Frank Connor/Studio Babelsberg/AFP/Getty
Karen Nickel Anhalt
August 02, 2007 01:00 PM

For Tom Cruise, it was Top Gun all over again – although maybe a little slower.

This week, the star and amateur pilot took the controls of a 1941 Boeing Stearman on the German location of his new movie Valkyrie and off he went, into the wild blue yonder.

At the control of his historic double-decker plane, which was used by the U.S. Air Force to train during WWII, Cruise earned high marks from co-pilot Thomas Schüttoff, 43, director of the Berlin-based pilot training school, Tempelhof Aviators.

“There are pilots who can fly a plane. But Tom Cruise has the soul of flyer,” Schüttoff told Germany’s Bild newspaper. “I saw that right from the start,”

The two men got to know each other at Tempelhof Airport, the oldest airfield in the world, where Cruise has been a familiar figure since starting production on Valkyrie this month. In it, he plays the real-life attempted assassin of Hitler, Col. Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg.

During the flight, Cruise made only one small mistake, reports Bild. While trying to inform Schüttoff of the great time he was having, Cruise pressed the button for the tower instead of the one for his co-pilot’s earphones.

That way, the tower and all the other flyers heard him exclaim, “Wow, wow, what a machine this is!”

Afterwards, Cruise reportedly offered to pay for the fuel he used, but Schüttoff wouldn’t hear of it, saying of his co-pilot, “He was so nice.”

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