He famously has a need for speed. It would seem Hollywood action superstar Tom Cruise has a need for speed-flying to be precise.
This week he’s been spotted flying a new custom-coloured Ozone Rapido 3 in Buttermere in the Lake District, England. Ozone describe the wing as a “turbocharged evolution of the Rapi-Dos” – the perfect wing for a man who, on and off the screen, is known for his love of flying.
The Hollywood star is currently filming the latest instalment of the Mission Impossible franchise in the UK. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two is due for release in June 2024 and will co-star Rebecca Ferguson and Hayley Atwell.
The Mission Impossible film crew has been in the Lake District for a few weeks, according to locals. Cruise has been spotted making flights in the scenic Buttermere Valley, scene of the annual Buttermere Bash, a local flying festival held each year.
Grant Parker, who shared footage of the Hollywood action-hero star landing last on Sunday 31 July on his insta channel, @larlmarra, said: “He did five or six flights, waved at us and said hi. The film crew has been there a couple of weeks now.”
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And in a six-minute video posted on YouTube, vlogger The Opinion Matters said, “There were loads of helicopters, and a few people saying that Tom Cruise is filming here. And then all of a sudden he’s come down on a para[glider] and waved at everyone! You could hear by his voice that it was definitely him.”
Some British paraglider pilots are believed to be involved as stunt doubles and coaches for the flying sequences – but everyone Cross Country approached for information remained tight-lipped. One pilot, who asked not to be named, said they had been contacted back in 2019 to be part of a group.
“It was all very hush hush but I’m certain it was for the next Mission Impossible film, to help with the speed flying. I needed to be in Slovenia for four weeks and unfortunately it wasn’t possible.”
In 2019 Cruise spent some time in Morzine, France where he learnt to paraglide. According to reports at the time he made as many as 15 flights a day to get himself up to speed.
Then Covid intervened, halting production. It meant the latest instalment of the action saga, the seventh film, which was due for release in July 2021, was pushed back to May this year and later delayed again to 30 September. As a result, the eighth film in the blockbuster franchise will be released in two years’ time.
The 60-year-old actor is well known for his passion for flying and has held a licence since 1994. Today he’s a multi-engine instrument-rated pilot. Although he was a passenger in the twin-seater Super Hornet for the filming of Maverick, the latest Top Gun movie, he did fly some sequences in the P-51 and owns several aircraft, including his own WWII era P-51. He also is reported to own a luxury Gulfstream IV G4 jet.
This is not the first time Cruise has learnt to fly for a movie. In 2018 he learned how to fly a helicopter for Mission Impossible: Fallout.
Ozone’s promo video for the Rapido 3 features a pilot flying in Buttermere, Lake District, England
From the footage online it looks like Cruise’s wing is an Ozone Rapido 3, a speed wing. Ozone say in their promotional text: “[The Rapido 3] delivers significantly improved speed and power with the same stability and comfort as its predecessor. It is designed specifically for performance pilots who need the ultimate in speed and swoop performance.”
It is understood that production of the gliders being used in the film was interrupted by the shutdown of Ozone’s factories in Vietnam due to the pandemic in 2020. When production started again, Cruise’s wings were “pushed to the top of the list” to get them made for the film.
According to ScreenDaily.com Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part Two is being produced by Paramount Pictures and Skydance Media. Filming is taking place from June to December at various locations, including South Africa and the UK.
Report by Tarquin Cooper and Ed Ewing
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