Much has been written and said about the incomparable joy of flying. The exhilaration of ‘skyfaring’ – conquering the vast firmament, and witnessing the enchanting beauty of sunsets and sunrises from several feet above the ground is possibly one of the most delightful things one can experience . The sheer beatitude of feeling like a part of the skies, while traversing in three dimensions, is impossible to describe in words.

Everyone loves pilots. Perceived as swashbuckling, intrepid adventurers, pilots and airmen hold a special place in people’s hearts. There’s something about them – dashing, skilled, always flanked by gorgeous stewardesses and charming to a fault.

Needless to say films have banked on pilots and the allure of the profession to dole out blockbusters. Here are some that make us drool unabashedly.

Lt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell from Top Gun

Released on May 16, 1986, this legendary film is 30 today. It was Top Gun that made airmen larger-than-life and endowed much sex appeal to the pilots. Tom Cruise immortalized the role of a pilot as Maverick. By ”Flying by the seat of his pants” and taking out 3 fighter jets single-handedly, Maverick was the man all women wanted, and all men wanted to be. Yes, we felt the need; the need for speed.

William ‘Whip’ Whitaker from Flight

Badassery knew no bounds, when Denzel Washington played Whip, a senior airline commander. In spite of having a night of limitless debauchery, he managed to save the passenger when the plane experienced a technical failure. Not just this, he flew an airliner jet upside down!

Capt. Rafe McCauley from Pearl Harbor

Set in World War 2, Pearl Harbor was a tragic love triangle. What made it completely worth the watch was Ben Affleck, who played the noble and courageous Air Force pilot who got himself enlisted when most others were trying to avoid going to war. What’s more, he also wooed the pretty nurse with his charm!

Amelia Earhart from Amelia

The first woman pilot to fly across the Atlantic, Amelia Earhart remains to be an inspiration for all pilots, men as well as women, till date. Hillary Swank managed to bring Amelia’s beauty, grace, tenacity and grit to the screen with her commendable portrayal.

Squadron Leader Veer Pratap Singh from Veer Zaara

Played by none other than Shahrukh Khan, who looks every bit as dashing and handsome as an Indian Air Force pilot should, he stole many a heart as Veer, the lovelorn, pining hero.

Sq. Leader Harinder Singh from Mausam

Shahid Kapoor was as ravishing as Harry, the exuberant, young chap from a hamlet in Punjab, as he was stately as Sq. Leader Harinder Singh.
Any article about pilots is incomplete without a special shout out to Han Solo. Harrison Ford remains unparalleled as the flyer of the Millennium Falcon. With his great looks and rakish charm, he may just be an honorary addition, but he is every bit as drool-worthy as his earthbound counterparts.