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Combat Story

Feb 18, 2023

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Today we hear the Combat Story of Scott “Intake” Kartvedt who was such a proficient pilot that he was handpicked to be one of two stunt pilots in Top Gun: Maverick. Intake has over 6,000 flight hours, much of that in the F/A-18 Hornet, to include combat command of an F/A-18 Squadron. Intake’s story is remarkable as he went from accountant to Naval Aviator to Blue Angel to Top Gun Maverick to making another movie in South Africa with Tom Cruise. 

When the Navy needed to select its very first pilot to lead the first stealth fighter squadron of F-35s, they chose Intake. Before commanding in combat, Intake was a member of the storied Blue Angels where he flew Opposing Solo which put him less than 10 feet from his wingman in air shows at at a combined closing speed of over 1,000 mph (see more about Opposing Solo maneuvers

Intake had the misfortune of investigating the fatal accidents of his friends and fellow pilots and survived several near death experiences, including a straight dive that he pulled out of at 27 feet above the ground. 

He serves on the board of the Blue Angel Foundation where they’re trying to prevent veteran suicide. You can donate at (I donated as well) to help the cause.

Intake is a special combat veteran who is infuriatingly humble and open about the expectations and challenges of a life in the most elite community of aviators and I know you’ll enjoy this discussion as much as I did.

Accountant to jet pilot | F/A-18 Combat Aviator
F-35 Squadron Commander | Blue Angel

Find Ryan Online:
- Ryan’s Linktree
- Merch
- Instagram @combatstory
- Facebook @combatstoryofficial
- Send us messages at
- Learn more about Ryan
- Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle

Find Scott Online:
- Donate to Blue Angels Foundation:
- Scott's website:
- Linkedin

Show Notes:
00:00 - Intro 
01:04 - Guest Introduction (Scott 'Intake' Kartvedt)
02:32 - Interview begins
02:40 - Role in Top Gun Maverick
02:05 - Scott and Tom Cruise
06:06 - Why Scott was chosen to fly
08:09 - Scott and 'Whiz' Buckley
08:56 - What 'opposing' means for flight profiles
13:04 - Accountant to Aviator
16:55 - Flying with Bob
17:54 - 'Intake' as a kid
19:07 - Scott and Ryan's kids
19:39 - Nord VPN 
20:55 - Kartvedt's a Military family
22:59 - Competing for the right aircraft
27:31 - Important traits of a Fighter Pilot
30:05 - Air to air dogfighting more challenging than striking target
35:30 - Surface to air threats
37:37 - 4Patriots 
38:57 - In the Blue Angels during 9/11
 45:39 - Where 'Intake' nickname comes from
47:17 - How many flight hours
48:04 - Hardest hour of flight
54:08 - Advice on how to handle trauma
57:15 -  Enjoyment through the pressure
59:47 - Book Title ideas
01:00:56 - Challenging time in combat
01:14:38 - F-35 specs for combat
01:18:01 - Sentimental items
01:20:49 - Would you do it all again
01:23:07 - Unease for the future pilots
01:26:43 - Final comments  
01:28:22 -  Listener comments and shout outs