Elvis Presley’s private jet, a 1962 Lockheed 1329 JetStar, has seen much better days. After years of carrying the King around the country, it’s essentially been left to rust. But now there’s hope for the plane to get back out there in some form.
According to Simple Flying, the JetStar, a rare rear-engined quadjet, was the third plane in Presley’s fleet and he shared it with his father, Vernon Presley. The jet could carry two pilots, one flight attendant and eight to 10 passengers at a cruising speed of 438 knots, or about 500 miles per hour.
It recently sold at auction for $234,000 to YouTuber James Webb. He attempted to fire it up after it had sat unused in Roswell, New Mexico for the past nearly 40 years.
The instrument panel and overhead lights came on. Even the microwave started back up. But as Interesting Engineering points out, Webb’s dream of getting the King’s plane back in the air soon slammed up against the cold reality of ballooning costs.
While the interior of the jet looked a little dusty but largely intact, the exterior is showing serious signs of decay. Most importantly, the JetStar’s four Pratt & Whitney JT12 engines are long gone, taking air travel out of the equation. After factoring in the cost of replacing the engines, they determined it would take $5.7 million just to get the plane back into flying shape, significantly higher than the $4.4 million original purchase price.
Even if Webb had decided to shell out for all the necessary repairs, the JetStar would not comply with the FAA’s noise reduction regulations. And unfortunately there’s no hush kit available to help turn down the sound.
So, Webb decided the best thing to do with the private jet was to turn it into a private RV and take it on a nationwide tour. As it stands now, the JetStar has been stripped of its wings and placed in a small hangar where the work of turning it into a mobile attraction can continue.