Tom Cruise puts his piloting skills to the test in Top Gun: Maverick (Picture: Paramount)

Top Gun: Maverick has officially landed in UK cinemas with Tom Cruise returning as hotshot fighter pilot Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell.  

Three decades after the original Top Gun movie aired in 1986, the highly anticipated sequel sees Maverick return to the danger zone and teach the latest Top Gun recruits how to fly.  

The Mission Impossible actor had promised to deliver thrilling aviation scenes with some of the most complicated aerial sequences in film history. 

The action star is known for his commitment to doing his own stunts, even going so far as breaking his ankle on Mission Impossible: Fallout with the footage still making the final movie.

From helicopters to fighter jets, the 59-year-old has demonstrated his aviation skills on screen, but was any of it real? 

Is Tom Cruise a qualified pilot? 

Tom Cruise has actually had a pilot’s licence for almost 30 years now, after securing his qualification in 1994. 

Cruise does in fact have his pilot licence (Picture: Paramount)

Cruise thought it was worth getting his licence after getting a taste for aviation in the original Top Gun film. 

The real-life action man also has a licence to fly helicopters and demonstrated his abilities in complex aerial sequences in Mission Impossible as well as Top Gun: Maverick.   

In fact, all the aerial sequences in the action-packed sequel are real. Not even one flight in the movie uses CGI, thanks to Cruise’s extensive flying training plan for the actors who had to take to the skies in the movie. 

Throughout the film, Cruise and his co-stars including Miles Teller as his former best friend Goose’s son fly P-51 propeller-driven fighter planes as the military pilots. 

The legendary actor recently showcased his skills for James Corden on the Late Late Show as he took the Gavin and Stacey star to the Top Gun training school.

Tom Cruise taught James Corden how to fly a Top Gun fighter jet (Picture: CBS)

Corden was terrified as Cruise began the ascent in a small plane and he declared: ‘I’m going to go up in a 75-year-old plane with somebody who is not a pilot.’

However, Corden faced his fears and strapped in for a whirl in the fighter jet where Cruise let loose with his tricks and flips. 

Cruise sported his iconic smile as Corden bellowed expletives in his ear: ‘Oh my God, shut up! Oh God, you absolute b*****d.’

The actor teased: ‘We’ll just fly straight, just relax, just take it easy for a little bit’ before turning the plane upside down.

‘Oh b*****ks, oh f****ing hell!’ Corden shouted as Cruise beamed. 

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Cruise’s rigorous training plan allowed the crew to film the flight sequences in a similar way to GoPro films created by Navy pilots. 

Special rigs were created to go allow six cameras to be fixed inside the cockpit to capture the aircraft and the actor in 6k resolution as they performed each stunt. 

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