Top Gun: Maverick: Is Tom Cruise a real pilot?  

Tom Cruise is the king of performing action stunts on his own. But the car and motorbike chases in most of his action films are very different from flying an aircraft—it’s definitely not a skill you can pick up very quickly.  

So, if you haven’t watched Top Gun: Maverick yet and are curious about his stunts, or are back from the theatre frantically googling if Cruise can actually fly aircraft, here’s all you need to know.  

Tom Cruise has had a pilot’s license since 1994. The World War II fighter, P-51 Mustang, that is featured in Top Gun: Maverick, is one of Cruise’s own planes. Besides this, he also has a Gulfstream IV G4 jet. 

So yes, it does seem like he has at least two aircraft, one with quite the historic value and the other brimming with luxury.  

For promoting Top Gun: Maverick, he once again showed off his P-51 Mustang by taking James Cordon aboard. (Funnily enough, this is not the first time Cordon has been a victim of Cruise’s enthusiasm for aerial stunts). 

Tom Cruise Terrifies James in 'Top Gun' Fighter Jet!
Tom Cruise Terrifies James in ‘Top Gun’ Fighter Jet!

While it’s unknown if Cruise flies his 19-seater jet himself, I’m sure he could if he wanted to.  

As per a recent interview with Hello! magazine, Cruise has expressed how all he ever wanted to be was an actor or a pilot. When the first Top Gun movie came along, it felt like the best of both worlds. He could finally slip into the world of aerial action that he was longing for.

It was also this role that inspired Cruise to go into training for his pilot’s license a couple of years later. He knew he wanted to do his own aerial stunts and kept the license handy for whenever that project came about.  

Before you think it happened three decades later with Maverick, let me tell you that Cruise actually took to the skies a few years ago for 2018’s Mission Impossible: Fallout, where he flew a helicopter.  

Did Tom Cruise do his own stunts in Top Gun: Maverick? 

So, Cruise has a pilot’s license and can fly. That’s all well and good, but you still want to know if it’s actually him flying all the aircraft in Maverick.  

Turns out, Cruise was allowed to only fly for a few scenes in Top Gun: Maverick (​​in the P-51 propeller-driven fighter, in particular). This is because the Navy didn’t sanction him to fly an F-18 combat jet. 

Top Gun: Maverick: Is Tom Cruise a real pilot?
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

Being a law-abiding citizen comes before his love for thrilling stunts, so Cruise had to forgo flying the military-grade planes that are not permitted for civilians to fly. He had to be shot in the passenger seat like all the other actors.  

If this sounds disappointing, you will be happy to know that there is not one inch of CGI in Top Gun: Maverick, as all stunts are performed by professionals.  

Those of you who have watched the film know there are some insane jet maneuvers. To think it was all done manually, in the most authentic way ever, just gives me chills!   

Watch Top Gun: Maverick on:

About Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick is a Paramount film (and sequel) starring Tom Cruise who reprises his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell from the 1986 Top Gun. It is directed by Joseph Kosinski, with a screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie and a story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks.

Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris, and Val Kilmer are part of the cast.

The film sees Maverick’s return to the US Navy pilots as he trains a new squad of aviators, preparing them for a dangerous mission. Upon release, the movie was a massive success and became the highest grossing film of Tom Cruise so far. 

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

Our talented team of Freelance writers - Always on the lookout - pour their energies into a wide range of topics bringing to our audience what they crave - fun up-to-date news, reviews, fan theories and much much more.


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