John Travolta commits to personally deliver Boeing 707 to HARS

N707JT departs Sydney Airport during its November 2010 visit to Australia. (Seth Jaworski)
N707JT departs Sydney Airport during its November 2010 visit to Australia. (Seth Jaworski)

Actor John Travolta will personally deliver the ex-Qantas Boeing 707 he is donating to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS).

In May, the keen pilot announced he would gift the 707-138B, registered N707JT, to HARS, with the aircraft to be restored to a safe flying state before it is flown over to Australia from his Florida home.

At the time, Travolta said he was hoping to be part of the flight crew bringing the aircraft to HARS’s facility at Albion Park, supported by qualified pilots and engineers.

On Tuesday, sponsor Bendigo Bank said on its Facebook page Travolta would make the trip some time in 2018.

“John Travolta will be coming to the Illawarra!” the post said.

“He has confirmed he will be landing at Illawarra Regional Airport in the Boeing 707 he has donated to HARS and he wants to thank the local community for their support and interest in the HARS 707 Project.”

**John Travolta HARS 707 Project Update**John Travolta will be coming to the Illawarra! He has confirmed he will be…

Posted by Oak Flats & Shellharbour Community Bank Branches on Tuesday, 5 December 2017

 

As VH-EBM and named City of Launceston, the 707 was delivered to Qantas in September 1964 and stayed with the airline until 1968. After a brief stint with Braniff Airlines, the 707 was converted with a corporate jet interior in the 1970s. Travolta acquired the aircraft in 1998.

Qantas named Travolta as one of its ambassadors in 2002 when the 707 was repainted in the airline’s iconic V-Jet livery from the 1960s. The actor also owns a number of other aircraft.

HARS president Bob de la Hunty told the Illawarra Mercury the project would cost “many millions of dollars”.

“We didn’t expect anything less, but now that we know what we need to find we can break it down and work with the people who have shown interest in what we’re doing,” De La Hunty told the newspaper.

The exact delivery date was yet to be confirmed but likely to be in the second half of 2018.

The former VH-EBM will become the second ex-Qantas 707 to go on display in Australia, after the airline’s first 707, the former VH-EBA City of Canberra, was placed on display with the Qantas Founders Museum in June 2007.

HARS is already the home of Qantas’s historic Boeing 747-400, the former VH-OJA (and also) City of Canberra that flew nonstop from London Heathrow to Sydney on its delivery flight.

Comments

  1. Dave says

    I wonder what work needs to be done to make it flyable again. I get the impression it became too expensive for him to maintain, so it is easier to donate the plane and get rid of it

  2. Andreas says

    It’s been maintained at Brunswick GA since it was parked. It’s airworthy, but probably needs some special checks before the long trip.

  3. Mike says

    seen this at Bermuda Airport a few years ago,John was Captain and he did a very long lazy take off as promised so people there could take photos.

  4. Chris says

    Current and qualified E-3 (Boeing 707 airframe) pilot and would love to help get the bird down to Australia. Let me know if you need an extra pilot! Cheers!

  5. Michael says

    Hi Dave, yes I wonder the same. Some years ago I remember hearing or reading that John Travolta got maintainance on the 707 by Qantas engineering in return for being a Qantas Ambassador. I wonder whether that deal fell through or wasn’t entirely true?
    Michael

  6. AlanH says

    Yes, but what a coup for HARS. Better there than in the aircraft boneyard at AMARG, Tuscon, Arizona!

  7. AlanH says

    Tucson … actually. Great livery though! I wish QANTAS would paint a third B737-800 in retro livery with that wonderful V-Jet tail! Or maybe an A330? Awesome!

  8. Marty says

    Wouldn’t it be great to see a formation shot of this aircraft alongside the current V-Jet liveried B737-800.

    Chris (posted above – E3 Pilot) I’d suggest you contact HARS (Historical Aircraft Restoration Society) directly.

  9. Brian Loring says

    The cost of the required Airworthiness Directives (mandatory) on the engines and airframe are prohibitive for a pressurised aircraft that is over 50 years old, Mr Delahunty is right when he says “many millions of dollars”.

  10. Vannus says

    Loved the V-Jet livery!
    Didn’t fly on the 707-138B, but certainly did many times on the 707-338C’s.

    My personal record was VH-EAI, the ‘City of Darwin’, clocking-up 28000 miles on it.
    That as two return trips SYD-MEX-SYD, in the ’70’s.

    That was also when QANTAS was an actual ‘Round-the-World’ Airline!

  11. Dick Boone says

    A very poor choice of places for the aircraft to end its days.

    John Travolta, as a fan of Qantas, should know what the Q stands for, and it’s not NSW or Wollongong.

  12. Mike says

    @Marty, there isn’t a “V-jet” liveried B737-838 retrojet………..yet, though I’m with you and hope some day to see that colour scheme join the other two Qantas Retrojets. (Hey Qantas, there’s a centenary coming up! Time for another retrojet, or several?!!)
    The original B707 delivery period colours (as worn by the Longreach based B707-138) proudly fly throughout Australia and to regional destinations on B737-838, VH-VXQ.
    The colourful ochre and red 1970’s livery which was introduced at the time the B747 joined the fleet is worn by B738 VH-XZP.
    Missing then is the “V-jet” design which heralded the arrival of the fan-jet engined B707-338/c fleet.
    Yes, to see John Travolta’s B707 in formation with a B737-838 wearing the same V-jet livery would be an amazing sight!!
    I dare to dream!!!

  13. Francisco Miguez Vaca says

    It would be interesting to see both of them parked side-by-side, the Old Lady from Seattle, and The Queen of the Skies. Two icons from Boeing in Commercial Aviation.

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