That Bombardier’s new Challenger 350 has the seal of approval from its celebrity brand ambassador John Travolta is hardly surprising. What did grab people’s attention at EBACE today was that the movie star has been working as a flight test pilot supporting the airframer’s efforts to get the new super-midsized jet certified.
“I felt like an astronaut,” he told a packed Bombardier booth here in Geneva today. “We did full performance takeoffs and climbed straight to 41,000 feet. This aircraft is definitely going to break records. It’s like a homesick angel.” Watch Bombardier video of Travolta's flight.
Stressing that he hadn’t joined the other Bombardier flight test crew as a PR stunt, Travolta was soon expounding effusively about the attributes of the latest Challenger. “I didn’t think the stall was ever going to happen and when it did happen we recovered so smoothly,” he enthused. “The flight displays are just so clear and pilots love that. The situational awareness is superior to anything I’ve ever seen. It’s a really pilot-friendly airplane, and I want one.”
Travolta later told AIN that he frequently is asked for advice on private aviation by friends in Hollywood. He got actor Chris Meloni (erstwhile detective Elliot Stabler on NBC’s TV drama Law & Order) hooked on flying and has also guided Tom Hanks into finding the best options for private flying.