That Time Top Gun: Maverick's Tom Cruise Paid For His Co-Stars Real-Life Flight Training

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

Tom Cruise gets to have all the fun. The action star insists on performing all of his own stunts and that commitment has seen him do things like scaling the Burj Khalifa, hanging off the side of a plane, jumping between buildings and piloting a helicopter for a challenging stunt. But it seems that Tom Cruise is happy to have others share in the fun because he actually paid for his Top Gun: Maverick co-star’s real-life flight training.

In the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 classic Top Gun, a cast of new and returning faces join Tom Cruise’s Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell for an aerial adventure into the danger zone. Among the new cast members is Glen Powell, who plays a pilot trainee going by the moniker of ‘Hangman’ in the film. Well, sometimes life imitates art because Glen Powell got some real-life flight training courtesy of his uber-famous adrenaline junkie co-star, as he explained:

Try not falling in love with aviation after living out every pilot’s dream while shooting Top Gun. Especially when you see the way Tom Cruise flexes it. After wrapping a shooting day, Tom would rocket off into the sunset in his P-51 while I would limply shuffle into the cast van. The wings were just so much cooler than the wheels...and for Christmas, Tom bought me an iPad with my flight school downloaded and prepaid. And yesterday, after months of flying, studying, and testing...I’m the real deal.

I think countless fans fell in love with the idea of flight just watching the original Top Gun so you can only imagine what it was like to work on Top Gun: Maverick. It seems that the process of making the sequel film had a profound effect on Glen Powell and he developed a deep love and appreciation for aviation. Basically, he felt the need, the need for speed.

As Glen Powell wrote on his Instagram, a big part of that was the result of watching Tom Cruise fly off into the sunset at the end of shooting some days. Meanwhile Glen Powell had to hop into the cast van, firmly anchored to the Earth. As far as exits go, Tom Cruise’s was infinitely cooler and surely more fun.

Watching this each day, the star of Netflix’s Set It Up longed to leave the ground and take to the skies and fortunately, Tom Cruise was happy to welcome Glen Powell to the Danger Zone. The star of the film bought his young co-star an iPad for Christmas. That’s a good gift in its own right, but the iPad apparently came with some sort of flight school training already downloaded and completely prepaid.

So Tom Cruise gifted Glen Powell with all the resources he needed to be the one flying off into the sunset. As generous a gift as that was, it still required a lot on Glen Powell’s end to realize its potential. It took months of flying, studying and testing, but eventually Glen Powell got to make his own aviation dreams a reality.

As he showed on his Instagram, the Top Gun: Maverick star now has his pilot’s license. The actor thanked his instructor and the flight school and gave thanks of course to Tom Cruise for hyping him up as he went on his own aviation journey.

Stuff is nice, but the best gifts are experiences-- and Tom Cruise clearly delivered with this generous gift to Glen Powell. Not only did the flight training fit the theme of the film they did together, but it also gave Powell a new skill and something that he can carry with him for the rest of his life.

Top Gun: Maverick was just moved up by a couple of days and pending any delays given the current state of things, is now scheduled to hit theaters on June 24. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to keep track of all this year’s biggest release dates and to fill your need for speed and movie news, stay tuned to CinemaBlend.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.