Cruise back at controls thanks to museum Lynx
Leading Hollywood star Tom Cruise's most famous role is probably in Top Gun – and thanks to West enthusiasts he is back at the controls again.
Cruise cemented his leading man status with his role as naval aviator Lieutenant Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell in the 1986 smash hit.
And he is back starring as a pilot again, but this time at the controls of a helicopter that was put together by the staff and volunteers of the Weston-super-Mare-based Helicopter Museum.
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They may not enjoy the Hollywood lifestyle – or the pay cheques of Cruise – but the enthusiasts have played a major role in the production of his latest action movie.
The star has been in London filming the Warner Bros Studio Sci-fi epic All You Need Is Kill co-starring Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton.
When the production company needed a diverse range of helicopter parts to build an AgustaWestland Lynx helicopter their first port of call was the museum at Weston-Super-Mare.
Staff and volunteers were soon on the case collating the items required which included aircraft rotor heads, main and rear rotor blades, two sets of side mounted rocket launchers and a host of smaller essential parts.
Restoration manager Rod Holloway oversaw the preparation of all the helicopter parts and said "It was quite a comprehensive list of items that they needed to complete the build and I was thrilled to be able to locate and prep all the aircraft parts they required. "We are quite used to production companies filming scenes in our helicopters here, but this is the first time that our exhibits have been used to build an actual helicopter for a major motion picture."
The Helicopter Museum houses the world's largest collection of helicopters including two aircraft from the Queen's Flight, and the Lynx which set the still unbeaten helicopter world speed record of 249.09 miles per hour in 1986 when piloted by Westland test pilot Trevor Egginton.
Cruise plays Lieutenant Colonel Bill Cage, who dies, but because of a time loop finds himself back two days before his death with a chance to change his fate.
He must relive the same brutal battle against an unrelenting alien race over and over again, gaining the skills to avoid death as he does so.
The film is based on a Japanese graphic novel and directed by Doug Liman, who directed The Bourne Identity. Filming in London earlier this month saw men in heavy robotic armour patrolling the streets, while last November Trafalgar Square was closed to the public to allow Cruise to film scenes flying in and disembarking from a Puma helicopter. The Lynx scenes were shot at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, where the Harry Potter films were shot.
All You Need Is Kill is due to be released in March 2014.