John Travolta’s Boeing 707

After writing my last blog post about John Travolta’s 707, I became interested in the history of this classic airliner.
So, here it is. Ladys & Gentlemen fasten your seatbelts, the history of the John Travolta Boeing 707.

His 707-138B was built in 1964, constructed at Boeing Seattle and has Boeing Construction Number 18740 Line 388.

1964 John Travolta was 10 years old. Travolta first became enamored of aviation as a child. He observed the flight paths of the nearest airports, read books on aviation, and took special interest in Constellations, DC-6s and DC-7s. Attesting to his early charisma, he persuaded the girls in his neighborhood to don their Brownie uniforms to play flight attendants as he “captained” his backyard airliner.

On September 10, 1964 first owner became Qantas. It’s registration number became VH-EBM “City of Launceston”. [ Photo ]
It was primary used for routes from Sydney to Asia and North/South America.

Since November 1, 1968 it was withdrawn from use and stored engineless at Sydney Airport. The same year in June it was already cancelled from the Australian Aircraft Register.

On June 7, 1969 new owner became Braniff International Airways. It’s registration number changed to N108BN.

From February 24, 1972 till 1975 it was owned by Frank Sinatra.
During this time, on October 20, 1973, it was again withdrawn from use and stored.

In June 1975 it was sold to Boeing.

In September 1975 it was again sold, this time to Kirk Kerkorian / Tracy Investments Corp (Tracinda / TIC).

Since September 26, 1977 it was owned by TAG Aviation, a holding company based in Luxembourg.

During this time it was also leased to Saudi Arabian Sheikh Akram, for short time.

On August 25, 1981 the 707 was again withdrawn from use, stored at Newark and ferried to Le Bourget for further storage in August 1983.

In December 1983 our 707 returned to service.

In November 1987 it has been sold to Trans Oceanic Aviation.

1988 – 1989 it was out of service again. During this time VIP interior was installed and it was modified with hush kits which converted it to a 707-138B(Q).

In July 1990, with a changed registration number to N707XX it returned to service.

In 1995 the ownage changed again to “Aviation Methods” and was ferried to Istanbul for storage on 29 October 1995.

In September 1996, with only 27,682 of total flying hours, it was offered for sale.

On May 20, 1998 it was finally registered to Jet Clipper Johnny LLC (John Travolta), sold on May 25, and changed registration on December 13, 1998 to N707JT “707 Jett Clipper Ella”. Named after his children “Jett” and “Ella”, Clipper in homage to legendary airline Pan Am, which used/uses “Clipper” in all their aircraft names.

In June 2002, the 707 finally returned home to Qantas, since Travolta participated in the Qantas “Spirit of Friendship” tour, because it was always his dream to be involved with a major airline in some way. He was piloting his own Boeing 707 on a thirteen city, 35,000 mile tour. [ Photo ] He continues as Ambassador-at-Large for the Australia based Qantas Airways. For this campaign the plane was repainted in full classical Qantas “V-Jet” livery. The same livery that was used for the 707’s first flights, back in the old days.

John Travolta is a pilot with a life long passion for aviation. Since earning his wings in 1974, he has logged close to an astounding 5,000 flying hours. Literally every cent of his first paychecks went to flying lessons. He achieved qualification as a captain in the Gulfstream II, Learjet 24, Hawker 1A, Citation 1 and 2, Tebuan and Vampire Jet. He owns the type rating for the Boeing 707 and is certified for SIC privileges (Second In Command). Travolta keeps his skill up-to-date through continual refresher courses, training at American Airlines, SimuFlite and others.

John Travolta in Mid-Air Engine Failure

John Travolta was forced to make a landing in Shannon/Ireland on Monday while piloting his private classic Boeing 707 airliner from Munich/Germany to New York. The actor, who was jetting back to the US after promoting his new movie in Germany, landed safely after his Boeing 707 suffered an engine failture mid-flight. Nevertheless, the 53-year-old just hired another plane and completed the journey, while his jet was grounded for repairs.

Last week in Aviation History – World’s worst ever air disaster

30 years ago, on March 27 1977, the world’s worst air disaster occured –  the Tenerife disaster.

Read the facts on:

Read about the newly erected  monument:

Watch the documentary:

Space debris almost hits airliner

A fiery object that nearly hit a Sydney-bound airliner over the Pacific may have been a meteorite or debris from a Russian satellite, New Zealand authorities say.

The Lan Chile A340 Airbus was flying between Santiago and Auckland, before heading to Australia, when it came within about 30 seconds of hitting the object about 10pm on Tuesday.

The pilots radioed air traffic controllers in New Zealand to report fiery objects falling in front and behind the plane.

Ken Mitchell from Airways New Zealand said the pilot reported the debris was falling “very close” to the plane.

“The pilot estimated the debris to be falling as close as five nautical miles (9.26 kilometres) to the aircraft,” Mitchell said.

“Certainly, a meteorite has not been ruled out and a formal investigation will determine that,” he said.

A plane spotter listening to a high-frequency radio broadcast told Fairfax media the pilot reported that a rumbling noise from the falling debris was louder than the plane.

The pilot also saw a piece of debris that lit up as it fell to earth.

Mitchell said the debris’ most likely origin was from a Russian satellite that had been decommissioned and fell to earth ahead of schedule.

He said the satellite was due to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere between 10.30am and noon on Wednesday.

“Around 10pm on Tuesday night we received notification from a Lan Chile flight enroute from Santiago to Auckland that he was experiencing what appeared to be falling space debris,” Mitchell said.

According to the Lan website, the A340 Airbus typically cruises at 976km/h, meaning the debris would have fallen just 34 seconds away from the aircraft.

The aircraft holds a maximum of 271 passengers.

Bill Sommer from New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority said there would be an investigation into the incident.

He said he was aware of reports that NASA had thought the falling satellite was not responsible and that a meteorite was most likely to blame for the incident.

An Aerolineas Argentinas aircraft flying enroute from Auckland to Argentina was notified of the debris, but elected to continue with the flight, Mitchell said.

“We have compiled a formal incident report and we will be filing that with our Aviation Safety Authority here in New Zealand in the next day or two,” he said.

A person from Lan Chile who answered a call to the company’s Auckland office today said information about the incident was confidential.


Photo of the day – The huge A380 Engine

See also my own photos of the enormous Airbus A380 Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine:


The Trent 900 family is designed to power the Airbus A380, for which it is the launch engine. It comes in two thrust ratings, 70,000 and 76,000 lbf (311 and 338 kN) but is capable of achieving 84,000 lbf (374 kN). It features a significant amount of technology inherited from the 8104 demonstrator including its 2.95 m diameter swept-back fan which provides greater thrust for the same engine size, and is also about 15 per cent lighter than previous wide-chord blades. It is also the first member of the Trent family to feature a contra-rotating HP spool and uses the core of the very reliable Trent 500. It is the only A380 engine that can be transported on a Boeing 747 freighter.

In October 2000, the Trent 900 received its first order when Singapore Airlines specified the engine for its order for 10 A380s, quickly followed by Qantas in February 2001. The Trent 900 made its maiden flight on May 17, 2004 on Airbus’ A340-300 testbed, replacing the port inner CFM56-5 engine, and its final certification was achieved on 29 October 2004.

More information about the Trent 900 on Wikipedia: