Retirement came this week for what is believed to be the last flying Lockheed JetStar. An unnamed Florida family, which has been using it for the last three decades, has donated the four-engined bizjet to the Marietta Aviation History and Technology Center. Built in 1966, this JetStar has just short of 11,000 hours’ total time and was once owned by the Saudi royal family.
According to a report in the Marietta Daily Journal, the JetStar’s pilot, John Poffenbarger, has been flying the aircraft for the last 21 years and more than 3,000 hours. “We were able to preserve a piece of art,” he said after the Lockheed’s likely last flight on Monday. “The pilots I’ve talked to over the years have always had one common comment about Lockheed, that it was always the best flying aircraft,” Poffenbarger said. “I’m kind of jaded because for 21 years I’ve been flying this and I’ve become accustomed to it. She’s a crotchety old lady, she’s 53 years old, but she flew up here today just fine. Our director of maintenance Eric Boyd is a genius.”
The JetStar will be dismantled and moved to the museum, to be seen again sometime this summer. “There is already a JetStar at the museum, but it’s a little older, it’s not operational and it’s not in as good of a condition as this one,” Mark Morgan, the Marietta museum director, told the Daily Journal. The display will allow visitors to sit in the cockpit and sample the eight-seat interior.
Originally flown with two Bristol Siddeley Orpheus engines in 1957, the JetStar was re-engined with four Pratt & Whitney JT12As for production. N313JS had been re-engined with the quieter, more fuel efficient Garrett TFE731.