highest time Tomcat pilot, with over 4,800 hours and more than 1,200 arrested carrier landings." Like Maverick, however, he did some pretty crazy stuff.
Like this amazing pass here, taken during a demo in 1988 from the deck of the Kitty Hawk-class supercarrier USS America. It's a pretty mad pass, extremely close to the ground and to the ship. But for Snodgrass it was business as usual:
It's not risky at all with practice… [my emphasis] It was my opening pass to a Tomcat tactical demonstration at sea. I started from the starboard rear quarter of the ship, at or slightly below flight deck level. Airspeed was at about 250 knots with the wings swept forward. I selected afterburner at about ½ miles behind and the aircraft accelerated to about 325-330 knots. As I approached the ship, I rolled into an 85 degree angle of bank and did a 2-3 g turn, finishing about 10 – 20 degrees off of the ship's axis. It was a very dramatic and, in my opinion, a very cool way to start a carrier demo. The photo was taken by an Aviation Boson's Mate (by an ABE3 who was the petty officer of third class Sean E. Dunn that was in charge in Launching & Recovering Equipment) who worked the flight deck on the USS America. Just as an aside…the individual with his arms behind his back is Admiral Jay Johnson" who became the Chief of Naval Operations for the Navy."
Here's an image of the rehearsal:
Yeah, not risky at all!