Actor John Travolta says he hopes to personally deliver his ex-Qantas Boeing 707 that he has decided to donate to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS).
The keen pilot said the 707-138B, registered N707JT, would be well looked after at HARS’s facility at Albion Park given so many of its volunteers were former Qantas employees.
“The aircraft currently requires a lot of work to be restored to a safe flying state and having seen first hand the dedication and passion of people at HARS, I have no doubt this beautiful and historical aircraft will be flying again,” Travolta said in a statement on his website over the weekend.
“HARS have an impressive track record of restoring historical aircraft and I have personally flown in a Super Constellation that they restored to flying condition from almost nothing.
“I am hoping to be part of the crew to fly the aircraft to Australia, supported by well qualified and experienced pilots and engineers.”
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, who lives in Florida, also owns a number of other aircraft.
“I am truly excited by this project and am just so pleased that this beautiful aircraft, for which I obviously have very fond memories, will continue to fly well into the future,” he said.
The aircraft is in “pretty good shape” and last flew in December, HARS president Bob De La Hunty told sponsor Bendigo Bank in a Facebook video.
“We have to send our engineering team over there, work out the timing and what needs to be done to get it back in the air.”
Qantas donated its historic Boeing 747-400, VH-OJA City of Canberra that flew nonstop from London Heathrow to Sydney on its delivery flight, to HARS in March 2015.
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.