LUBBOCK – A Lubbock native and veteran Navy pilot showed off her fighter pilot skills in the Top Gun: Maverick blockbuster movie as a stunt woman.
Lieutenant Commander Amy Helfin, a Lubbock High School graduate, worked as a stunt double in the new addition to the Top Gun franchise. Helfin doubled for Monica Barbaro in the film. She started out as a fighter pilot in the Navy.
Heflin said, “What inspired me initially to become a fighter pilot was my dad taking us out to Reese Air Force Base to see, to watch the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels fly.”
Also serving as inspiration for Heflin was her brother who has Down Syndrome.
Heflin became a pilot in 2013 and served several overseas deployments over 11-years of service.
“Being strapped to that aircraft is a rush. It is an absolute roller coaster ride every time you strap in, and it is fantastic. So, getting shot off that carrier is an absolute blast.” Heflin said.
Filming for Top Gun: Maverick was a different challenge.
Heflin said, “Now I have to be worried about lighting. I have to be worried about if the person in the back is getting sick. I have to be worried about where I’m placing the aircraft as far as the scenery that’s put in the background. Which is very different that when I’m worried about tactics and when I’m worried about dropping bombs.”
The film pushed Heflin’s skills as well.
“It definitely pushed my skills. I think it pushed everybody’s skills a little bit because we wanted to present not only for Tom Cruise and Paramount, but for the world. We wanted to show them what we’re capable of,” Heflin said.
While Lieutenant Commander Heflin had a good time working on Top Gun: Maverick, don’t expect to see her much more on the silver screen.
“It was an incredible experience. Working with Tom Cruise, Lewis Pullman, and Monica Barbaro. They are amazing people. I do not think that has opened any doors for me to go to Hollywood or stunt fly for anyone. It was an absolute blast.” Heflin said.
Lieutenant Commander Heflin has recently completed her service in the Navy and now will be building her family.