'The Lisa Marie': Elvis Presley's Convair 880 Jet Airplane
Source: Elvis Australia
February 21, 2008
Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis Articles, Elvis Biography, By David Troedson
On April 17, 1975 Elvis bought a Convair 880 Jet, recently taken out of service by Delta Airlines, for the then-substantial sum of $250,000. After refurbishing, the total exceeded $600,000.
He immediately rechristened it the Lisa Marie.
Earlier Elvis had paid a $75,000 deposit on a Boeing 707 but the deal fell through. The previous owner had been Robert Vesco, the fugitive financier who had fled to South America after allegedly embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from international investment firms. Buying his plane would involve some complicated wrangling with the IRS. And Elvis was warned about another complication: If the plane ever landed in any of the countries Vesco was establishing a base in, there was every reason to believe that he might try to seize it.
The Convair 880 had a clean record and would have no problem flying to any country around the globe.
So that's the plane Elvis purchased.
The plane was in a hangar at Meacham Field in Fort Worth, and for months Elvis took great pleasure in flying friends out to check on progress as the interior of the plane was refurbished to his very specific design requirements (he bought another plane to make those trips - a smaller Lockheed JetStar). Elvis wanted a seating area, a conference room, and a private bedroom on the plane (with space for an in-flight reading library). He picked fabrics, decided on color schemes, chose the on-board audio-visual system, and even Ok'd the gold fixtures in the bathrooms (he counted heavily on some aesthetic input from Priscilla, too).
Elvis was especially excited about the fact that the same design team had previously customized Air Force One. The craft slowly came together as an airworthy mix of modem function and Graceland elegance.
Close in size to a 707, the Lisa Marie was customized with plush sleeping quarters, a penthouse bedroom with a custom-made queen size bed, an executive bathroom with gold faucets and a gold washbasin, a videotape system linked to four TVs and a stereo system with fifty-two speakers, and a conference room finished in teak.
It could hold a maximum of 29 people, but usually there would be about eight or 10. When the final paint job was applied to the exterior, there was a prominent 'TCB' logo on the tail.
Elvis - Other Airplanes and the first flight of The Lisa Marie 1975
April 17, Elvis buys an ex Delta Airlines Convair 880 Jet for $250,000.
July, While on tour, Elvis decided to present the Colonel with his own airplane, a Grumman Gulfstream G-1, which he bought sight unseen. Elvis had it delivered to the Colonel in Vegas on July 26, but the Colonel didn't really take it the way that Elvis had hoped. 'You've got to be kidding', was his first response. And then he turned it down on the grounds that he didn't need a plane and couldn't afford one.
August 3, Elvis leases a Fairchild F-27 aircraft at $13,000 a month.
When the dog is too ill to travel on to the West Boylston veterinary hospital where it is scheduled to be treated, the whole party remains at the Ritz for two days before continuing.
August 15, Elvis cancels the lease on the Fairchild F-27 and buys an Aero Jet Commander for $508,000.
August 27, Elvis enters into an agreement with Omni Aircraft Sales, who will sell the Gulfstream G-1 and Jet Commander that he purchased two weeks earlier.
September 2, Elvis buys a Lockheed JetStar aircraft for $899,702.60
October 8, Milo High, Elvis' personal pilot takes Elvis and five others on a brief one-hour flight in Elvis newly purchased Lockheed JetStar aircraft.
October 9, Milo High flies Elvis and eight others to Dallas and back.
October 21, Milo High flies Elvis' aunt, Delta Biggs, and Mike McGregor to Boston to pick up Elvis' chow, Getlow.
Getlow has been recuperating at the New England Institute for Comparative Medicine veterinary hospital in West Boylston for almost three months.
November 10, The Lisa Marie is delivered to Memphis late in the evening, joining the JetStar and a 1966 Dessault-Falcon, which Elvis has bought for an investment.
Above, The Lisa Marie, the newest craft in Elvis Presley's small air fleet, at Memphis International Airport on November 12, 1975, getting final touches before being put to use. Beside it is the JetStar. (Larger image)
November 27, Ron Strauss takes Elvis on his first real flight in The Lisa Marie, traveling Las Vegas.
December 25, In the evening Elvis takes everyone up in The Lisa Marie.
July 13, 1976 - Elvis trades the Dessault-Falcon airplane, which he purchased in late 1975 as an investnent, for a second Lockheed JetStar. The first JetStar aircraft will become the center of a long, drawn-out FBI investigation into what appears to be a sophisticated swindle perpetrated on Elvis and Vernon involving the leasing and refurbishing of the aircraft. The case is not concluded until after Elvis' death.
June 29, 1976 - Elvis and Linda Thompson havs just arrived in Richmond, Vz - From the book Elvis The Concert Years
Elwood David was the Captain and pilot of The Lisa Marie. Accompanying him in the cockpit was another pilot, Ron Strauss, and a flight engineer, Jim Manny. Milo High was the pilot of Elvis' 'Hound Dog II' JetStar plane.
After Elvis' death, Captain Elwood David flew to California to pick up Elvis' ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, Lisa Marie and the actor George Hamilton, a long-time friend of Elvis. He flew them back to California after the funeral, and, in what would be his last flight on the Lisa Marie, returned the plane to Memphis.
Elvis' father, Vernon, sold the plane in 1978 and it changed hands a couple of times. When Graceland opened up to the public in 1982, EPE worked with the owners to try and bring the plane home to Memphis. In 1984, the Lisa Marie was returned to Graceland. It has remained as one of the most popular attractions ever since.
View larger photos of the Lisa Marie (Large 400K File size)
The Lisa Marie at Memphis International Airport on November 12, 1975
Lisa Marie at the controls of Elvis Presley' Lisa Marie Jet
Elvis Presley's JetStar Airplane
Elvis Boarding and taking off in The Lisa Marie 1976-1977
Original Newspaper Articles from 1975
The Convair 880 was a jet airliner produced by the Convair division of General Dynamics. It was designed to compete with the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8 by being smaller, faster and safer, a niche that failed to create demand. Only 65 880s were produced over the lifetime of the production run from 1959 to 1962, and General Dynamics eventually withdrew from the airliner market after considering the 880 project a failure. Only 9 of these aircraft are left in the world, none of them is airworthy and only one is preserved properly, Elvis Presley's Lisa Marie.
The Lisa Marie
Crew: Required a crew of four (Elvis always used the same crew).
Seating capacity: 28 (after he customized the plane)
Tower call name: '880 Echo Pappa'
Nickname: "Hound Dog One"
Elvis called the plane: 'The Pride of Elvis Presley Airways' and his 'Flying Graceland'.
Range: 3,000 miles
Horsepower: 44,800 lbs. thrust
Engines: Four General Electric CJ-805-3 Pod Mount Jets
Length: 129' 4"
Tail height from ground: 36' 3"
Weight: 87,000 lbs.
Maximum weight: 184,000 lbs.
Cruising speed: 615 M.P.H.
Maximum altitude: 41,000 feet
Fuel capacity: 10,770 gallons
Fuel consumption: 1,700 gallons per hour; -- take off: 2,200 gallons
Operating cost for 1976: $404,000
Maiden flight: January 27, 1959
Number of aircrafts built: 65
The JetStar originated as a private project within Lockheed, with an eye to winning a USAF requirement that was later dropped due to budget cuts. Lockheed decided to continue the project on their own for the business market. Noise regulations in the United States and high fuel consumption led to the development of the 731 JetStar, a modification program which added new Garrett AiResearch TFE731 turbofan engines and redesigned external fuel tanks to original JetStars. The 731 JetStar modification program was so successful that Lockheed produced 40 new JetStars, designated the JetStar II, from 1976 through 1979. The JetStar IIs were factory new aircraft with the turbofan engines and revised external fuel tanks. Both 731 JetStars and JetStar IIs have greatly increased range, reduced noise, and better runway performance compared to the original JetStars.
JetStar production totaled 204 aircraft by final delivery in 1978. Most original JetStars have been retired, but many 731 JetStars and JetStar IIs are still flying in various roles. A JetStar that was owned by Elvis Presley in his later years, named Hound Dog II, is on display at Graceland.
Maiden flight: 4 September 1957
Produced: 1957 - 1978
Number of aircrafts built: 204
Both jets were sold by the family after the death of Elvis, but later they were bought back and parked in Graceland, Memphis Tennessee.
Lisa Marie Presley
You Are Not Alone : Michael Jackson with Lisa Marie Presley : 1995
Lisa Marie's singing, writing pretty good : February 8, 2003
Nicolas Cage talks about Lisa Marie Presley : 2003
Lisa Presley : The Rolling Stone Interview : April 20, 2003
Complete Lisa Marie Presley Playboy Interview : July 30, 2003
Interview with Lisa Presley : Enough Rope : March 15, 2004
Lisa Marie Presley Photos (2004)
Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley duet of In The Ghetto : 2007
Interview with Lisa Marie Presley : August 17, 2007
Father and Daughter Together Again : August 17, 2007
Lisa Marie Presley and Riley Keough on Oprah : September 12, 2007
Interview with Lisa Marie Presley (And Michael Lockwood) : January 27, 2009
The Presley Women : Priscilla & Lisa Marie Presley's First Mother/Daughter Interview : May 17, 2009
Interview with Lisa Marie Presley (And Michael Lockwood) : 2009
Aerial photo, Lisa Marie's Country Mansion in England : January 2011
Elvis Through His Daughter's Eyes : By Lisa Marie Presley : 2012
ABC TV Interview with Lisa Marie Presley : Feb 2012
Rolling Stone Interview with Lisa Marie Presley : March 2012
Interview with Lisa Marie Presley : Storm & Grace : Her Twins, Rily Keough, England : May 2012
Listen to New Track Released from Lisa Marie's Album : Over Me
Lisa Marie Presley : Performs 'You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet' on American Idol : May 17, 2012
Lisa Marie Presley Performs 'Over Me' on Jimmy Kimmel Live : May 22, 2012
Lisa Marie Presley Interview : The Morning Show Australia : August 15, 2012
Lisa Marie and Priscilla Share Memories of Elvis on TODAY Show : August 16, 2012
I Love You Because : Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Duet at the 35th Anniversary Concert
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Elvis Presleys Grandchildren
Danielle Riley Keough : (born May 29, 1989) and is known as Riley Keough for her modeling work.
Riley is the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and musician Danny Keough.
Celebs : The Next Generation : November 10, 2004
Elvis lives on ... in the form of his grandaughter : Riley Keough : June 23, 2008
Beautiful Photos of Riley Keough, Elvis' Granddaughter in Elle Italia : May 17, 2011
Lisa Marie Presley gave birth to twin girls on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2009. The baby girls were named Harper Vivienne Ann Lockwood & Finley Aaron Love Lockwood and were delivered by Caesarean section 2:46 p.m. They weighed in at 5 lbs., 15 oz. and 5 lbs., 2 oz. The girls are the first children together for Lisa Marie and husband Michael Lockwood, a musician (Married in Japan January 2006). Lisa Marie, who proudly displayed her baby bump in the September issue of Marie Claire, has a daughter Riley Keough, 19, a model, and Benjamin, 15, with ex-husband Danny Keough. The names acknowledge Elvis (Aaron), Gladys (Love) and Priscilla (Ann).
Photos of Lisa Marie's Twin Girls : Finley & Harper : January 23, 2009
Lisa Marie Presley takes her little princess for a spin around Hawaii : February 22, 2011
Benjamin Keough : Lisa's Son : Elvis Presleys Grandson
Navarone Garibaldi : Priscilla Presley's Son
More about Priscilla Presley
My Life With and Without Elvis Presley : For the First Time ... Priscilla Tells All : August 1973
Elvis looked even better in person, Priscilla says : January 20, 2004
President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Visit Graceland : July 1, 2006
Video Interviews with Priscilla Presley
Interview with Priscilla Presley : 1978 (05:54)
Priscilla Presley on Good Morning America : 1979 (07:57)
Interview with Priscilla Presley : 1980
Priscilla Presley on 'First Person' : 1991 (09:25)
Priscilla Presley talks to Larry King on CNN : Priscilla looks back : August 16, 2007 (10:25)
Priscilla Presley gives Larry King a tour of Graceland : August 16, 200 (04:32)
Interview with Priscilla Presley : December 15, 2009 (04:31)
Vernon & Gladys Presley
Presley Family History
Elvis Presleys Grandfather
Elvis Presley : Interviews and Press Conferences with Elvis Presley
Interview With Elvis Presley : August 28, 1956
Interview with Elvis Presley : October 28, 1957, Los Angeles
Interview with Elvis Presley : Press Conference Canada 1957
Interview with Elvis Presley : July 31, 1969 By Ray Connelly
Interview with Elvis Presley : The 1969 Press Conference : August 1, 1969
Interview with Elvis Presley : The February 1970 Houston Astrodome Press Conference
Interview with Elvis Presley : The 1972 Madison Square Press Conference : June 9, 1972
Rare Elvis Presley : 1973 Aloha Interview
The Memphis Mafia
Colonel Tom Parker
For more information on Elvis and Priscilla buy the Elvis By The Presleys DVD -- at over 4 hours this double DVD set will tell you everything you want to know and more plus includes lots of home movies of Elvis, Priscilla and Lisa Marie. A must for every fan! -- Also there is Priscilla's book -- Elvis & Me.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.