Rod Machado’s Private Pilot Handbook lists famous people who hold pilot certificates. Included are Hollywood personalities like John Travolta, Kurt Russel, Tom Cruise, Sidney Pollack, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Michael J. Fox, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Tonet and Carlo….
Recently, Vogue ran a cover story on an aviatrix whose drop-dead sultry looks have been scorched into millions of feverish juvenile imaginations. I myself confess to hoarding women’s fashion magazines whose sole virtue is that they have her on the cover photo spread.
This is Angelina Jolie, of course. She learned to fly after her exposure to refugees in Asia and Africa, during the filming of Tomb Raider. Her goal was to prepare herself for involvement in refugee and philanthropic work via aviation.
She learned to fly in a Cirrus SR22, and continues to fly in one today. That’s a confluence of class, elegance, philanthropy, power, sex appeal, libido.
(Does that sound like a Cirrus ad or what?)
Now, not many refugee or food aid flights are made in a Cirrus. But hey, this is Hollywood, okay?
The Vogue article involved a P-51 airplane, an isolated airstrip in the California desert, military types overflowing with testosterone, and Angelina Jolie. At some point in the article, the writer overcame her own fears and actually got into Angelina’s Cirrus for a quickie. Flight, that is.
The star was in a “Man-killer pencil skirt,” part of a form-fitting Ralph Lauren ensemble, complemented by “big ol’ Gucci sunglasses….”
Before getting into the cockpit she kicked off her stilettos, because she flies in her bare feet.
“Let’s go scare your mother,” she threatens the writer. The photo spread has a dramatic cockpit shot. The photographer was in the right seat, and shot the photo to the left, while Angelina held the airplane in a steep left turn low over the desert floor, her man-killer skirt hiked up to allow free movement and her head cocked away as she looked out past the wing.
She grasped the joystick lightly in her hand. I couldn’t see her bare feet.
For you castrates and Klingons out there, the PFD’s attitude, airspeed and altitude indicators showed her airborne in a tight left bank, alright. No Photoshop tricks here — she was flying the airplane. Hard.
I of course have a copy of this issue of Vogue.
I also have an original theatre display poster of Mr. & Mrs. Smith. You know the one — standing in a black dress with a slit that goes forever, a pistol tucked in her garter. (I’m giving away the Brad Pitt half of the poster).
This was available in the movie shop at the Esplanade Theatre in Singapore, along with poker chips from Casino Royale and the inscribed One Ring. But I got the last copy of the poster….
(The time-honored practice of cutting off a student pilot’s shirt tail after the ‘first solo’, when she flies without an instructor for the first time, dates to the tandem trainers of old.
(There were no intercoms in the Stearmans and Jennys. The instructor sat in the back to watch the student and pull on her shirt tail to signal her to go left or right, etc. So after the student soloes, the shirt tail is no longer needed.)
Instead, according to aviation legend, Angelina slipped off her bra and gave it to her instructor.