Lonely Planet Writer

Actor John Travolta is donating his beloved plane to an Australian aircraft restoration society

Actor John Travolta has announced that he is donating his treasured Qantas Boeing 707 to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society in Australia. However, the plane will require maintenance before it is able to make the trip from his Florida home to the society’s location in Albion Park, south Sydney.

John Travolta in his Qantas Boeing 707. Image: Rune Hellestad/Corbis via Getty Images
John Travolta in his Qantas Boeing 707. Image: Rune Hellestad/Corbis via Getty Images

The plane was originally part of the Qantas fleet and was delivered in 1964. It was later converted to private use and Travolta, who is an honorary pilot for Qantas, ultimately acquired it. He said it gave him ‘great pleasure’ to donate the aircraft and he is pleased it will continue to fly “well into the future.”

John Travolta disembarks from his Qantas Boeing 707. Image: Peter Carrette Archive/Getty Images
John Travolta disembarks from his Qantas Boeing 707. Image: Peter Carrette Archive/Getty Images

While this aspect of Travolta may come as a surprise to some people, he isn’t the only unexpected pilot in the skies.

People you may not have known are pilots:

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands

The king of the Netherlands has revealed he’s been piloting KLM flights for more than two decades. King Willem-Alexander told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf he has been secretly working as a KLM co-pilot for 21 years. He flies just twice a month on the airline’s short Cityhopper service around European destinations and has continued his regular flights with the airline despite acceding to the Dutch throne in 2013 and assuming more royal duties.

King Willem-Alexander opens renovated Martiem and Logistics College De Ruyter and Multraship Toage.
The Dutch king could be piloting your next flight. Image by Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images

Iron Maiden lead singer, Bruce Dickinson

Long gone are the days of the tour bus for Iron Maiden. When the heavy metal group tours the world, they’ll be travelling on a custom Boeing 747-400, piloted by the band’s lead singer, Bruce Dickinson. Dickson earned his pilot’s wings when on hiatus from the band in the early 1990s and later flew commercial 757 flights for the now-defunct Astraeus Airlines. He’s previously piloted Iron Maiden on an eight-seat twin-engine plane as well as a 757. He told Made in Cardiff TV he underwent five or six weeks of training on the Boeing 747 with Air Atlanta.

Vocalist and pilot Bruce Dickinson of the British group Iron Maiden stands at the gangway of the band's Boeing 747-400. Image: Tobias Schwartz/AFP/Getty Images
Vocalist and pilot Bruce Dickinson of the British group Iron Maiden stands at the gangway of the band’s Boeing 747-400. Image: Tobias Schwartz/AFP/Getty Images

Actor Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise was bitten by the flying bug after filming the 1986 film Top Gun. He earned his pilot’s licence in 1994, and now owns somewhere between three and five private planes, including a World War II-era P-51 Mustang and a $20 million Gulfstream IV. He now refuses to fly on commercial airlines, and and once sent one of the jets to pick up groceries for his former wife Katie Holmes. For these actions, the environmental lobby dubbed him “emissions impossible.”

Actor Tom Cruise, who is a qualified pilot, sits in an F-16 fighter jet. Image: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Actor Tom Cruise, who is a qualified pilot, sits in an F-16 fighter jet. Image: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images