Tom Cruise channeled his beloved character Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell from his recently rebooted film Top Gun while piloting his helicopter on Wednesday.  As the Hollywood megastar, 60, prepared to fly his chopper through South West London, he gave onlookers a friendly wave while carrying a black backpack. 

This includes spinning a helicopter around while diving down over a waterfall to scaling a cliff in Moab, Utah with his bare hands for Mission: Impossible II. 

For the outing, the father-of-three sported a light blue t-shirt, dark-wash jeans, a pair of black boots and sun-kissed glow. The actor, who earned his pilot license almost three decades ago, has performed some dangerous stunts for some of his movies over the years.

He was unable to pilot the planes in the first Top Gun, released back in 1986,  as he had not yet secured his license, but in the sequel he did his own stunts in the skies. 

The movie had originally been scheduled for release in 2020 but was pushed back two years after delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, Top Gun: Maverick reached another impressive milestone at the global box office as it crossed the $1 billion mark.

In late May, Top Gun: Maverick was released 36 years after the original film and sees Tom reprise his role as the loveable Maverick, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. 

With those ticket sales, the movie dethroned Marvel’s superhero film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($943 million) as the highest-grossing movie of the year at the global box office.

Spider-Man: No Way Home, which garnered more than $1.89 billion, is the only other film to hit the $1 billion since coronavirus.  It’s a particularly tremendous feat as the COVID-19 pandemic effectively quashed traditional box office numbers after nearly a quarter of all American movie theaters were closed for 15 months.

Before Top Gun: Maverick became Cruise’s biggest hit, his film Mission: Impossible — Fallout held the top spot in his expansive filmography for earning $257 million globally.

The film was originally supposed to be released in June 2020, though Paramount decided to hold off on the release until more fans are able to return, a move that clearly paid off.

‘I’m gratified we made this decision to hang on. This movie is going to have a huge run. It’s going to draw people to theaters who haven’t been in a long time,’ predicted Paramount’s domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson in a statement.

Top Gun: Maverick, directed by Joseph Kosinski, is also the second-highest grossing movie in Paramount history, and the studio’s highest-grossing live-action film in 15 markets spanning the U.K., Australia, Brazil and France. The motion picture has achieved huge financial success without releases in Russia or China.

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