FlightAware Discussions

Part 91 private pilots wearing epaulettes .


The other George Harrison. You know - he goes by the name Ford. Sorry about that, chief.

Wikipedia articles
Harrison Ford: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Ford#Aviation
Travolta: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travolta#Personal_life

(I’d have posted the articles here but I don’t feel like going through all the stuff you have to do to copy-an-paste here when the article has non-ASCII characters. WHEN IS THIS FORUM GOING TO BE UPDATED TO A MORE MODERN ONE?)


I met John Travolta on the set of “Ladder 49” in Baltimore, MD. While we did not have an extensive conversation, I did come away with the impression that he is as down to earth as a star of his magnitude could be. He made sure that he thanked every firefighter there as extras, signed autographs, posed for pictures, etc. He also took time from getting his make-up touched up to sign an autograph for a small boy who lived on the street where we were working. Just my $0.02, but I was impressed by the man, not his celebrity.

As far as his ability as a pilot, I don’t have a clue.


Outside of Welcome Back Cotter, I can’t think of anything Travolta has done that I’m a fan of. I do respect his love for aviation though. Same goes for many well knowns.

One I can say I am a fan of both his work and his true passion for aviation is Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. Not only did his band bring me through my teenage years, but I find out later that he flies and now of course everyone knows the Aestrus Airlines connection where he recently upgraded to 757 captain. He also recently became director of marketing.

I think it’s great that people like Travolta (who have the money and passion to do it) restore and maintain historic aircraft, or Harrison Ford who is outspoken for GA, or Bruce Dickinson who just kills in everything he does…
These are people who do it because they love it and can serve as ambassadors for aviation.


I agree with ‘adequacy issues’. Maybe it helps him feel better when he goes downtown for lunch to be recognized as a pilot…or security guard. Many non-flying people cannot tell the difference anyway.


Ha! This guy sounds like a D-Bag… Not surprised though.


The most important question I would be asking is; What are his flight skills like? Costume aside, can he be a reliable back up if trouble develops?


I understand, I can’t even get accept seeing John Travolta in a uniform! Seems to me a uniform goes with a job.


Travolta wears the epaulets of captain in the pictures I’ve seen of him in and around his 707. However, don’t let him fool you. He only has no authority to fly the 707 as PIC. He only has a SIC rating.


Somewhat back on topic, wearing a full uniform overseas is normal. In most backwater, and some not so backwater, places it helps get things done around the airport. It really helps in places where most people are deadly afraid of a uniform, places where you might disappear…

And back off topic I too knew one of JT’s early pilots who also said he was a nice guy and a good pilot. This was in the days before he moved to Florida. The only time I met him was at the airport when they landed and he walked by a bunch of us, stopped to say hi and introduced us to Olivia Newton John. Most celebs would have walked by without a word. On the other hand he probably knew we were pilots by the way we were staring, not at him but at her. :smiling_imp:

John in Saudi


I actually LoL’d and then LoL’d some more on that one!


Here, HERE!


The GA Pilot wearing epaulettes to go get a $100 burger is just as odd to see as the C-172 (non- CAP/non-Test Pilot) guy I once saw wearing a nomex flight suit…complete with sewn-on (not velcro) patches…
This is why I personally prefer to wear my Starfleet uniform…I’m always taken far more seriously than those other two guys…


Dick Karl (Flying Magazine’s “Gear UP” columnist) writes about his experience as a newly minted Learjet FO, and remarked about the perks and respect he gets at FBOs and airline ticket counters, etc. when wearing the uniform. I might give it a whirl the next time I fly commercial.


The Regional Airlines and now the Low Cost Carriers figured out a long time ago that they could trap the same idiots with some cheap epaulettes and maybe a hat for $20.00 bucks an hour. This business is full of carnies and goof balls even at the highest level of play.
The kid in the uniform flying the 172 will be just fine in this flying circus.


Send him out for a gallon of propwash…


Or 100 feet of flightline.


Look. Here’s the deal with uniforms, and that’s what they are. Not costumes. Uniforms. No one is allowed to promote themselves in any real world organization like an airline or the military (example, when a guy gets his upgrade w/a part 121 or even 135 outfit, someone says, “Congrats you’ve been promoted.”) The guy doesn’t just wake up one morning and put on his rank by himself!
So, as nicely as possible, if your friend is still doing this (or anyone else you see doing this) explain to them this concept: those stripes are earned. One earns the right to wear them, they are not just purchased from Sporty’s and simply put on. By the time you earn the right to wear them, it will be that much sweeter, trust me!


We tried that with the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, but then it was declared unconstitutional in 2010 because you “have a free speech right to be a fraud”!


Not exactly, I’m pretty sure it has yet to be ruled on by the US Supreme Court. I believe it is on the calendar for the upcoming session…I have to admit I’m somewhat ambivalent on the sanity of the act…it’s nauseating that some sleazebags will invent stories to embellish their own standing but unless it’s done for monetary gain, I’m not real comfortable with essentially criminalizing it.

I suppose if I were on the Court, I’d vote for “maybe”…


Well Folks sometimes a pilot has no choice. I have known of a couple of owners of Lear business jets that makes it mandatory for his pilot and co-pilot to wear epaulettes . But he does give the pilots a uniform clothing allowance.