Ever since I was a kid, I have been a fan of everything aviation related. One of Hollywood’s most iconic actors, John Travolta, has also been an aviation geek for a long time. He even collects and flies his own aircraft. How cool is that? Now, he is donating one of his private jets to Australia and this is no ordinary Travolta private jet — it is his prized Boeing 707. Here is the fascinating history of John Travolta as a total AvGeek.
Breaking It Down:
Travolta’s History With Aviation
Travolta had an early fascination with aviation. By the time he was 22, he had earned his pilot’s license and later became certified to fly several aircraft of all sizes. This includes the Eclipse 500, Gulfstream II, Bombardier’s Challenger 601 and the Boeing 707, which he purchased in 1998.
Travolta’s Flight Training
Travolta continued his flight training at Qantas’s Sydney headquarters and with Boeing in Seattle. As a result, he completed Boeing 747-400 First Officer simulator training. Could he be considering buying a B747 someday? That would make an awesome family home in the skies. The actor remodeled his now donated B707 to include a bedroom with attached bathroom, kitchen, and lounge, which seats 25.
The Boeing 707
After purchasing the B707, Travolta approached Qantas and asked them if it he could get permission to repaint the plane with a retro Qantas livery. With that scheme the plane took on its appearance as when it flew passengers along the Fiesta Route from Sydney to London, via Tahiti, Mexico and the Caribbean. I would have loved that itinerary!
The actor registered his Boeing 707 as N707JT (JT stands for the actor’s initials.) He even named the aircraft “707 Jett Clipper Ella” after his children “Jett” and “Ella,” and “Clipper” in homage to Pan Am, who named all of their planes with a Clipper distinction.
Travolta’s Aviation Donations
This is not the first Travolta private jet donation. Several years ago, he also gave his Grumman G-1159 Gulfstream II-SP to the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, a museum of aviation in Georgia.
Travolta has also cooperated with Qantas on some promotional events. When Qantas introduced its first Sydney to Santiago, Chile flight in 2012, Travolta flew his “707 Jett Clipper Ella” down for the celebration.
His relationship with Qantas has garnered him some great perks. When the Airbus A380 rolled off the production line, Travolta secured a position as the first non-test pilot to fly the aircraft. Qantas arranged that exclusivity to promote the airline’s newest plane.
Travolta Donating His Private Jet to Aircraft Society Australia
This November 2019, the actor will complete the donation of his “Jett Clipper Ella” to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS). It is located in the town of Albion Park, approximately 90 miles south of Sydney, Australia. It has taken almost two years to get the paperwork and requests for flight permits completed.
A special flight permit, recently awarded, is required to make the move. The Travolta private jet is expected to arrive at its new home sometime in November. According to ABC News, HARS president Bob De La Hunty said,
[The special permit] opened up a huge opportunity of doing it sooner than later, so we’ve taken that option and we’ve planned for a November arrival. John Travolta has made available the month of November to give us some flexibility.”
The B707 will be in good hands with more than 700 volunteers, many of whom are ex-Qantas employees. These aviation geeks are comprised of retired pilots, engineers, and airplane mechanics. Several are familiar with Travolta’s own aircraft. She will get the restoration she deserves and the maintenance she requires.
Once placed (and restored) in its new home at the HARS, the B707 will be on public display, where the museum hopes it will become a popular attraction because of its celebrity owner. I am quite sure that Travolta’s private jet, a B707 will be a key attraction.
Travolta Private Jet Once Sat in His Backyard
Travolta and wife Kelly Preston will still have aircraft in their lives and in their backyard! They live at the exclusive Jumbolair Aviation Estates in Florida. It is the nation’s largest and most exclusive fly-in community. Jumbolair is a community designed around people who want to fly in and out of their homes. I just love their ‘motto’:
Bring your Boeing. A mile of road can get you to a few places, but a mile of runway can get you anywhere in the world.
The runway is located right out their back door. Their home office proudly displays his Qantas 747 and American Airlines Boeing 707 pilot certificates. Wow, when I grow up I want to be John Travolta!
This Boeing 707 was not only owned by Travolta, but also by Frank Sinatra during its long life around the world. Travolta has had a great relationship with Qantas and the aviation community at large. It’s fitting that he now will donate his private Boeing 707 jet and has plans to accompany it on its return to Australia for its final resting place.
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