Maverick is still messed up after Goose's death, even though the tribunal cleared him of blame.
He scrapes through the graduation of his class, but Iceman takes the Top Gun award. He is reassigned back to the aircraft carrier he was with in the first place - the Enterprise.
Soon there is another sneaky Russian incident where a couple of inbound MiGs are picked up on the radar. Iceman and Hollywood are sent out to intercept - but the MiGs are flying in close formation and when they break there's about 8 of the bad guys in total. Hollywood, who was always rubbish, is soon shot down so Maverick is scrambled to fly.
He's unsure of his ability still - but Viper comes up with the morale booster and tells him that if he can't find his navigator on deck, then give him a call - 'I'll fly with you'. He gets in his plane - and Viper is a relieved man as poor Merlin has the job of flying with the ticking time-bomb.
Maverick makes it to the fight scene in no time, Iceman is panicking, trying to hide. Maverick isn't doing much until he is caught up in a jetwash which cuts out the engines again.
After some "Talk to me Goose" moments, he suddenly wakes up and 'Days of Thunder' style is out of his self-imposed nervous breakdown. He fires off a few missiles, takes down a few MiGs, then switches to guns as he's been too close for missiles all along. Meanwhile he easily evades the Russians with that fancy barrell-roll trick, which they mustn't teach over there.
Iceman gets in on the act, and then the remaining MiGs are "bugging out".
They return to the aircraft carrier as heroes. Every traffic controller and tea boy is there to wave and pat them on the back. Iceman grabs Mav, tells him he's still dangerous, but that he can be his wingman any time. Maverick tells him he can be his. All is forgiven.
Back in the showers Mav is told that the incident will be on every English-speaking newspaper across the world - and he has his choice of assignments now. He chooses to be an instructor at Top Gun.
Cut to a small town diner - Kelly McGillis is sat at the counter. Suddenly the Righteous Brothers plays on the jukebox. Maverick approaches her, tells her that he "crashed and burned on the first one, it wasn't pretty" - but that he's waiting to find out what happens with his second chance. It seems to work and they kiss.