Flying is one of the few ways famous people can get away from it all and get where they need to go at the same time. Many big stars have caught the aviation bug and put in the hard work to get their pilot’s licenses.
These actors fly high in their careers and in their free time, too.
It makes sense that Tom Cruise caught the flying bug from his days shooting Top Gun. Since he got his pilot’s license in 1994, he’s collected a small fleet of four planes which includes a WWII P-51 Mustang fighter plane.
But over the years, piloting planes just wasn’t enough. Before filming Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Cruise obtained his helicopter’s license, logging 2,000 hours so he would be ready to perform a dangerous aerial stunt, a corkscrew turn most pilots wouldn’t even attempt. Flying doesn’t seem to be a hobby for Cruise — it’s a way of life.
The Hateful Eight star Kurt Russell holds licenses for single and multi-engine planes along with a license as an instrument pilot. He has own multiple planes including a Rockwell Commander, Cessna Crusader, Piaggio Avanti 180, but has said his favorite is his Starduster biplane.
“Flying has taught me more about who I really am than anything I’ve ever done,” Russell said. “I take very calculated risks. I’ve done too many stunts on too many movies and television shows to be a daredevil.”
He has also claimed he is the “unidentified pilot” who reported the Phoenix Lights UFO sighting to air traffic control in 1997.
“I was flying [Oliver, his son] to go see his girlfriend, and we’re on approach and I saw six lights over the airport, absolute uniform in a V-shape,” he said in a 2017 interview on the BBC. “I’m just looking at them, we’re maybe half a mile out, and Oliver says, ‘Pa, what are those lights?’ Then I came out of my reverie and I said, ‘I don’t know what they are.'”
As Han Solo he piloted the Millennium Falcon, but in real life Harrison Ford has his airplane and helicopter’s license and has logged more than 5,000 hours in the air. He’s even volunteered for his local fire and police department as a rescue helicopter pilot.
The seemingly unbreakable Ford has survived two crashes as a pilot, a helicopter crash during a training exercise in 1999 and a plane crash in 2015 when his WWII single-passenger plane’s engine failed.
He’s a skilled pilot, but you might want to listen to the Air Force One actor if he ever tells you, “Get off my plane!”
John Travolta used his first paychecks to pay for flying lessons and got his pilot’s license in 1974. Perhaps that pilot’s license came in handy when he played a flying instructor in Look Who’s Talking.
Travolta’s film success allowed him to buy property in Florida next to an airport where he built a 1.4-mile taxiway on his property so he can bring his Boeing 707 right up to his estate. In his 707, Travolta has flown as far as Australia.
Travolta is so passionate about flying, he even wrote a children’s book in 1997 called Propeller One-Way Night Coach about an airplane trip that changes the life of a young boy forever.
Multitalented actress Angelina Jolie added flight to her repertoire when she got her pilot’s license in 2004 at the age of 29. Not long after, the Tomb Raider star dropped $1.5 million on a single-engine propeller plane to celebrate her new license.
Her flying skills can be seen in the documentary The Queen’s Green Planet, where she flies and lands a small plane in the Namibian desert.
According to People magazine, Jolie first took up piloting to impress her young son Maddox, and her tail number contains the letters “MX” in honor of him. Her now teenage son has begun to take flying lessons himself.
Not to be outdone by his ex-wife, Brad Pitt got his license to fly back in the early 2000s, and his success allowed him to pursue his love of vintage planes. Pitt acquired a WWII Supermarine Spitfire in 2013 for $3.3 million.
Reportedly, Angelina Jolie bought Pitt a $1.6 million helicopter in 2012, and even had a helicopter pad installed on the grounds of their castle, the Chateau Miraval, in the South of France.
Morgan Freeman worked as an automatic tracking radar repairman during his time in the Air Force, but he didn’t get his wings until many years later when he turned 65.
Making up for lost time, Freeman has owned single and twin engine Cessna prop planes and a long-range Emivest SJ30.
A licensed pilot for over 40 years, actor and director Clint Eastwood uses his love of flight to help him get around when shooting on location to avoid long drives in the country and traffic in the city. His son, actor Scott Eastwood, is also a licensed helicopter pilot.
The elder Eastwood likes the privacy of flying, saying, “You’re just a number in the sky. Everybody pretty much leaves you alone.”
Oscar winner Hillary Swank took flying lessons to prepare for her role as Amelia Earhart in the 2009 film Amelia and professed a desire to one day earn her pilot’s license.
“I absolutely love flying,” she said when promoting the film. “I picked up my boyfriend from a meeting in Las Vegas. I said to my instructor, ‘Can we pick my boyfriend up?’ and he said, ‘Sure.’ So we flew to Vegas and showed up at the airport.”
Dennis Quaid is one of many Hollywood stars who owns property in Montana. To get back and forth, he flies his Cessna Citation.
He got his pilot’s license and took his first solo flight in 1981 to prepare himself for the role of astronaut Gordon Cooper in the movie The Right Stuff.
Since then, Quaid has accrued over 1,800 hours in the air and a few more movie roles where flying was just part of his job.
Growing up in Michigan, Full House star Dave Coulier began learning to fly when he was just 15 years old. He got his pilot’s license at the age of 20.
Coulier owns a Beechcraft B35 and also flies a Cirrus SR-20 to keep his instrument license current.
“Worf” from Star Trek: The Next Generation is a serious jet pilot.
He owns and flies his Air Force T-33 trainer jet, which he of course dubbed, “Starship.”
Dorn has had the honor of flying with the Navy’s Blue Angels and the Air Force’s Thunderbirds.