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Tom Cruise given flying lessons by Sydney Pollack

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May 16, 2012 | 6:15am EDT

The pair became great friends after working together on 1993 film The Firm and Cruise reveals Pollack helped him indulge his passion for aviation with a very special present.

He tells Playboy magazine, "I always wanted to fly, and that was one of the reasons I did Top Gun. I just never had the time to learn. Then I met Sydney Pollack. I was 19 or 20... We talked about a big mutual interest that we had in aviation because I knew he flew. Sydney became a lifelong friend, and when we finished The Firm together in 1993 or 1994, he gave me flying lessons as a gift.

"He said, 'I know how much you love flying. Take the time, right now, and do it, because otherwise you'll never get to it.' I had two kids by then, and I worked all the time. In a few months I had my instrument rating, and a little while after that I had my commercial rating.

"I trained mostly in aerobatics... I was doing rolls, loops, all kinds of aerobatic manoeuvres. My first airplane was called a Pitts, and then I flew a Marchetti. This was all in preparation to fly the Warbird, the P-51."

Cruise also reveals he bought his favourite plane in 2000 and named it after his wife, Katie Holmes, adding, "I searched all over the world for my P-51 and found it in 2000. It's called Kiss Me Kate, which covers two things I love most, my wife and movies."

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