An original ‘hot rod’ version of the Qantas 707, the short fuselage -138B ‘V Jet’ is being donated by its owner movie star John Travolta to the HARS Museum at Albion Park airport, near Wollongong south of Sydney.
Just when it will be restored to safe condition and flown from the US to the tiny airport isn’t yet known, but Mr Travolta, who personally flew the jet for many years, will be on board when it arrives.
It will be a spectacle to equal the arrival of the first Qantas 747-400, VH-OJA, at the ‘tight’ pocket sized airport in March 2015, on its donation flight to the home of HARS the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society. HARS also owns a restored Super Constellation similar to those that were the airline’s long distance propeller engined flag carriers in the 50s when most travel between Australia and the world sailed on ships that took weeks to reach ports in America, Europe and the UK. The early Boeing 707s, and their alternative, the Douglas DC-8s, brought the age of the great ocean liners to a rapid end by the start of the 1960s.
The surprise donation by John Travolta was announced early on the weekend, and this detailed report in The Western Advocate had it in print and online before other better known media.
The 707-138s that Qantas first utilised had a shorter than standard 707 fuselage to improve the power to weight ratio of jets flying out of sub-jet standard runways, starting with Nadi in Fiji. That enhanced performance was further improved when turbo-fan engines replaced the original turbo-jet designs.
This was how legions of planespotters, or av geeks, or just those smitten by the sight of large jets arriving at aerodromes better known for hosting small aircraft, witnessed the landing of VH-OJA more than two years ago.