HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (ABC4) – Fans of the new “Top Gun” sequel know actor Tom Cruise has the need for speed. No one knows that better than the fighter pilots with Utah’s Hill Air Force Base. ABC4 News shares how their planes are even cooler than Hollywood, in this edition of Behind The Badge.

Flying fighter jets for the U.S. military is no job for the faint of heart. Of the thousands flying for America’s armed forces, only the elite can tell you…

“I’m a United States Air Force fighter pilot,” said Pilot Justin “Slider” Newman, U.S. Air Force, 388 FW, 4 FS.

Pilot Justin Newman flies out of Utah’s Hill Air Force Base, part of the 388th Fighter Wing, with 4th Fighter Squadron, otherwise called…

“The Mighty Fighting Fuujins,” Newman said.

Newman pilots the F-35A Lighting II, considered the tip of the spear among the Air Force fleet.

“The F35A., I would relate it to a brand-new Cadillac. Every part of the airplane is specifically engineered to ‘stay stealthy,’ that doesn’t mean that we’re invisible to the naked eye,” said Newman. “We can get in closer before they see us, and usually we can take care of the bad guys before they take care of us,” he said.

Neman said flying the F-35 looks a lot different than what you may have seen in theaters Memorial weekend in “Top Gun: Maverick.” Unlike the F-18’s in the movie, most of the controls for the F-35 are now all on a touch screen. Their helmets are equipped with a projector, which visually displays right onto the pilot’s visor, and when combined with plane’s high-tech sensors at night, there’s no need for night vision goggles.

“(It) allows us 360 degrees looking straight down, I can actually look straight down through my airplane,” said Newman.

That doesn’t mean pilots like Newman aren’t all in on “Top Gun.”

“One of the main reasons I wanted to become a fighter pilot was because of that movie,” Newman said.

Just like Maverik and Goose, Newman has his own call name. In the air, he’s known as “Slider.” He said it’s not as cool as you think.

“It’s actually an acronym. Don’t let any fighter pilot tell you any different, usually, every acronym comes from us doing something stupid or silly,” he said.

While audiences pack the theatres to see Hollywood’s version of fighter pilots, Newman said you can see the real thing next month in the Warriors Over the Wasatch Air Show at Hill Air Force Base.

“F35’s, A10’s, F16’s, the Thunderbirds, they’re all going to be here,” he said.

He tells ABC4 the show is a real aerial display, helping you know the planes calling Hill Air Force Base home.

Now you know one of the pilots who does, too.

When Pilot Newman said his call name is an acronym. He told us what it means. “Slider” stands for “Self-induced Low thrust and Direct Emergency Recovery.” But he didn’t share the how he got it, he said it’s a long, funny story.