Bucket List Ideas: Flying Lessons

Do you have a bucket list? In case you haven’t heard of one, it’s a list of experiences you want to have before you ‘kick the bucket’. Here at Air Experiences we’ve flown loads of people who want to tick flying off their bucket list, but with so many different ways of doing it, it can be tricky deciding which is best for you. Can’t make up your mind? Why not try them all!

Light aircraft flying lesson


The classic flying lesson, a flight in a light aircraft ticks all the boxes. Depending on the length of the flight, you should be able to have a go at flying the plane yourself, and depending on the aircraft, you might even be able to take a friend or relative along to sit in the back on your flight.

Helicopter lesson

Learn to fly a Helicopter

Vertical take-off, hovering, even flying backwards: there’s not much a helicopter can’t do, and flying one is, for most of us, a thrilling once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Gliding lesson


If you like the sound of back-to-basics flying, a glider flight could be for you. There’s no engine – just the power of the sun and wind to keep you airborne. Without the noise of an engine, gliding is more peaceful than powered flight, and with two different launch methods to choose from (the exhilarating winch launch or more sedate aerotow), you have a couple of different options for your bucket list if you go down the gliding route.

Motorglider lesson


If you like the sound of gliding, but you prefer your aircraft to have an engine, motorgliding offers the best of both worlds. Motorgliders have an engine and propeller like a light aircraft, but long wings like a glider. That means they can get themselves off the ground and fly around just like a normal powered aircraft, but you also have the option of turning the engine off in flight, at which point the aircraft becomes a glider. On our best of both flying experiences, you’ll take off as a normal plane would and at some point in your flight your instructor will turn off the engine and you’ll experience gliding. Depending on the conditions, you’ll either glide back to the airfield or your instructor will turn the engine on again for the final part of your flight.

Vintage aircraft

1000 Pixel Wide Yellow Moth Finals at Kemble

Image: Air Frames Imaging

Fancy taking to the skies in a historic biplane? Choose a flight in a vintage aircraft and experience flying as Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart would have known it. If you can’t decide between vintage or modern aircraft, you can even do a bit of both with our Vintage and Modern flying experiences.



Up the adrenaline level with an aerobatic flight and you’ll experience a few more G than you would on a straight and level flight. From an introductory loop and roll to a full-blown aerobatic flight sequence, our aerobatic flight experiences are the ultimate bucket list item.

Get a PPL

So what happens if you go on your flying lesson and you end up loving it so much that you can’t wait to go back for more? Well, you could always start training for your pilot’s licence! Your first flying experience counts towards your PPL, and getting your licence is more affordable than you might think. Find out more about getting your PPL and contact our sister company MotorGlide to discuss an affordable way of learning to fly.


Flying lessons near Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon is a historic town in south Warwickshire, most famous for being the birthplace of the playwright William Shakespeare. Seeing Stratford-upon-Avon from the air, you can really get a sense of the local area and the surrounding villages, which Shakespeare would have known. Here’s a taster of the Shakespearean places you can spot on a flying lesson from our airfields near Stratford-upon-Avon.

The timber-framed building you can see on the busy street in this photo is where Shakespeare was born. Stratford has several other residences associated with Shakespeare, including Hall’s Croft, the home of the playwright’s daughter, and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, where Shakespeare courted his future wife. New Place, Shakespeare’s final home, no longer stands, but you might be able to spot the pretty gardens under which the foundations remain.


The church spire in the foreground of this photo is that of Holy Trinity, Shakespeare’s final resting place. The distinctive brick and glass tower a little further up the river is part of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the world-renowned venue of the Royal Shakespeare Company.


This beautiful stately home is Charlecote Park, the Jacobean country house in the grounds of which Shakespeare is said to have poached deer. There’s still a big herd of deer resident at Charlecote, and you might spot them grazing among the trees.


This is Ettington Park Hotel, where Shakespeare is said to have stayed with friends when it was a private house. The hotel, at Alderminster near Stratford-upon-Avon, is said to be one of the most haunted places in the country. Another interesting fact: it’s where our company founders got married!


If you’d like to see Stratford-upon-Avon from the air, our flying experiences depart from our local bases at Long Marston and Wellesbourne and take in all these Shakespearean sights and more. Book your flying lesson in Stratford-upon-Avon and you can spend the rest of your day exploring the local area and dining at one of Stratford’s many great restaurants. It’s a great day out for all the family, and you can even bring them along to watch you fly!


Christmas gift ideas for the person who has everything

It’s nearly December, and that means that the annual struggle to think of exciting Christmas present ideas is once again upon us. If you’re buying for someone who already has everything, why not treat them to some great memories instead? For some inspiration, here’s our pick of some amazing aviation experience days for an unforgettable Christmas present.

A flying lesson

Flying Lessons

Flying Lessons

Ideal for anyone who enjoys jetting off on an airliner on holiday, our hands-on light aircraft flying lessons let them experience a flight in a small aeroplane, such as a Cessna 152 or a Piper Warrior. Time and weather conditions permitting, they’ll get to take the controls and fly the aircraft themselves, as well as enjoying some sightseeing. You never know, they might enjoy it so much that they want to learn to fly – in which case this lesson will count towards the hours they need to get their pilot’s licence.

A day out at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford

tiger moth cockpit

There’s always something fascinating to see at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, and not just among the amazing exhibits in its sprawling hangars (where you’ll find an early Concorde, Spitfires, a Vulcan bomber and much more). It’s very much an active airfield, and in addition to being able to explore aviation history, the lucky recipient of our fantastic Day Out at Duxford voucher will get togged up in a leather flying jacket, helmet and goggles and take to the skies in a vintage Tiger Moth aircraft.

A flight in an airliner of yesteryear

Dragon Rapide

Treat someone special to a nostalgic sightseeing flight on a de Havilland Dragon Rapide, an early airliner seating up to eight passengers. This unique experience takes place at Duxford, and after their flight over the Cambridgeshire skies, they’ll have FREE entry into the Duxford Imperial War Museum – the UK’s largest aviation museum.

An adrenaline rush


Are you looking for a Christmas gift to excite an adrenaline junkie? If so, you can’t do much better than an aerobatic flight. They’ll experience the thrill of loops and rolls on a flight that’s a bit like a rollercoaster ride without the rails. Not for the faint-hearted!

Gliding in the mountains

Gliding in the Mountains

For a more sedate form of flying, gliding fits the bill perfectly. With no engine, all you hear is the sound of the wind whistling, leaving you to enjoy the views in peace. Our glider flights start at just £49, but if you have a slightly bigger budget you could treat them to a mini gliding course in the stunning setting of the Black Mountains in Wales.

Our flying experience vouchers are available as e-vouchers that you can print yourself and slip into their Christmas card, or you can order a physical voucher, which comes in a gold envelope that will look festive under the tree. You can even customise your voucher by including a message – just write your message in the comments box when you place your order. Browse our flight experiences and score some extra brownie points with a fabulously original gift this Christmas!


The Top 10 Most Awesome Flying Videos

The great thing about today’s camera technology is that it’s easier than ever before to capture memorable footage from the cockpit. Today we’re sharing our favourite videos taken by pilots, all of which show just how incredible the experience of flying is. In no particular order…

1. Flying is…
Filmed in America in a number of different terrains, this breathtaking video filmed in a light aircraft really captures the beauty of seeing the world from up above.

2. Why We Fly
This incredible video takes you on a sweeping aerial journey through the mountains of New Zealand.

3. Lauren Richardson – Airshows Promo 2015
It seems a while since we interviewed awesome aviatrix Lauren Richardson, but as this trailer shows, she’s still going from strength to strength performing drop-dropping aerobatics in her little red Pitts Special biplane.

4. Lord Sugar flies a Spitfire
If you read our post on celebrity pilots, you’ll know that Lord Sugar is a pilot. In this brilliant segment from The One Show, he takes to the skies in one of the most iconic vintage aircraft of all time – the Spitfire.

5. Gliding video
Messing around in high performance gliders – a bit more of a hair-raising gliding experience than most will ever have!

6. The Gliding Dream
If you needed any more proof of the awesomeness of gliding, check out this stunning video, which was filmed in the Alps.

7. Camera falls from a plane
This is what happens when you don’t hold on tightly enough to your camera when you’re out flying!

8. Gliding in the Snow
Another gliding video! This one shows how beautiful it can be to go flying in the winter.

9. Cabri G2 Flight Display
You can do aerobatics in helicopters too… though it’s best left to professionals like these guys!

10. Flying the Typhoon Through the Mach Loop at Low Level
Ever wondered what it would be like to fly the awesome flying machine that is the Eurofighter Typhoon? It’s a flight most of us can only dream of experiencing, but this video – filmed from the back seat – is the next best thing.

If any of these amazing videos have inspired you to take to the skies, why not treat yourself to an unforgettable flying experience with Air Experiences? Browse our flight experiences and book yours now!


Motorgliders give you the best of both worlds

You’ve heard of light aircraft, and you’ve almost certainly heard of gliding. But what about motorgliding? Not many people are aware that motorgliders offer the best of both worlds, so if you’re struggling to choose between flying a light aircraft and flying a glider, motorgliding could be for you. In this post, we’re going to introduce you to motorgliding and explain what’s so great about it.


What is a motorglider?

The short answer is: exactly what it says on the tin! It’s a glider with a motor. This means that it has long wings like a glider, but it has an engine, so it can get off the ground of its own accord, without the need for a winch or aerotow. Because it has long wings, you can turn the engine off in flight and use it as a glider. Not only does this mean you can enjoy a quieter flight, but it also saves lots of money on fuel! Because of the extra weight of having an engine on board, it probably won’t fly as far as a glider, so you’d need a nice thermic day to enjoy soaring in a motorglider.

Types of motorglider

Motorgliders come in many shapes and sizes. Some are really just gliders with a small propeller that pops out of the back to get them airborne, and once airborne the pilot retracts the propeller and uses the aircraft as a normal glider. These could be described as ‘self-launching motorgliders’ (SLMG). Other motorgliders – ‘touring motorgliders’ – are basically just light aircraft but with longer wings, and can be used for long-distance journeys, with the engine remaining switched on the whole time, just like any other light aircraft. Unlike gliders, they can be used to get to places because they’re able to take off under their own steam. Here are some of the most common motorglider types in the UK.

Slingsby T61 Venture


First flown in 1971, these basic motorgliders – also known as Falkes or Ventures – were used by the RAF to train new pilots. With a cruise speed of around 60kts, they’re on the slow side, but they make great training aircraft as they’re quite tricky to fly.

Scheibe SF25


The SF25 is similar to the Venture – it’s the earlier German version, first flown in 1963, upon which the Venture was based – but in many ways it’s better. The SF25 comes in several versions, with single, double or tricycle undercarriage and different sizes of engine. They have a cruise speed of 70-80kts, so they’re a bit quicker than the Venture.

Grob 109

Image from Wikipedia

The Grob 109 is very popular in both civilian and military flying schools, and replaced the T61 Venture as RAF cadet training aircraft (it’s known by the RAF as the Vigilant T1). The Grob 109 had its first flight in 1980 and is still used by the RAF today.



Diamond Super Dimona, parked next to a T61 Venture, with a Grob 109 behind

The Dimona is a contemporary of the Grob 109, designed by Wolff Hoffman and manufactured by Diamond aircraft. This fibreglass aircraft comes in ‘taildragging’ (with a tailwheel) and tricycle undercarriage versions. The so-called ‘Super Dimona’ is the same aircraft with a few small differences, the main one being that it has a more powerful engine. With a cruise speed of around 90 to 100kts, these are somewhat speedier than the Venture and SF25, and they have feathering propellers, designed to make them more aerodynamic when soaring with the engine off.

What are motorgliders used for?

The most common use for motorgliders in the UK is as RAF Air Cadet training aircraft and in gliding clubs. Many gliding clubs have a motorglider as part of their fleet as a means of carrying out additional training for glider pilots. They are a convenient way of making the transition from gliding to powered aircraft, and they can also be used for gliding exercises and tests. There are very few flying clubs dedicated solely to motorgliding; our sister company MotorGlide is one, and it comes under the umbrella of the British Gliding Association.

Switching the engine off: should I be scared?

We’ve found that some of our passengers are alarmed at the prospect of switching the engine off in flight. While it does feel counterintuitive to switch off the engine in flight, there really is nothing to be worried about! With those long wings, a motorglider is designed to be flown with the engine off and will go a lot further than a normal light aircraft would without an engine. What’s more, the engine can simply be switched back on when you’re ready to land or if you’re getting too low. In the meantime, your instructor will be looking for thermals, which are rising columns of air that allow the aircraft to gain altitude and therefore time in the air, just like a glider.

5 reasons to try a motorglider experience

In case you hadn’t realised, we’re big fans of motorgliding here at Air Experiences! If you needed any more persuading, here are our top five reasons for trying a motorglider experience…

  1. You’ll be able to say you’ve tried gliding AND light aircraft flights!
  2. Motorgliding is cheaper than a light aircraft flying experience, especially if you come back to fly regularly.
  3. Motorgliders offer a gentler take-off experience than the scarily steep climb you’d get in a glider on a winch launch.
  4. It’s the perfect experience for those looking for something a bit different from the ordinary.
  5. It’s nice and quiet with the engine turned off – just the sound of the wind whistling past.

If you’re interested in experiencing what it’s like to fly a motorglider, try one of our Best of Both flying experiences. We have motorgliding locations at Wellesbourne Mountford Airfield near Stratford-upon-Avon and near Oxford. If you’d like to go a step further and learn to fly one, check out our sister company, MotorGlide.


Searching for a last-minute Valentine’s gift?

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day – didn’t that come round quick? If you’re still not sure to get your beloved this year, there’s no need to resort to boring old flowers or chocolates. Treat them to a flying lesson instead and you’ll score major brownie points with an experience they’ll never forget.


If you’re feeling flush, a half-hour helicopter lesson is sure to go down a treat, but we’ve plenty of more affordable options for those of you on a budget. With microlight flights for as little as £45, light aircraft flying lessons from £50 and gliding experiences from £49, there’s lots to choose from. You could even treat them to a day out at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, which includes a flight in an original 1930s Tiger Moth biplane for those looking to conjure up the romance of old-school aviation glamour.

Order your voucher today and we’ll get an evoucher to you in plenty of time for you to pop it into your Valentine’s card for a wonderful surprise when they wake up on Saturday morning. We can even personalise the voucher for you for a truly thoughtful gift! So what are you waiting for? Browse our flying experiences and order the perfect Valentine’s gift now!


Your chance to see history from the air

One of the great joys of flying is being able to spot historic places from the air. From stately homes surrounded by acres of landscaped gardens to earthworks highlighted in fields by the late afternoon sun, echoes of the past are everywhere and there’s always something interesting to see that you might not spot from the road. Today, we share some of our favourite photos we’ve captured on flights around the south of the UK.

Best known for its world-leading university, the historic city of Oxford is just as magnificent from the air as it is on the ground. Its dreaming spires and beautifully manicured college lawns are easy to spot from the air, as are its most distinctive landmarks. The round building is the Radcliffe Camera, part of the Bodleian Library (where parts of Harry Potter were filmed).

Aerial view of Carfax Tower


This imposing stately home is Cliveden in Buckinghamshire, once the home of Nancy Astor. It’s now a luxury hotel, but its gardens are managed by the National Trust.


Medieval field systems

Ridge and furrow is the term used to describe the ridges you can see in fields, and is what’s left of Medieval field systems. In days gone by, individual families would manage their own ridges, with the crop planted along the top of it and drainage ditches either side. This farming technique has left a distinctive mark on the landscape, and it’s visible in numerous fields across the country, particularly in Warwickshire and Northamptonshire.

Charlecote Park
Nestled alongside Wellesbourne Airfield is Charlecote Park, a beautiful National Trust house surrounded by a deer park in which Shakespeare is alleged to have been caught poaching.


The Castle Inn
The Castle Inn was built as a folly on a spot commemorating an important moment in the Battle of Edgehill. The Castle has commanding views over the surrounding countryside, where the battle took place. It’s recently been refurbished, and makes the perfect place for a spot of lunch after one of our gliding experiences at the nearby gliding club.


Sezincote House

Sezincote is an unusual stately home in Gloucestershire. Its distinctive look is inspired by the 16th and 17th century architecture of the Mughal empire.


Longleat House
Longleat House in Wiltshire is the subject of the long-running TV series Animal Park, presented by Kate Humble and Ben Fogle. In this photo, which we snapped last summer, you get a great view of this stunning Elizabethan manor house and its immaculate lawns. To the right is the pleasure lake, the island of which is home to the safari park’s gorillas.


If you’d like to see some history from the air, or you know someone else who might like to, why not buy a flying experience voucher? All our flights offer the opportunity to spot historical landmarks and features from the air, so if you know someone who’s a bit of a history buff, this is the ideal present. You have until 6pm today to order your evoucher in time for Christmas, so browse our flying experiences to find the perfect one for you or your loved one.


Flying lessons at Cardiff Airport

Here at Air Experiences, we offer flying experiences across the country – and Wales is no exception. For those in the south of Wales, or even the other side of the Bristol Channel in England, Cardiff Airport – or Maes Awyr Caerdydd – offers the perfect location for your first flying experience. It’s not just the only airport in Wales to offer scheduled international flights on passenger jets; it’s also a fantastic airport for experiencing the thrill of flying a light aircraft.

Cardiff Airport started life as RAF Rhoose, built during the Second World War for Spitfires to operate out of. After the war it suffered a period of abandonment, which saw its runways littered with unused bombs and its buildings falling to bits. But by the early 1950s it was brought back to life as the international airport we know today, operating flights to France and Ireland. Subsequent development has seen the range of destinations grow enormously, with runway extension in the 1980s allowing bigger jets, such as Boeing 747s, to use the airport. It’s now also the primary maintenance base for British Airways. On a few memorable occasions, Cardiff has even played host to one of the most famous aircraft of all time: Concorde.

Concorde at Cardiff Airport (from Wikimedia Commons)

Concorde may no longer be flying, but the number of international flights operating from Cardiff means that you’re never short of things to see on a visit to this busy airport. This makes it a particularly interesting place to go flying, as there’s always something going on. As you taxi to the runway for take-off on your flying lesson, you might even find yourself waiting behind a jumbo jet departing for warmer climes!

While you may not be flying quite as far as them, you’ll have plenty of stunning views to enjoy when you fly from Cardiff Airport. For a start, the airport’s location right on the coast will give you some spectacular sea views across the Bristol Channel and across to Somerset and Devon, with the tall towers of the Severn bridges visible as you look upstream towards Bristol. Nearby you’ll see the city of Cardiff, and in the distance, weather permitting, you should be able to spot the mountains of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The Severn Estuary from the air (photograph licensed for reuse from Geograph.org)

If you’d like to book a flying lesson at Cardiff Airport, or you’d like to treat someone to a memorable flying experience for Christmas, take a look at our light aircraft flying lessons. Prices start from just £50, making it a fun and affordable Christmas present for those difficult-to-buy-for people!


Treat someone to a flight this Christmas

The Christmas orders are already starting to roll in here at Air Experiences, so we thought we’d give you some inspiration if you’re thinking about buying a flying lesson for someone this Christmas. We have a great choice of experiences suitable for all your friends and family, so if you’re struggling to think of what to buy for someone, have a read of this guide and find the perfect gift for the person who has everything…

Light aircraft flying lesson


Light aircraft are the standard small planes you see buzzing around the sky. They usually seat between two and four people, and common types include the Cessna 152 pictured above. Flights in a light aircraft are suitable for pretty much anyone. Starting at just £50, they’re a great option if you’re on a budget, and all our light aircraft flying lessons give you the chance to have a go at the controls if you wish. What’s more, they all count towards your Private Pilot’s Licence, so if your friend or relative decides to take their flying further after their lesson, they’re part of the way there already! Or how about a flight for two, this is ideal for a romantic couple or take the family flying.

Helicopter flying lessons

Learn to fly a Helicopter


A helicopter flying lesson is the perfect gift if you really want to splash out. By their very nature, they’re pricier than light aircraft (those moving bits don’t come cheap…), but the thrill of a helicopter flight is unforgettable. The helicopter shown here is the Robinson R22, but there’s a four-seat version too, meaning that your friend or relative might even be able to let you accompany them in the back seat if you want to.

Gliding lessons

Gliding Aerotow

Gliders look a bit like light aircraft, but they have very long wings and no engine or propeller; you can find out more about how gliders work here. Gliding is an experience anybody can enjoy, but we’d recommend going for a gliding aerotow voucher if you think your friend or relative might want a gentler experience; a winch launch is thrilling, but it’s not ideal for a nervous flyer as the climb rate is fast and steep. Gliding lessons start at just £49, so it’s a very affordable way of experiencing flight.  We also offer gliding courses for those whom you think might want to take up gliding; our gliding mini course gives you a half-day of gliding with four or five flights depending on the weather and how long each flight is. It’s a great introduction to learning to fly gliders, and many of our gliding clubs give you three months of free membership so that you can go back and fly again at club rates while you decide whether to join up.

Microlight flying lessons

Win a Microlight Flight

Microlight flying lessons are the perfect gift for those who are a little more adventurous. With their open cockpit, flying one feels more exposed than in other forms of flying, but it’s an experience like no other. It’s something a bit different, and from our microlight base here in the Midlands you’ll be able to see sights such as Warwick Castle and Shakespeare’s home town of Stratford-upon-Avon. You can fly a microlight for as little as £45, so it’s the perfect budget option.

Aerobatic experiences


Know someone who’s a bit of a thrill-seeker? Then our aerobatics experiences might be just the thing for them this Christmas. Perfect for adrenaline junkies, an aerobatic flight lets them experience some of the moves you normally see from the ground at airshows, such as rolls and loops. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but rollercoaster fans will love it!

Motorglider flights


Motorgliding is the ideal ‘best of both worlds’ experience, making it the one to go for if you can’t decide between gliding and light aircraft. A motorglider is a plane, with an engine and propeller, but it has long wings like a glider. On some of our motorglider flights, we can even turn the engine off mid-flight so that you get to experience both gliding and powered flight in the same experience.

Vintage aircraft flights

1000 Pixel Wide Yellow Moth Finals at Kemble

For those who are nostalgic about days gone by, our vintage aircraft flights take you back in time to the age of early aviation, when biplanes such as the De Havilland Tiger Moth ruled the skies. You can combine a vintage aircraft experience with a day out at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, or you could treat someone to a ‘Best of Both’ vintage and modern aircraft experience, which can include aerobatics if they want.

All our vouchers are valid for ten months, and you can choose between an e-voucher or a printed voucher, the latter presented in a gold envelope ready to go under the tree. If you order before the end of November, you can also take advantage of our special offer of 40% off half-hour light aircraft flights in the Midlands. Order yours now!


10 high-flying celebrity pilots

You’d be surprised just how many people have been bitten by the flying bug. There are lots of famous faces out there whom we associate with other things, whom you might be surprised to learn are qualified pilots in their free time. From those who enjoy simply bimbling around the countryside, to those who fly their own business jets from A to B, there are plenty of celebrities to take inspiration from if you’re thinking of going flying. Here are ten of our favourite famous flyers.

1. Harrison Ford

Indiana Jones actor Harrison Ford’s love of flying has been in the news recently, as he’s joined various UK flying clubs while he’s been over here filming the latest Star Wars film. Arriving at the controls of his own private jet, Harrison has also been seen flying light aircraft in Shropshire, among other places in the UK. But the talented actor can fly helicopters too, appearing in the news on numerous occasions for his helicopter-based search and rescues of stranded hikers.

2. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie in pilot mode (image labelled for reuse from PeopleInside.fr)

Is there anything this incredible woman can’t do? In addition to her hugely successful acting career and her campaigning, Angelina Jolie has been a qualified pilot for nearly a decade. Her plane is at the top of our wishlist here at Air Experiences… it’s a Cirrus SR22.

3. Brad Pitt

Word on the street is that Angelina’s husband, the equally famous Brad Pitt, is also an accomplished pilot. Having mastered the more common or garden aircraft, he’s now bought a Spitfire – as you do – and he’s learning to fly it at an airfield near Oxford. Apparently the purchase was inspired by Fury, the World War Two action film he was shooting at the time.

4. Morgan Freeman

Just when you thought Morgan Freeman couldn’t get any cooler! He’s got one of the most memorable voices in the world, but there’s a lot more to this amazing actor than his dulcet tones and acting talent. Proving that you’re never too old, he got his pilot’s licence aged 65. He didn’t rest on his laurels with light aircraft, either, as he’s qualified to fly his whole fleet of aircraft, which includes a Cessna Citation 501 business jet and others like it.

5. Lord Sugar

The opening sequence of The Apprentice shows Lord Sugar being ferried about in a very fancy helicopter, but with 30 years’ piloting experience, this high-flying businessman is quite capable of flying himself around. Like Angelina Jolie, he flies a Cirrus SR22.

6. Carol Vorderman


We spotted Carol in her Diamond DA40 plane at Gloucester Airport over the summer

Maths geek, Countdown Queen and all-round lovely lady Carol Vorderman has taken up flying relatively recently, and by all accounts seems to be absolutely loving it. In her own little plane, she’s been whizzing up and down the country and tweeting great pics from her airborne jaunts. But her plans for next year are more ambitious: she’s off on a solo flight around the world, following the route of pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart. She’s currently in the process of gaining her Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL), which she’ll need to complete this epic journey.

7. Gisele Bundchen

Proving that she’s definitely not just a pretty face, international supermodel, philanthropist and UN Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bundchen can fly helicopters. She even learned to fly whilst she was pregnant!

8. Bruce Dickinson

We photographed the Eclipse 550, the small business jet flown by Bruce Dickinson with Aeris Aviation, at Wellesbourne in June

We photographed the Eclipse 550, the small business jet flown by Bruce Dickinson with Aeris Aviation, at Wellesbourne in June

We’re not quite sure how he does it, but Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson somehow finds the time to be an enormously successful heavy metal star and a qualified airline pilot at the same time. Having regularly flown Boeing 757s in the past, his latest aviation collaboration is with a UK-based business jet company called Aeris Aviation.

9. John Travolta

The cockpit of a Boeing 707, one of the aircraft flown by John Travolta (from Wikimedia Commons)

The cockpit of a Boeing 707, one of the aircraft flown by John Travolta (from Wikimedia Commons)

Grease star John Travolta is famously also a highly qualified pilot, owning a fleet of his own aircraft including a Boeing 707 decked out in Quantas livery (he’s an ambassador for the airline). He’s so into flying that his house has built-in hangars and a taxiway leading right up to them. We’re not jealous or anything…

10. Tom Cruise

Unsurprisingly, Top Gun star Tom Cruise – aka ‘Maverick’ – has had a pilot’s licence since the mid-90s, and although he may not fly fighter jets, he is qualified to fly business jets (he owns several). Apparently he also owns a World War II Mustang.

Flying definitely isn’t just for the stars, so if these high-flying celebs have inspired you to take to the skies, why not book a flight in a light aircraft or try your hand at flying a helicopter? You could even go the whole hog and get your Private Pilot’s Licence