The neat thing about living right by the busiest general aviation airport in the country is that you never know who's going to drop in.
Just the other day I was driving past Deer Valley Airport when I noticed a large red tail sticking up into the sky. I pulled over to take a couple of pictures of the aircraft, a Boeing 707-138 wearing red and white Quantas livery.
An aircraft this large is certainly an unusual sight at Deer Valley, where Pipers and Cessnas are standard fare for most pilots. The aircraft's tail number, N707JT, is known by planespotters to be registered to actor and pilot John Travolta.
The 55-year old actor is most well known for his roles in Saturday Night Fever (1977), Grease (1978), Pulp Fiction (1994), and Get Shorty (1995). He is also an avid pilot and owns four other aircraft including a Learjet and three Gulfstream jets according to Internet sources. Travolta began flying in 1977 and has logged well over 30,000 miles in the past few years.
His Boeing 707 aircraft is almost as popular as its owner, with over 200 different photos of it appearing on airplane spotting websites such as Airliners.net, JetPhotos.net, and Airport Data. Photos show the airplane parked at airports all over the world from various angles.
Of course, it is hard to ignore the presence of such a large aircraft and its celebrity owner. Even The Arizona Republic ran a short article on the aircraft on Thursday, March 12th. The plane's presence at Deer Valley Airport raises more questions than answers.
Whether Travolta himself is in town or not is unknown. Rumors are flying about whether the actor is in town on personal business or whether the aircraft is simply in town for maintenance. This is a plausible theory as Honeywell's Aerospace division is headquartered nearby.
The actor's personal life may also play a role in his visit to the Valley. Travolta is a prominent member of Scientology, a niche religion that has remained highly controversial from its inception in the early 1950s.
The founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, lived in Phoenix at the time he founded the religion. His original Phoenix residence in Camelback Village was purchased by the Church of Scientology and is currently operated as a private museum. More information about the house can be found in this article from the Phoenix New Times.
Whatever the reason behind the visit, we're thrilled to welcome this famous aircraft and its owner to North Phoenix.