Elvis Presley’s personal narrow-body airliner

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It’s no secret that Elvis Presley had a thing for private jets. Following the release of the rock ‘n’ roll icon’s biopic, we thought we’d take a look at one of the most familiar aircraft in its fleet – the Lisa Marie.

A complete overhaul

The Lisa Marie is a former Delta Air Lines Convair 880, with the Atlanta-based carrier taking over the unit in October 1960. The plane was delivered to Elvis in April 1975, and the singer was keen to get it airborne.

Nicknamed the Hound Dog I, and affectionately dubbed The Pride of Elvis Presley Airways by the singer himself, this Flying Graceland had plenty to scream about. The Convair 880 was purchased for $250,000 (≈ $1.2 million today). Still, refurbishment costs totaled over $600,000 (≈ $2.9 million today).

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It was finally deployed in November 1975. The work paid off, the passengers took notice. Updates included an executive bathroom with gold faucets and a penthouse bedroom with a custom queen bed.

Personal choice

Elvis Australia shares the following on the features of the aircraft:

“The plane was in a hangar at Meacham Field in Fort Worth, and for months Elvis had great fun bringing friends over to check on the progress as the plane’s interior was remodeled to his design specifications. very specific designs. Elvis wanted a lounge area, a conference room and a private bedroom on the plane (with space for an in-flight reading library). He chose fabrics, decided on color combinations, chose the system on-board audiovisual and even approved the golden fixtures in the bathrooms (he also relied heavily on Priscilla’s aesthetic input).

With several promising specifications, the aircraft was a robust unit for its time:

Ability: 28 (after Elvis modified the plane)

Interval: 2,600 miles / 4,800 km

Engines: 4 General Electric CJ-805-3 pod mount jets

Length: 1,129 ft 4 in (39.42 m)

Height: 36 ft 3.75 in (11.07 m)

Wingspan: 120 ft 0 in (36.58 m)

Cruising speed: 470–534.5 knots (870–990 km/h)

Ceiling: 41,000 feet (12,000 m)

Operating cost in 1976: $404,000

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No time to waste

Presley bought another airliner while waiting for Lisa Marie to take off. His Lockheed JetStar was actually more expensive than the Convair 880, trading at $900,000 (≈ $4.3 million today). Elvis also had another JetStar in the fleet.

Named after his daughter, Lisa Marie, 880 is on permanent display at Graceland. It received a fresh coat of paint in 2018 to ensure audiences continue to marvel at the legend’s personal jet.

A total of 65 Convair 880s were produced between 1959 and 1962. The aircraft is now retired but has seen many famous customers including TWA, Japan Airlines, Swissair and none other than Elvis Presley!


What do you think of Elvis Presley’s Convair 880? What do you think of the general characteristics of the aircraft? Let us know what you think of the aircraft and its operations in the comments section.

Source: Elvis Australia


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