Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Playboy Jet: "Big Bunny"

Once upon a time a quaint magazine was born in the fifties that captivated men's attention and changed the way people would think for the rest of time. While Car and Driver is a captivating magazine, women would be appalled and flock to Playboy magazine. This magazine would continue to profit during the sexually liberating sixties and would have the best selling copy in 1972.[1] The sixties and seventies was also a change in the aviation industry. Airliners were transitioning to the jet age and was the avant garde of technology. Gone were the noisy and slow piston aircraft and in came the svelte and fast jets like the 707 and DC-8. This technology had created a generation of the wealthy "Jet Set" who could enjoy life and chill in anywhere in the world within a days worth of travel.[2] One could drink a martini in a New York penthouse party in one night and dine on chelow kabab in Tehran by the next night. To simply understand the radical change the jet age made to society; everyone went from seeing aviation like this; [3]

to this.
[4]

To own a jetliner during the Jet Age was the ultimate status symbol. It meant that the individual could travel anywhere they wanted and in the opulent comfort of your own private jet. Noone would take this farther than Hugh Hefner. He would ride in his symbol of decadence in 1970.
[5]
This jet came into service decked out with many creature comforts that existed in the seventies. The plane had:

televisions and leather chairs,
[6]

plush leather sofas through most of the jet,
[7]

a shagtastic round bed with animal pelt as a comforter,
[8]

And even its own Jet Bunnies!
[9]

Never before, or since, has such misogyny ever taken the sky.
[10]
Well, there were some exceptions...

The Big Bunny, or "Hare Force One," was the most opulent private aircraft for most of the seventies.[11][12] The only aircraft capable to match such extravagance is the executive aircraft of some national or world leaders, including the United States Air Force's famous 'Air Force One.' Such private luxury could not be matched until the boom of business jets and private use of wide-body airliners. The aircraft (N950PB) would continue flying the Jet Bunnies until 1976, when the magazine could no longer afford to keep it.[13] From there, it had a short career with the Venezuelan airline, Aeropostal. However, it finally went where every individual doused in debauchery would go to, Mexico!!! In the beginning of the 1980s, the airliner would begin a long and successful career shuttling people around Mexico with Aeromexico. The plane still had a taint of lasciviousness when it was dubbed the former party town of "Ciudad Juarez."[14] It would later be painted with a nameless silver livery during its later years.[15] In fact the Bunny Jet even has its own conspiracy theory of colliding with a UFO [16]. The plane would be retired in 2004 and was to be chopped up into scraps and soda cans in 2008. However, a plane with such a history wouldn't go down that quickly.
[17]
This is the very same Big Bunny (XA-JEB) in Cadereyta, Queretaro, Mexico. The fuselage was donated to the city so that it would help bring education and classes to the children of this city.[18] So unless the violence and recession changes anything; the plane went from being a sex symbol to a childrens educational tool. A fitting finale for the Big Bunny.
[19]

For a pictoral history of this aircraft see Airliners.net



Notes:

[1] Wikipedia contributors, "Playboy," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Playboy&oldid=328375838 (accessed November 29, 2009).
[2] Wikipedia contributors, "Jet set," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jet_set&oldid=324854757 (accessed November 29, 2009).
[3] "Jerry Lewis," Google Images, http://www.hollywoodcultmovies.com/html/funny_men_of_film.html (accessed November 29, 2009).
[4] Richard Elfman, "Battle of the Bonds," Buzzine Culture and Entertainment, http://www.buzzine.com/2006/11/battle-of-the-bonds/ (accessed November 29, 2009).
[5] Unknown, "Build Your Own Flying Big Bunny," Gamespot, http://www.gamespot.com/users/jrgreenmd/show_blog_entry.php?topic_id=m-100-25041757&print=1 (accessed November 29, 2009).
[6][8] Unknown, "Hugh Hefner's private jet," Boreme, http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2007/hugh-hefner-private-jet-p1.php (accessed November 29, 2009).
[7] Unknown, "Playboy DC-9," Airline Safety Cards, http://www.airlinesafetycards.be/Safety%20cards%20M-R.htm (accessed November 29, 2009).
[9][11] Nanci Kaczmarek, "Jet Bunnies," Ex-Playboy Bunny, http://www.explayboybunny.com/jet_bunnies.htm (accessed November 29, 2009).
[10] Wikipedia contributors, "Hooters Air," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hooters_Air&oldid=327359588 (accessed November 29, 2009).
[12] Wikipedia contributors, "Janice Raymond (model)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Janice_Raymond_(model)&oldid=321802934 (accessed November 29, 2009).
[13] Many contributors, "Playboy DC9: Is It Still Flying," Airliners.net, http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/read.main/650943/ (accessed November 29, 2009).
[14] Ciudad Juarez became a border town to El Paso, Texas that was known for being the party and center of American lewdness until recent times in which many locals now call it "Nuevo Baghdad" because of the high death rate. Robert M. Campbell, "Aircraft Pictures," Airliners.net, http://www.airliners.net/photo/AeroMexico/McDonnell-Douglas-DC-9-32/1475323/L/&sid=0d5ab3e5c04f87ce107e998f0ba107f4 (accessed November 29, 2009).
[15] Ricardo Morales, "Aircraft Pictures," Airliners.net, http://www.airliners.net/photo/AeroMexico/McDonnell-Douglas-DC-9-32/0771347/L/ (accessed November 29, 2009).
[16] Unknown, "OVNI 94," Alcione, http://www.alcione.org/OVNI94.html (accessed November 29, 2009).
[17] EcoRomeoLima, "DC-9-32 AMX Fuselaje en Cadereyta," Photobucket, http://s491.photobucket.com/albums/rr274/EcoRomeoLima/?action=view¤t=XA-JEB-Cadereyta.jpg&sort=ascending (accessed November 29, 2009).
[18] Martin Garcia Chavero, "'Aterriza' avion de Aeromexico en Cadereyta, Queretaro," Rotativo de Queretaro, http://rotativo.com.mx/?module=displaystory&story_id=6918&format=print (accessed November 29, 2009).
[19] Nanci Kaczmarek, "Jet Bunnies," Ex-Playboy Bunny, http://www.explayboybunny.com/jet_bunnies.htm (accessed November 29, 2009).

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for researching and posting this story. I was fascinated by the Big Bunny when it entered service as the Playboy Enterprises corporate jet, amid a flurry of publicity, and always wondered what happened to the airframe after it was sold. Seeing the flight safety card is very cool. By the way, you might enjoy the 6-minute promo video about the jet that was shot by Playboy as part of the publicity blitz. It is on Youtube at this location:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNEyvJgfKfM

    ReplyDelete