Tom Cruise - Tom Cruise Given Flying Lessons By Sydney Pollack
Tom Cruise learned to fly planes after he was gifted with a course of lessons by late moviemaker Sydney Pollack.
The pair became great friends after working together on 1993 film The Firm and Cruise reveals Pollack helped him indulge his passion for aviation with a very special present.
He tells Playboy magazine, "I always wanted to fly, and that was one of the reasons I did Top Gun. I just never had the time to learn. Then I met Sydney Pollack. I was 19 or 20... We talked about a big mutual interest that we had in aviation because I knew he flew. Sydney became a lifelong friend, and when we finished The Firm together in 1993 or 1994, he gave me flying lessons as a gift.
"He said, 'I know how much you love flying. Take the time, right now, and do it, because otherwise you'll never get to it.' I had two kids by then, and I worked all the time. In a few months I had my instrument rating, and a little while after that I had my commercial rating.
"I trained mostly in aerobatics... I was doing rolls, loops, all kinds of aerobatic manoeuvres. My first airplane was called a Pitts, and then I flew a Marchetti. This was all in preparation to fly the Warbird, the P-51."
Cruise also reveals he bought his favourite plane in 2000 and named it after his wife, Katie Holmes, adding, "I searched all over the world for my P-51 and found it in 2000. It's called Kiss Me Kate, which covers two things I love most, my wife and movies."