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You’d be surprised just how many people have been bitten by the flying bug. There are lots of famous faces out there whom we associate with other things, whom you might be surprised to learn are qualified pilots in their free time. From those who enjoy simply bimbling around the countryside, to those who fly their own business jets from A to B, there are plenty of celebrities to take inspiration from if you’re thinking of going flying. Here are ten of our favourite famous flyers.

1. Harrison Ford

Indiana Jones actor Harrison Ford’s love of flying has been in the news recently, as he’s joined various UK flying clubs while he’s been over here filming the latest Star Wars film. Arriving at the controls of his own private jet, Harrison has also been seen flying light aircraft in Shropshire, among other places in the UK. But the talented actor can fly helicopters too, appearing in the news on numerous occasions for his helicopter-based search and rescues of stranded hikers.

2. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie in pilot mode (image labelled for reuse from PeopleInside.fr)

Is there anything this incredible woman can’t do? In addition to her hugely successful acting career and her campaigning, Angelina Jolie has been a qualified pilot for nearly a decade. Her plane is at the top of our wishlist here at Air Experiences… it’s a Cirrus SR22.

3. Brad Pitt

Word on the street is that Angelina’s husband, the equally famous Brad Pitt, is also an accomplished pilot. Having mastered the more common or garden aircraft, he’s now bought a Spitfire – as you do – and he’s learning to fly it at an airfield near Oxford. Apparently the purchase was inspired by Fury, the World War Two action film he was shooting at the time.

4. Morgan Freeman

Just when you thought Morgan Freeman couldn’t get any cooler! He’s got one of the most memorable voices in the world, but there’s a lot more to this amazing actor than his dulcet tones and acting talent. Proving that you’re never too old, he got his pilot’s licence aged 65. He didn’t rest on his laurels with light aircraft, either, as he’s qualified to fly his whole fleet of aircraft, which includes a Cessna Citation 501 business jet and others like it.

5. Lord Sugar

The opening sequence of The Apprentice shows Lord Sugar being ferried about in a very fancy helicopter, but with 30 years’ piloting experience, this high-flying businessman is quite capable of flying himself around. Like Angelina Jolie, he flies a Cirrus SR22.

6. Carol Vorderman


We spotted Carol in her Diamond DA40 plane at Gloucester Airport over the summer

Maths geek, Countdown Queen and all-round lovely lady Carol Vorderman has taken up flying relatively recently, and by all accounts seems to be absolutely loving it. In her own little plane, she’s been whizzing up and down the country and tweeting great pics from her airborne jaunts. But her plans for next year are more ambitious: she’s off on a solo flight around the world, following the route of pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart. She’s currently in the process of gaining her Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL), which she’ll need to complete this epic journey.

7. Gisele Bundchen

Proving that she’s definitely not just a pretty face, international supermodel, philanthropist and UN Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bundchen can fly helicopters. She even learned to fly whilst she was pregnant!

8. Bruce Dickinson

We photographed the Eclipse 550, the small business jet flown by Bruce Dickinson with Aeris Aviation, at Wellesbourne in June

We photographed the Eclipse 550, the small business jet flown by Bruce Dickinson with Aeris Aviation, at Wellesbourne in June

We’re not quite sure how he does it, but Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson somehow finds the time to be an enormously successful heavy metal star and a qualified airline pilot at the same time. Having regularly flown Boeing 757s in the past, his latest aviation collaboration is with a UK-based business jet company called Aeris Aviation.

9. John Travolta

The cockpit of a Boeing 707, one of the aircraft flown by John Travolta (from Wikimedia Commons)

The cockpit of a Boeing 707, one of the aircraft flown by John Travolta (from Wikimedia Commons)

Grease star John Travolta is famously also a highly qualified pilot, owning a fleet of his own aircraft including a Boeing 707 decked out in Quantas livery (he’s an ambassador for the airline). He’s so into flying that his house has built-in hangars and a taxiway leading right up to them. We’re not jealous or anything…

10. Tom Cruise

Unsurprisingly, Top Gun star Tom Cruise – aka ‘Maverick’ – has had a pilot’s licence since the mid-90s, and although he may not fly fighter jets, he is qualified to fly business jets (he owns several). Apparently he also owns a World War II Mustang.

Flying definitely isn’t just for the stars, so if these high-flying celebs have inspired you to take to the skies, why not book a flight in a light aircraft or try your hand at flying a helicopter? You could even go the whole hog and get your Private Pilot’s Licence