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Croydon pilot: 'Tom Cruise blew up my aeroplanes'

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A FORMER naughty Croydon schoolboy who is plane mad for aviation has lent Tom Cruise some aircraft to blow up in his next blockbuster.

Mustafa Azim Aolad, who went to Ashburton Secondary School in the 1970s, has made a living flying planes for everyone from TV presenter Anthea Turner to early 1990s reggae legend Chaka Demus.

His company Imperial Air Salvage has provided the planes that are blown up in an action sequence from the upcoming blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow, starring Cruise and Emily Blunt.

He said: "The film company wanted two planes to blow up in the film so we gave them some planes. They blew it all up and we just went and picked up the pieces afterwards."

But Mr Aolad, who lives in Wallington, said he was a troublemaker when he was at school and many of his teachers thought he would never amount to anything.

He said: "It was pretty difficult growing up in Croydon in the late 1970s when racism was rife. I started becoming disruptive at school and I wasn't going anywhere fast."

"When I told my teacher I wanted to be a pilot he told me with a sigh it probably wasn't going to happen. But my old English teacher Geoffrey Moir, who was also a pilot, really encouraged me and also inspired me with the story Reach For The Sky about Douglas Bader, who flew even after he lost both his legs."

Mr Aolad, 47, returned to his home country Bangladesh in 1981 to complete his education but when he returned to England in 1985, he started training at Biggin Hill Airport.

He set up his first air charter company in 1993 and flew a raft of well-known faces around.

Although he gave up flying for airline companies in 2006t, the aircraft salvage business means Mr Aolad has still got his fingers in a big pilot-shaped pie.

Last year he flew a helicopter with a Daniel Craig double for a stunt as part of the James Bond 50th anniversary celebration and he also provided a helicopter for a 007-themed wedding.

His business often sees him recovering crashed planes, including, in 2009, the wreckage of a Boeing 747 in Bangladesh for Saudi Airlines.

He added: "I am absolutely crazy about planes and they have given me a good life."


Mustafa's famous passengers Chaka Demus and Pliers: reggae legends Isaac Hayes: Shaft singer and voice of Chef from South Park Tim Vincent & Anthea Turner: Blue Peter presenters Johnny Vaughan: Big Breakfast presenter and radio DJ Sylvester McCoy: Doctor Who actor Soul 2 Soul: Early 1990s British R'n'B combo Mark Morrison: Return of the Mack singer Snoop Dogg: Rapper

Croydon pilot: 'Tom Cruise blew up my aeroplanes'


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