The Private Airport Where John Travolta Has a Home Lists for $15.5 million

The exclusive Jumbolair fly-in community comes with a runway long enough to land a 747 jumbo.

By Howard Walker 03/09/2019

A fly-in Florida airpark that boasts the longest private runway in the US— and Saturday Night Fever star John Travolta as one of its homeowners— has just come on the market with a $15.5 million asking price. Jumbolair Aviation Estates, seven miles northeast of Ocala, includes a 2300-metre-long main runway that’s long enough to accommodate planes as big as a Boeing 747, or Travolta’s beloved 707 jetliner. The property, which covers over 220 hectares, also includes a separate 1097 metre-foot-long lighted grass runway, a 715-square-metre mansion once owned by horse breeder Muriel Vanderbilt, an 808-square-metre conference centre, and 17 unsold estate lots with runway access. Travolta, 65, and his wife Kelly Preston, bought one of the first Jumbolair lots back in 2001 and built a 613-square-metres home here. The appeal? He could park his iconic, Qantas-liveried 1964 Boeing 707-138B right outside his front door, along with his Bombardier Challenger 601 business jet. The actor recently donated the 707 to an Australian aircraft preservation group. “This is a place for someone with a passion for aviation. Just bring your Boeing,” says listing agent Bartow McDonald, of SVN Florida Commercial Real Estate Advisors. Back in the 1960s, the property was a vast 150-hectare horse ranch owned by Muriel Vanderbilt Adams, the socialite, horse-breeder and great-great-granddaughter of railroad and shipping magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt. One of the homes included in the sale. Photo: Courtesy Bartow McDonald SVN Florida In 1980, the inventor of Nautilus exercise equipment, Arthur Jones, bought up the Vanderbilt estate that included Vanderbilt’s 715-square-metre home, along with 142 surrounding hectares. The inventor and fitness guru proceeded to develop the site, building the paved runway for his fleet of charter Boeing 707s, adding an 8240-square-metre warehouse and manufacturing complex, a 400-seat banqueting hall, plus a refuge for African wildlife. At one time, orphaned elephants, crocodiles, rhinos and a 270-kilo gorilla called Mickey lived on the compound. The foyer of the Vanderbilt mansion. Photo: Courtesy Bartow McDonald SVN Florida When Jones and his wife Terri divorced in 1989, she developed the Jumbolair property as a fly-in community for aeroplane owners, attracting the attention of the Travoltas. Originally, the property was developed for 38 “aviation” homes. Around 21 lots have already sold with a further 17 two- to three-acre lots included in the Jumbolair sale. All have direct taxiway access to the runway. A private hangar for your jet. Photo: Courtesy Bartow McDonald SVN Florida The almost 2.4-kilometre-long main runway cost a reported $10 million to build, measures 64-metres wide and was supposedly designed to accommodate Arthur Jones’ dream plane, a 747 jumbo. “Jumbolair is the perfect property for anyone with a love of flying, who wants to further develop this exciting, vibrant community. It also makes a perfect point of departure for all kinds of private and business travel,” explained McDonald.
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