The Lockheed JetStar: A Look at Aviation’s First Business Jet
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Published February 14, 2024
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At Flygreen, we’re inspired by the landmarks of aviation history, and the Lockheed JetStar stands out as a true pioneer. The story of the Lockheed JetStar offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of air travel, especially in the niche of business aviation. Introduced in the late 1950s and coming into service in the early 1960s, the JetStar stands out as the first aircraft designed specifically for business use.

Development and Design

The journey of the JetStar began as Lockheed’s response to a growing interest in more personalized and efficient air travel options. It was a period of experimentation and innovation, with Lockheed aiming to create an aircraft that could meet the specific needs of corporate clients and high-net-worth individuals. The JetStar’s initial flight in 1957 marked the beginning of a new era in aviation, though it wasn’t without its challenges.

The design of the JetStar included four 3,300 lbf (14.7 kN) thrust Pratt & Whitney JT12A-8 turbojet engines mounted at the back of the fuselage, an unusual choice at the time that contributed to its distinctive look and performance capabilities. This setup allowed for a smoother flight experience and made the JetStar capable of longer distances at higher speeds compared to other aircraft of its era. Its range (2,500 mi – 4,023 km) and speed (907 km/h – 564 mph) were very competitive, making it a practical choice for cross-country or transcontinental trips.

Inside the JetStar

The interior of the JetStar was designed with comfort and functionality in mind, accommodating up to ten passengers and a crew of two pilots and one flight attendant.

The ability to customize the cabin layout made it possible for owners to tailor the space to their needs, whether for work, meetings, or relaxation. This flexibility was a significant selling point, illustrating the aircraft’s role not just as a mode of transport but as a versatile travel solution.

The JetStar in Use

One of the more notable aspects of the JetStar’s history is its association with prominent figures, including Elvis Presley. The King was a proud owner of not one, but two JetStars, the 1962 JetStar L-1329, adorned with a velvet interior, and the Hound Dog II, that served as a stylish interim as his other jet, The Lisa Marie, underwent renovations.

Such ownership highlighted the JetStar’s status as a prestigious choice among the elite, though it was also used by corporations and governments for its practicality and reliability.

Despite its innovations and the niche it filled, the JetStar’s production ended in 1979. By then, it had made its mark, proving the viability and demand for business jets, a segment that has only grown since.


The legacy of the JetStar is more than just its technical achievements or the luxury it offered. It’s about how it opened the door for the development of the business jet market, influencing the design and capabilities of future aircrafts. The JetStar showed that there was a significant demand for private air travel, setting the stage for the modern private jets we see today.

Reflecting on the Lockheed JetStar’s history is a reminder of how far aviation has come and the continuous pursuit of better, more efficient ways to fly. The JetStar’s role in this journey underscores the importance of adaptability and foresight in the ever-evolving landscape of air travel.

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