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Five of the Best Fictional Pilots

Posted by Sarah Simonovich on

We can't get enough of aviation movies. Seriously, what's the best alternative to being a pilot? Watching some great movies with some even greater pilots. It's a surefire way to feel some secondhand awesomeness-by-proxy.

Clint Eastwood's Sully has recently hit theaters. The film stars Tom Hanks as Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, who become a hero on January 15, 2009 when he successfully landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River), we'd like to reflect on some of our favorite fictional pilots from some of the best aviation films.

Note: these silver screen pilots are ranked in no particular order, as they are all awesome in their own way.

Aviation Oil Outlet's 5 Favorite Fictional Pilots


1. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell

(Top Gun)

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What kind of list would this be if we didn't include everyone's favorite reckless US Naval Aviator with a need for speed? He flies by the seat of his pants, after all. Tom Cruise's ability to flawlessly pull off the flight suit/aviator combo is, in itself, enough reason for him to be on this list, really. And though he might not graduate -top- from Top Gun, this Maverick proves that there isn't much truth to the -Those who can't do, teach- idiom. Because he can do. Period. And there's nothing wrong with choosing to instruct.


2. Tom "Iceman" Kazansky

(Top Gun)

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We don't think that 2 pilots from the same film is cheating, especially when you're talking about good old Iceman-he's so cool that he's positively ice cold. Though the rival to Maverick, Iceman really knows how to fly-and fly well.  You have to admit it-he really did earn his standing as top pilot at the Top Gun school.


3. "Sky Captain" Joe Sullivan

(Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow)

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When looking for a truly out of this world pilot, you don't always have to go fictional-but in this case, we turn to the science fictional (and Jude Law). If giant robots were to ever attack New York City (particularly a 1939 NYC), I know I would want Sky Captain to be there with his private air force to fight them off (I may or may not also have my fingers crossed for an Angelina Jolie appearance, too). What's better than a retrofitted Curtis P-40 Warhawk? Jude Law in a retrofitted Curtis P-40 Warhawk.


4. Han Solo

(Star Wars franchise)

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It would be a crime to not include Han Solo on a list of top fictional pilots (I mean, we wish he was real, that's for sure, but the real life Harrison Ford is a suitable substitution). What more do I have to say? This Captain of the Millennium Falcon has some serious skills maneuvering his (arguably) clunk of junk. Outgunned, outnumbered, this Class-A smuggler is an expert in evasive maneuvers, navigation, and manages to pull off a number of tricks from under his belt-all without the force.


5. Baloo

(Talespin)

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Yeah, yeah, Baloo might be bear, but he's no dancing bear, he's a flying bear, and that's way more impressive. This cartoon may have been made for kids, but that doesn't make him any less impressive. If you can be kind, funny, inventive, and an amazing pilot (with paws!), you deserve to be on this list. The only bear claws you see in airplanes these days are of the pastry variety, and I'm not even sure you can get donuts on a plane in this day and age of airline food. I will say this, though: you will never find me flying in anything that resembles the Sea Duck. Autopilot > crowbars in my book.


Bonus Pilot:

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Have a favorite fictional pilot not featured here? Let us know!