How’s everybody doing today? It’s Day 2 of our extended Spring Break Staycation courtesy of that asshole virus. To help make the time go by, my family volunteered at the local food bank last night, where we assembled boxes of food for elderly shut ins. It was nice to be doing something rather than just sitting around. We’re going back again on Wednesday and Friday.
This isn’t a particularly fascinating photo (I imagine somebody can tell me all about those Braniff vehicles), though this 707-138B has an interesting history. It began its life as VH-BEM flying for Qantas, one of its so-called “hotrods,” a shortened variant to improve range and performance. It was then sold to Braniff as N108BN, and that registration stuck as it was later converted to an executive transport and passed through the hands of Frank Sinatra, Las Vegas entrepreneur and billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, then TAG Aviation. Travolta bought it in 1998 and it was re-registered as N707JT (for obvious reasons) and christened Jett Clipper Ella after his son and daughter. Since garaging a 707 isn’t exactly cheap, Travolta entered into a maintenance agreement with Qantas to take care of the airliner, had it painted it in original Qantas colors, with Travolta acting as an ambassador for the airline. In 2017, after Travolta was unable to sell the plane, he decided to donate it to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society in Australia. The historic airliner was originally scheduled to be repatriated last fall, but paperwork and other regulatory issues pushed the date into 2020.
cn/serial number: 18740/388
Delivered to Qantas in September 1964 as VH-EBM
To Braniff International Airways in 1969 as N108BN
To Boeing in 1975 as N108BN
To TAG Aviation in 1977 as N108BN
Re-registered in 1990, with TAG Aviation, as N707XX
To Jet Clipper Johnny LLC in 1998 as N707JT