After reading about how Oprah Winfrey is shouting her audience of 300 people a trip to Australia on a Qantas A380, the article states that John Travolta will be 'piloting' the aircraft...I read a while ago that he holds an Australian pilot license and is rated on the B747-400 occasionally doing the odd Qantas RPT flight.
Does he actually fly the odd QF flight? If so, is it in a Pilot Flying position? I assume he acts as an 'S/O' whilst occupying a first class seat. Is he A380 rated now? I take it he keeps current in SYD with base checks and the like...
Whats the story with his piloting role for Qantas?
I can confirm that JT is very much a hands on pilot. I arrived his 707 very late one night. After chocking the nose gear I looked up to give the chocks in signal only to find the man himself in the left seat. i believe he is type rated on the 744. The Oprah show mentioned 450pax which definately translate to dugong.
Who cares what the silly FAA database says? The British daily telegraph, which we all know cannot be wrong, says
'Later John Travolta emerged from the jet and it was revealed he will be the pilot. The actor is a part-time pilot for the Australian airline Qantas. Winfrey and Travolta have been planning the trip for a year to mark the end of the chat show queen's hugely popular show.'
Sadly, John cannot come now due to his wife giving birth around then. Qantas being such a great EEO employer, have obvioulsy given him paternity leave. Oh well, they'll just have to find some other random pilot with a private certificate to fly the damn plane.
I think it is an insult to all QF pilots who have busted their arses to get where they are to have this clown in a Qantas uniform and parade around in it. He is just an actor he is not a professional pilot.
That said good on him for restoring the 707 and keeping it flying and whatever PR he brings QF well good luck to them. I somehow don't think that QF will risk an airframe with JT at the helm.
I once watched his doco on the QF promotional flight he did around the world.... yes he flies it from the LHS however the guy in the RHS did alot of talking.
As a QF driver I can't say I'm particularly offended by this. JT knows his capabilities and the reality of what he can and can't drive in QF. QF knows his capabilities of what he can and can't drive in QF. Sure, some media have gotten it completely wrong and called him a 'part time' QF pilot but I learned a long time to not care overly much what they have to say.
However, JT performs a fantastic role for QF and that he wears a QF uniform whilst doing so doesn't bother me overly much. From the reports of those who have engaged with him during his type course/ recurrent sims, he's very humble about what he does and acknowledges that he doesn't do the job day in, day out like the rest of us.
I cherish my QF command and understand the significance of it however I just don't have a major problem with what JT is doing in this role and the uniform he wears whilst doing it.
I was an ops guy with the flight planning company that did his around the world flight a few years ago. JT privately employs a chief pilot and full crew for his 707. I was told he is a very hands off pilot. No flt planning, heads to the rear before they are even leveled off, may make it back to the cockpit before landing, but always in the left seat for that final taxi to parking.
It's great he loves and promotes aviation and QF, but don't pretend he has any clue about being a real pilot.
I remember when the initial A380 came to Australia for the Qantas anniversary with JT on board. About 60 guys got from the back (engineers, testing geeks etc). Someone beside me asked 'what are all those guys doing?' Quick as a flash, a nearby LAME said 'keeping Travolta out of the cockpit'
I understood the role was more of a PR thing, but he seemed to be a very nice guy who took the time to meet a lot of airport staff and pose for photos etc. IMHO, If he's got enough money for a 707 and the lessons to fly it (even if he usually has a crew), good luck to him. It's a greater personal achievement than a lot of Hollywood celebutards have managed.