Kimberly P. Yow

Kimberly P. Yow

Hi there! I'm Kimberly Yow, a passionate journalist with a deep love for alternative rock. Combining my two passions, I've found my dream job. Join me on this exciting journey as I explore the world of journalism and rock music.

John Travolta recalls near-death experience while piloting airplane: ‘I thought it was over’

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on google
Google+
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

John Travolta remembered a terrifying, midair ordeal while flying with his family over Thanksgiving break nearly 30 years ago.

During the London premiere for his latest film, “The Shepherd,” Travolta, who has a real-life pilot’s license, revealed his own scary experience while flying which mirrored a similar storyline to the movie.

In the flick based on the Frederick Forsyth 1975 novel of the same name, a young Royal Air Force pilot flying his de Havilland Vampire jet suffers total electrical failure and a mysterious pilot (Travolta) appears out of nowhere and guides the aircraft to safety.

‘GREASE’ CELEBRATES 45TH ANNIVERSARY: BEHIND-THE-SCENES SECRETS OF ICONIC MUSICAL

“I actually experienced a total electrical failure, not in a Vampire but in a corporate jet over Washington D.C.,” Travolta said during a panel discussion after the movie, according to Variety. “So when I read [Forsyth’s] book, it resonated even more because of this experience I had personally had.”

Travolta, an avid aviation enthusiast, was piloting a Gulfstream II from Florida to Maine for Thanksgiving in 1992 when his own plane began malfunctioning. 

“I knew what it felt like to absolutely think you’re going to die,” he said. “I had two good jet engines but I had no instruments, no electric, nothing. And I thought it was over.”

JOHN TRAVOLTA RECEIVES HIS 737 PILOT’S LICENSE: ‘VERY PROUD MOMENT’

He added, “And then as if by a miracle, we descended, as per the rules to a lower altitude. I saw that Washington D.C. monument and identified that Washington National Airport was right next to it and I made a landing just like [Freddie] does in the film.”

Travolta praised Ben Radcliffe, who was handpicked out of 150 actors by director Iain Softley, for “so beautifully” portraying Freddie’s horror as the gravity of his situation hits him. 

LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING? CLICK HERE FOR MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS

“He captured that despair when you think you’re actually going to die,” Travolta said. “And I had my family on board and I said ‘This is it, I can’t believe I’m gonna die in this plane.’”

His plane almost collided midair with a Boeing 747, which resulted in flights being briefly suspended across multiple airports in the area, a Washington Post report from the emergency incident on Nov. 24, 1992 revealed.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER

The “Saturday Night Fever” star has been a licensed pilot since he was 22-years-old and owns several planes, including a Boeing 707-138 that he keeps at his Florida home. 

Travolta has daughter Ella and son Ben with his late wife, Kelly Preston.

Preston died in 2020 following a two-year battle with breast cancer. She was 57.

The couple also shared son Jett, who died in 2009 after suffering a seizure. He was 16. In April 2022, Travolta honored Jett on the day that he would have celebrated his 30th birthday.

More to explorer