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John Travolta's custom built home with runway
September 11, 2008 10:56 AM   Subscribe

"I moved here, primarily, to have the bigger, stronger, runway," Travolta explains, "then built a taxiway to the house that would endure the weight of the 707."
posted by Brandon Blatcher (85 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by GuyZero at 11:00 AM on September 11, 2008


All that hassle, just to house his drum machine? Man, he should have bought an 808 instead. That would have fit in the spare room.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:00 AM on September 11, 2008 [8 favorites]


There's something about Travolta's face that makes him looked Photoshopped into the picture, even when (I can only presume) he wasn't.
posted by rokusan at 11:04 AM on September 11, 2008


Tangentially related.

(Very tangentially.)
posted by dersins at 11:05 AM on September 11, 2008


Is he also a Scientologist?
posted by fixedgear at 11:05 AM on September 11, 2008


Pilots are hott.

Unless they're John Fucking Travolta. *squick*
posted by heyho at 11:06 AM on September 11, 2008


It's got to be kind of fun to be that rich and completely insane.
posted by The Straightener at 11:10 AM on September 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: The best of [b]4-year old[/b] scanned magazines.
posted by Perplexity at 11:23 AM on September 11, 2008


"I moved here, primarily, to have the bigger, stronger, runway ... then built a taxiway to the house that would endure the weight of the 707 ... so that when Lord Xenu arrives, I'll be ready."

"What did you say? I didn't catch that last part."

"Nevermind. Here, let me show you the pool ..."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:25 AM on September 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


Mmm... phpBB.
posted by GuyZero at 11:25 AM on September 11, 2008


It seemed like a reasonable thing to do if you're insanely rich. "I love airplanes, I've got the money, so what the hell, I'm gonna build me a house and make it my own damn airport."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:32 AM on September 11, 2008


Since that article was written 4 years ago, he has added another jet -- a possibly soon-to-be-orphaned Eclipse 500.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 11:34 AM on September 11, 2008


Well, Xenu has to land somewhere...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:34 AM on September 11, 2008


That'll make it awfully hard to sneak back home late at night after some adultery!
posted by not_on_display at 11:38 AM on September 11, 2008


she should have used some of that money to buy some not ugly pants.
posted by domino at 11:41 AM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Tangentially related.
(Very tangentially.)


It's the same runway, isn't it? Seems rather directly related.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:43 AM on September 11, 2008


Needs a penis slide.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 11:45 AM on September 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


Gah! I've seen more tasteful lobbies in casinos.
posted by Relay at 12:03 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


In 10 years, hopefully this scale of recreational petroleum use will be morally repugnant enough that our celebrities won't be bragging about it to the media, if they still do it at all.
posted by gurple at 12:05 PM on September 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


Always liked John Travolta, a warmly masculine twinkliness, in spite of his being a cult devotee and there being more of him to hold onto these days.

His 1950's airport lounge-motel, room-by-the-airport decor feels strange and somewhat disturbing to me. Alien. As does his pretty wife's bizarre, headache-inducing choice of clashing fabric patterns. yikes.

His place reminds me of the crazy runway situation on a number of Caribbean islands. Too close for comfort.

Do like the Songye Kifwebe mask by the phone in his office. And it's a fun idea to have a plane near at hand. Has to be a strange view. An aerial view of his house. That really does look like it's an airport more than home.
posted by nickyskye at 12:21 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


No, no, no. It's supposed to be a Douglas DC-8!
posted by oncogenesis at 12:22 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


He then sued the homeowner's association where he bought that place. Apparently his 707 was tearing up the runway so they wanted to change to rules so that planes that heavy couldn't use it (or maybe his Cessna-owning neighors were just jealous). Here's the only link I could find in a quick search.
posted by exogenous at 12:23 PM on September 11, 2008


In 10 years, hopefully this scale of recreational petroleum use will be morally repugnant enough that our celebrities won't be bragging about it to the media, if they still do it at all.

In 10 years, I hope that I will be in a financial position where I can do the sorts of projects that will outrage and offend self-righteous MeFites.

I'm heading down right now to buy a Mega Millions ticket.

Wish me luck.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:26 PM on September 11, 2008 [8 favorites]


Holy Crap. I've been to JumboLair, and you, Johnny Travolta are no Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus.

I call Shenannigans!

Oh yeah, Arthur was the one who built the runway to accomodate a 747, so he could fly in elephants.
posted by filmgeek at 12:27 PM on September 11, 2008


An aerial view of his house.

"Look, I love you guys, but when you come over, could not block my &%@ airplane in?!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:33 PM on September 11, 2008


Needs more Captain and Tenille.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:35 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I useta not hate John Travolta but I can't do that anymores. I am through with not hating this guy.
posted by Mister_A at 12:40 PM on September 11, 2008


The little control tower is adorable!
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:45 PM on September 11, 2008


Eh... If I had the cash (and liked planes that much), I'd probably do that too.

It's hard to muster any moral outrage about him owning and using the jets, without also condemning every exec who uses private planes to travel.

I doubt if he does much joyriding in the 707; he's probably always travelling with an entourage, like any overpaid actor or exec.
posted by Artful Codger at 12:56 PM on September 11, 2008


That is completely insane.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:00 PM on September 11, 2008


I hate to be the one to bring it up, but you forgot the batshitinsane tag.
posted by nax at 1:14 PM on September 11, 2008


So those articles about the future in Popular Mechanics in the 1950s were right after all -- just not for most of us.
posted by Swany at 1:19 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Complete Shithead
posted by Cosine at 1:24 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


There is no point to owning a plane that size that does not also come with cruise missiles, radar guided mini-guns, and some sort of escape pod.
posted by tkchrist at 1:26 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's hard to muster any moral outrage about him owning and using the jets, without also condemning every exec who uses private planes to travel.

There's something that feels slightly more....benevolent in his case, though, for lack of a better word. Because the execs who use the private planes to travel just ride in them -- while Travolta actually flies his. For some reason, at least for me, that pushes it from pretentiousness into eccentricity. You know -- it's the difference between "I need the personal plane so I can get to Milan whenever I want" and "wheeeeeee!!!! I'm gonna make the plane go vroooooooom!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:46 PM on September 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


I've always loved buses and I'd like a home that looks like a bus terminal.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:58 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


No one believes that's your real hair John. Give it up already.
posted by Stynxno at 2:02 PM on September 11, 2008


I knew Travolta was big on aviation, but I had no idea he was qualified to fly a 747. That's actually pretty cool, even if the wretched excess of flying to and from the set every day is a bit ridiculous.
posted by Clamwacker at 2:05 PM on September 11, 2008


Let him have some fun. After all he is going to be working for Scientology for the next 10 000 years. He will be around to reap what he sows.
posted by srboisvert at 2:07 PM on September 11, 2008


You know -- it's the difference between "I need the personal plane so I can get to Milan whenever I want" and "wheeeeeee!!!! I'm gonna make the plane go vroooooooom!"

Exactly. If you read the article, there's cute story about Travelota making round trips to a movie set each day with the plane and in the evening, the wife and kids would take the golf carts out, watch him land, then go pick him up and bring'em in.

There's also a jolting story about the kids flying on a commercial jet for the first time and wanting to know what tickets are and who all those other people on the jet were. Talk about growing up different.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:12 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can only imagine how incredibly, enormously, stupidly expensive it must be to own and operate your own home jetport. I mean, it's not just the jet you have to worry about, it's the control tower and the maintenance people and the FAA inspections and all the rest. Even as expensive as having always on-call access to a private jet is, there are still economies of scale that make the endeavor somewhat more efficient. The landing fees of you and all your buddies helps pay the ATCs' salaries and to keep the tarmac fresh, for example.

And that's not to mention that even the super-wealthy hardly ever use outsized planes to get to where they need to go. The people who fly Boeings on pleasure jaunts, like Saudis and the Gulfies, are usually able to afford it because they own the gas and everything else. But Terl of the Psychlos? Holy crap.

I'd love to hear an estimate from someone more knowledgeable than me of what it might reasonably cost to have constant access to two (or three) jets on your doorstep.
posted by awenner at 2:18 PM on September 11, 2008


And who the fuck wants to live in an airport? batshitinsane indeed.
posted by awenner at 2:18 PM on September 11, 2008


Well, there are certainly worse things that Travolta could be doing. I mean, he could be living in a sham marriage while lending every last shred of credibility that he has to a pseudoreligion because it claims to be able to cure homosexuality. Whew! Glad he dodged that bullet!
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:31 PM on September 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


Wow. This is bizarre and horrifically wasteful of him (talk about increasing your carbon footprint), but that dining room mural is fantastic.
posted by mewithoutyou at 3:01 PM on September 11, 2008


I've always loved buses and I'd like a home that looks like a bus terminal.


I can piss myself and come sleep in your doorway if you want. I'm cheaper than an air traffic controller...
posted by i_cola at 3:11 PM on September 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I mean, it's not just the jet you have to worry about, it's the control tower and the maintenance people and the FAA inspections and all the rest.

I can't speak about the maintenance and FAA costs ... but depending on the nature of the personal airstrip he uses, he may not need control services at all. He could just take-off and land via visual flight rules (VFR) until he reaches a controlled airspace, whereupon he flies just like everyone else does, and at zero cost. He may incur landing and take-off costs at his destinations, of course.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:21 PM on September 11, 2008


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:33 PM on September 11, 2008


Wow! John Travolta's house has 6500 garages attached. Imagine the possibilities.....
posted by mannequito at 3:35 PM on September 11, 2008


I've always loved buses and I'd like a home that looks like a bus terminal.

I love bikes, so I got me a basement that looks like a bike shop. Nothin' to it.
posted by fixedgear at 3:38 PM on September 11, 2008


Geez! I had to read all the way to the end of the article to learn that he actually named his kid "Jett".
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:51 PM on September 11, 2008


Yuck. The sheer wastefulness of it. Even the vile corporate jet concept at least has the "we're making money out of this trip" idea behind it. Mr. Travolta is not well-known for his charitable works either.

I had not realized the man was mad. But what sane person would do that?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:31 PM on September 11, 2008


Wait, I want to hear about Mr. Kenneth in his Hudson Valley retreat. Can we do that instead?
posted by Countess Elena at 4:31 PM on September 11, 2008


I imagine he could rent out the 707. Googling "rent travolta 707," I found this other batch of photos, which shows some of the interior of the plan.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:35 PM on September 11, 2008


I've always loved buses and I'd like a home that looks like a bus terminal.

I love bikes, so I got me a basement that looks like a bike shop. Nothin' to it.


Yo dawg I heard you like cars so I put a car in your car so you can drive while you drive.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:38 PM on September 11, 2008


Joe Wilson might be a refreshing change from the vile and venal subject of the article. The Wiki-stub there doesn't do him justice... he worked for decades to invent dry xerography, and when it finally took off, he and his wife didn't change their lifestyle significantly - instead, they systematically and secretly gave away almost all their money to good causes.

The Wikipedia article doesn't mention that Wilson was a Buddhist, that most austere of religions (if it even is a religion). Note that Travolta is a pillar of Scientology where money is actually one of their sacraments.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:44 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I like to get holier-than-thou about people richer than me, too, but ... damn. I suddenly like Travolta a lot more. Talk about living your dream. This is cool.
posted by Michael Roberts at 5:12 PM on September 11, 2008


This is cool.

What, pissing away resources, spewing your waste all over the earth, simply to show what a big man you are? Supporting a greedy, materialistic religion while contributing nothing else to the world except an increasingly awful body of acting work?

You know, I really didn't used to like Bill Gates. But what he's doing for preventable diseases in Africa, I really don't care that M$ makes bad products that have cost me a lot of time in the past. What has Travolta done for the world?

Cool means you don't need to show off.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:13 PM on September 11, 2008


Cool means you don't need to show off.

Just like Lance. All you need to do is show up and ride all those motherfuckers right off your wheel.
posted by fixedgear at 6:36 PM on September 11, 2008


> What, pissing away resources, spewing your waste all over the earth, simply to show what a big man you are?

Again, jesus fuck, how is he different from any other rich prick going to and fro in private jets? Are actors less worthy of ostentation than being a captain of industry?

You already know that any A-list actor is being jetted back and forth to whatever location they're at. How's it different that he likes to do the piloting?

But that Scientology thing... whew, that's just whack.
posted by Artful Codger at 7:21 PM on September 11, 2008


Something something rocketships that look like DC-8s.
posted by chimaera at 7:33 PM on September 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's easy to get caught up in the Scientology crap, but really, it's just a neat house and idea. Is it wasteful and self indulgent? Absolutely. But it's definitely amazing to have a several planes parted in your driveway, just a short distance from your runway.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:35 PM on September 11, 2008


But it's definitely amazing to have a several planes parted in your driveway, just a short distance from your runway.

It's not that amazing. I used to have a house in Vice City that had a sea copter parked out back. It was handy.

Also had an apartment in San Andreas with a helicopter on top of the building.

Helicopters are fun.
posted by graventy at 8:18 PM on September 11, 2008


Again, jesus fuck, how is he different from any other rich prick going to and fro in private jets?

They suck too!

But he does take it to extremes: according to the article, he commuted daily to work with it. That's pretty damn pathological.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:50 PM on September 11, 2008


Dunno if the scan mentions the town by name, but Travolta lives in Ocala, FL. I grew up there, and have been to at least two of the "airplane owner subdivisions". They are pretty wild. Normal houses with these giant garages and really wide streets.
posted by ejoey at 10:00 PM on September 11, 2008


But he does take it to extremes: according to the article, he commuted daily to work with it. That's pretty damn pathological.

I look at it like this... if I had a Lamborghini and enough money that it wasn't completely ridiculous to own it (i.e., I have multiple Lamborghinis), then I would drive a Lamborghini every single day. Even if I'm just headed down to the convenience store? Lamborghini.

He's just scaled it up from that scenario because he can. If I had that much money I'd be doing something very similar, although with Learjets and Beechcrafts.
posted by Clamwacker at 11:14 PM on September 11, 2008


There is no point to owning a plane that size that does not also come with cruise missiles, radar guided mini-guns, and some sort of escape pod.

How do you know it doesn't?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:59 PM on September 11, 2008


Oh yeah, Arthur was the one who built the runway to accomodate a 747, so he could fly in elephants.

Don't be silly. Elephants can't fly!

(unless they're JUMBO jets, of course. /rimshot. I'll be here all week - eat your fracking veal already)
posted by Sparx at 3:44 AM on September 12, 2008


"Now give me the chokehold pose"

*click*
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:53 AM on September 12, 2008


But he does take it to extremes: according to the article, he commuted daily to work with it. That's pretty damn pathological.

I look at it like this... if I had a Lamborghini and enough money that it wasn't completely ridiculous to own it (i.e., I have multiple Lamborghinis), then I would drive a Lamborghini every single day. Even if I'm just headed down to the convenience store? Lamborghini.


Yeah, think of this like the magic/technology rule. Any sufficiently advanced technology makes you indistinguishable from a teen with a new driver's license. Remember what that was like?

"Anybody want anything? I can take a trip to the store. Somebody need a ride somewhere?"

Man, every errand was a pleasure, as was just cruising around without another purpose. If you're that into planes, I don't see flying one every day as pathological. It's living the dream. Is it wasteful, anti-environment, etc, etc? Of course. But pathological? No.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:51 AM on September 12, 2008


Anyone fretting over the environmental impact of a celebrity taking huge freaking jet everywhere should take comfort, possibly glee, in this recent FPP. Vinnie Barbarino there probably isn't taking to the air daily anymore.
posted by cirocco at 8:05 AM on September 12, 2008


Anyone genuinely fretting over the environmental impact of ONE celebrity taking huge freaking jet everywhere is wasting time better spent on fretting about how to get more people onto public transit for urban trips, how to force through some fuel economy regulations for autos, how to really kickstart the use of energy alternatives, how to update the efficiency of apartment buildings and office towers, how to get rail travel back into the picture....
posted by Artful Codger at 8:28 AM on September 12, 2008


I don't think anyone is fretting, just pointing out the hubris and waste involved in the lifestyle that Travolta chooses.

Concern about environmental impact is not a zero sum game, as they say on Metafilter.
posted by asok at 9:35 AM on September 12, 2008


Okay, replace "fretting over" with "who disapproves of." I'm pretty sure you can disapprove of John Travolta and work for mass-transit improvements simultaneously... in fact, I'm doing both at the same time myself right now, and I don't feel overtaxed! I just thought it was an interesting confluence of private celebrity jet FPPs. Given that the article is several years old, I can't help but wonder whether Travolta is flying commercial next to Puff Daddy these days.
posted by cirocco at 9:58 AM on September 12, 2008


Travolta is flying commercial

But that would go against everything Travolta stands for! Or something.

Well cirocco, it seems we will just have to agree to agree on this one.
posted by asok at 11:44 AM on September 12, 2008


One thing I've always wondered about this Airport In His Backyard business: Does/did John Travolta really make that much money? He wasn't in more than a shop teacher's handful of blockbusters, was he?
posted by Sys Rq at 2:38 PM on September 12, 2008


does he have to dress like a commercial pilot in order to pilot his vehicle? or is that just part of the kink? also, is there any 'tology significance to the insignias on his get-up?
posted by askmehow at 3:31 PM on September 12, 2008


askmehow: Compare.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:38 PM on September 12, 2008


One thing I've always wondered about this Airport In His Backyard business: Does/did John Travolta really make that much money?

He lives in a subdivision, so the cost of the runway is presumably split among the other folks in the neighborhood at least. Maybe he has some MLM scientology revenues to supplement his acting gigs too.
posted by ejoey at 6:15 PM on September 12, 2008


Seems significantly over the limits of decent behaviour to do something so environmentally destructive for one person. It's like having a Bob the Builder lifestyle fetish and driving the Caterpiller from home to work. Or Ahab fantasy and slaughtering all the whales.

I get it: he's richer than God and hugely successful as earning actor and professional-quality pilot. I get that this makes it plausible for him to fly to work. Regardless the cost-versus-benefit analysis of living a bajillion miles from work, at the least he could be flying a sportier, more fuel-efficient vehicle, not a vehicle meant so ship dozens of people.

He wants the 707 experience, then he'd best take up part time commercial piloting. There's nothing shameful about turnin your passion into your semi-retired profession.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:56 PM on September 12, 2008


five fresh fish, you're making a whack of crazy assumptions. Like that it's just him in his 707, and he's using it to go to the Piggly-Wiggly whenever they run out of hamburger buns. Can anyone speak with authority (e.g. a better source than People or Us magazines) to what trips Travolta actually takes with his planes? For bonus points show how it's markedly more wasteful than any other A-list actor, who you know is also being flown to and from locations, and not on JetBlue either.

Also, beating on poor Bob the Builder. Even Bob knows that it's impractical, hard on the equipment, and waay slow to drive the D-7 home. Like every contractor, Bob drives an immaculate late model diesel 3/4 ton quad cab with duallies. It's about as impractical as a 707 too, but who cares, it's a writeoff.

Wanna bet that Travolta's 707 is a writeoff?

Look I just fail to see why JT's owning and using his jets is any more wasteful or worthy of hating than any other owner or user of private jets, of which there are thousands, maybe tens of thousands.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:00 AM on September 13, 2008


Artful Codger, the Architectural Digest article under discussion here quotes Travolta's wife Kelly Preston as saying that when Travolta was shooting a movie in Tampa, he commuted to work in the 707 every day. Commuted, every day, in a huge passenger jet with multiple bedrooms and three dining areas. Commuted! Every day! Did you miss that? It's not buried in the article; it's in the first paragraph.
posted by cirocco at 12:05 PM on September 13, 2008


Well, when I learned to read, I was taught to read what was there and refrain from embellishment.

For example, there's nothing in that first paragraph that even implies that he flew the 707 every day. Didja notice the Gulfstream II jet? It's not buried in the article, it's a frickin' picture, and described in a higlight at the end of the article. Did you guys make it that far before the righteous indignation boiled over?
posted by Artful Codger at 12:31 PM on September 13, 2008


It's funny to see people like gurple acknowledge the vermin devouring all the grain in the larder, and then see people like jason's_planet commend them for it and aspire to their position.
posted by tehloki at 2:50 AM on September 14, 2008


My mistake, Codger, I'm sorry. Travolta could well have been commuting in the Gulfstream II... which is still a twenty-ton jet, unloaded. No one should be commuting daily in a twenty-ton jet, not when there's a freakin' war on that is largely driven by the dilemma of diminishing fossil fuels, and the freakin' sea levels are rising because human beings have burned so much of said fossil fuels. Getting one human being to a movie set (especially when the movie is likely not even good, what with this guy "acting" in it) is just not worth that kind of carbon output. Think globally, act non-Travoltaly.

I'm not budging from my "massively irresponsible" position, but in the future I'll be more respectful to my elders.
posted by cirocco at 5:49 PM on September 14, 2008


> No one should be commuting daily in a twenty-ton jet.

Well, fine. I could even agree. Except that now the circle of hate must be widened to include the thousands of others (celebrities, pro athletes, execs, diplomats) who also use private jets. Air Force One?

Let's leave it here. I know it's big fun to have a group slag on [insert your least fave celebrity here], but hopefully we can do it without making stuff up, conflation, or picking on something that thousands of other people also happen to do.

...Who you callin' old?!?
</Get offa my lawn!>
posted by Artful Codger at 10:33 AM on September 16, 2008


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