Entertainment

The Elvis pilot about King’s surprising reaction to finding him in his bed

Elvis Presley was well known for his lavish multi-million dollar lifestyle at his Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee. During his last years of residence in Las Vegas, when the King was touring North America, he invested in his own private jet, purchasing a Convair 880 jet from Delta Airlines in April 1975 for the incredible sum of $250,000, which would be more than $1.3 million today. The total hit a whopping $600,000 ($3.1 million today) after a state-of-the-art facelift was completed by the same team that had just customized Air Force One for the president.

Elvis named his private jet after his daughter Lisa Marie and had a fitted attic bedroom in the back with a custom-made queen-size bed and an executive private bath with gold-plated sinks and a barber chair just before. to land.

For the last two years of its life, The King was piloted by pilot Ron Strauss, a Vietnam Air Force veteran who survived a hijacking in Nicaragua in 1974. He, his co-pilot, an engineer and a stewardess were on duty. for The King 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The 83-year-old is the subject of a new book called Destined To Fly: The Story of Pilot Ron Strauss – From Iowa to Elvis by Sally A Hoedel, who previously wrote Elvis Destined to Die Young.

He spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about his amazing couple of years flying The King across the US, including the time the star caught him in his bed.

Ron shared that every morning he and the engineer would go out and prepare the plane and the cockpit just in case Elvis wanted to go somewhere. Since the boss was a night owl, this often meant being ready to go in the early hours of the morning.

The King’s pilot recalled: “Many times security would call us, Joe Esposito or Charlie Hodge and say, ‘Elvis wants to go somewhere.’ We were there at 1 or 2 in the morning and at dawn if he didn’t come, we just went home. This morning when we finished the pre-flight, the stewardess, the other pilot and the engineer found places to sleep and by the time I was done there was nowhere else to go but Elvis’s bed. So I took off my flying boots and pulled the blanket over my head.”

READ MORE: Elvis – Paul McCartney agrees with John Lennon’s vision of The King

Elvis leaned over to the pilot and asked, “Hey Ron, are you busy?” The pilot responded, “Not at all,” before his boss confronted him.

The King asked, “I understand you got into a little trouble” and Ron confessed, “Yeah I sure did, Elvis, I got caught sleeping in your bed.”

To his complete surprise and delight, the generous star looked up at him and said, “Ron, you can sleep in my bed anytime!”

Destined To Fly: The Story of Pilot Ron Strauss – From Iowa to Elvis is out now and can be ordered in the UK from Strictly Elvis herewhile more information about Sally A Hoedel can be found on her website here.



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