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27 November 2023, 14:37
The Pulp Fiction star's plane experienced 'a total electrical failure.'
John Travolta has revealed he had a near-death experience while flying a plane in 1992.
The 69-year-old actor told the extraordinary story during a Q&A session after the premiere of his new movie, The Shepherd, in London.
While journeying with his family from Florida to Maine, the 69-year-old actor shared that he discovered firsthand 'what it felt like to absolutely think you're going to die.'
"I had two good jet engines, but I had no instruments, no electric, nothing. And I thought it was over," the actor said, according to Variety.
Travolta went on to explain that as he feared the incident was going to end in tragedy, something miraculous happened.
"And then as if by a miracle, we descended as per the rules to lower altitude, he said.
"I saw the Washington D.C. monument and identified that Washington National Airport was next to it and I made a landing just like [Freddie] does in the film," Travolta explained.
This gripping ordeal served as the catalyst for his decision to transform Frederick Forsyth's 1975 novel, sharing the same title, into a film.
The Shepherd narrates the journey of Freddie Hooke (portrayed by Ben Radcliffe), a young Royal Air Force pilot making his way home for Christmas across the North Sea.
According to a review by Variety, the film sees the young pilot come into difficulty.
"Shortly into the journey, his de Havilland Vampire jet suffers total electrical failure, leaving Freddie facing almost certain death" until a "mysterious pilot (played by Travolta) appears in the sky, ready to guide the young man to safety."
"When I read [Forsyth’s] book, it resonated even more because of this experience I had personally had," Travolta explained.
John Travolta's near miss was covered by an article in The Washington Post on November 24, 1992, saying that the actor's landing blew out 'the jet’s tires in the process' of reaching the runway.
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The article also claimed the star's plane nearly collided with a Boeing 747, and resulted in 'flights being 'briefly suspended at four airports.'
With a flying career spanning four decades, John Travolta boasts a fleet of at least seven planes, including a Boeing 707, Bombardier Challenger 601, Boeing 727, and three Gulfstream jets.
Serving as an ambassador for the Australian aircraft company Qantas since 2002, the New Jersey native initiated his aviation journey by taking flying lessons at the age of 15, and obtaining his pilot's license at the age of 22.