Original Qantas 707-138B’s reunited                                          

by Scott Goodwin
 
It was 40 years ago when the first and last Boeing 707-138B produced flew under the Qantas livery. History was recently repeated in December 2006 when the former VH-EBA and VH-EBM were both flown to Orlando for a Qantas 707 reunion. Both aircraft were painted in their original delivery liveries and marked the only occasion the two operational 707-138B’s would be together prior to the preservation of VH-EBA.
 
Qantas was the first and only Boeing customer for the 707-138. Most Boeing 707-100 series aircraft were ordered by Pan American and American Airlines. Qantas requested a 707 with an increased range over the standard 707-100 series aircraft and the 707-138 was created. In addition to the increased range, the 707-138 also includes a 10 foot reduction to the rear fuselage making it the shortest 707 produced. A few years after the early 707-138’s were introduced, engine and airframe modifications were completed to improve the aircrafts performance and the 707-138B became the new standard. Only 13 Boeing 707-138B’s were produced as advances in technology led to other variations of the aircraft. 
 
VH-EBA (c/n 17696) was the first Boeing jet aircraft sold outside of the United States when delivered to Qantas in 1959. The aircraft operated with Qantas for eight years and was sold to Pacific Western Airlines in 1967. In 1978, the aircraft was sold for a VIP conversion and in 1987 it operated for the Royal Saudi Air Force. In 2006, the aircraft was purchased by the Qantas Foundation Memorial for a static display at the Qantas Founders Outback Museum in Longreach Australia. The aircraft was temporarily registered as VH-XBA for the ferry operations since its original registration, VH-EBA, is currently in use for a Qantas Airbus 330. Ironically VH-EBA was also the registration for the first Boeing 747 delivered to Qantas in 1971.
 
VH-EBM (c/n 18740) was the last Boeing 707-138B produced and remains the only known 707-138B in active service. The aircraft was delivered to Qantas in 1964 and remained in service until it was sold to Braniff in 1969. In 1973, the aircraft was withdrawn from service and converted to a VIP configuration in 1975 and sold to its current owner in 1998. 
 
VH-EBM, now registered as N707JT, gains a lot of attention as it travels the world especially since its owner is a well known aviation enthusiast and “Ambassador at Large” for Qantas. John Travolta owns and pilots N707JT on average 200 hours a year. During his eight years of operating the aircraft, Travolta has accumulated 1600 hours on the 707-138B and has also completed 747-400 training with Qantas. Mr. Travolta also had the recent honor of becoming the only non-test pilot to sit in the left seat and pilot the Airbus 380.
 
The Boeing 707 began a new era in commercial aviation in the late 1950’s. Mr. Travolta said, “The 707 fly’s the seven seas.” With its extended range and speed, the 707 reduced travel times between London and Sydney from 48 hours to 27 hours, which is comparable to today’s trip of 23 hours. Travolta’s 707, with 29,000 airframe hours, contains most modern day luxuries and the latest technology allowing him to conduct business around the world for the foreseeable future.
 

Even though VH-EBA will be deactivated from flight status and preserved at the Qantas Founders Outback Museum in Longreach Australia, the aircraft will live on in its new role. Unfortunately a majority of older aircraft are destroyed after their useful life. VH-EBA is a rare exception preserving a significant accomplishment in commercial aviation.
 
John Travolta's 707 at Lanseria International Airport in South Africa
by Bernard Stander

I was very fortunate to be able to photograph John Travolta's 707 on Saturday 12 June 2010, at Lanseria International Airport, when he landed there to come and support the Socceroos from Australia in the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup.
 

I found some other interesting aircraft too - But I will not mention them.....
 

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