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.”
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.
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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.
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