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Once upon a time in (Air) HollywoodOnce upon a time in (Air) Hollywood

Movie sets, television shows, and commercials, oh my!

Have you ever wondered where those aircraft scenes in movies, TV shows, and commercials are filmed? Like Kristen Wiig stumbling through the aisles, drunkenly headed for first class in Bridesmaids? Or Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio lounging in 1960s-era airline seats in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood?

Air Hollywood

From old uniforms to those slightly skeevy headrest covers on the airliners of yore, Air Hollywood has a plethora of aviation-related products. A 767 fuselage was one of owner Talaat Captan's first acquisitions. The cockpit from the movie Airplane! is everyone's favorite. Photography by Chris Rose

These and many other movie scenes, sets for TV shows, and commercials are filmed in Hollywood—Burbank to be exact—in a 100,000-square-foot-plus maze through a hodgepodge of airline fuselages, cockpit pieces, aircraft seats, old uniforms, avionics, dinnerware, and even a terminal replica. Air Hollywood is the brainchild of producer Talaat Captan, who tired of the red tape he was encountering filming at Los Angeles International Airport. He opened Air Hollywood in May 2001 and, especially after the restrictions put in place following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, realized film crews needed an accessible place to film aircraft scenes that would not be on an airport.

He first acquired a Boeing 767 interior and its seats. “That’s how it all began and I really haven’t stopped looking since,” Captan said. “I keep my eyes open for anything airplane and airport related; I love finding new and unique things.” He was born in Lebanon and grew up fascinated by airline travel.

Captan continued to acquire repurposed parts and collections of airline and aircraft memorabilia. Today Air Hollywood is the world’s largest aviation-themed studio, with additional locations in Atlanta and South Korea. “When it comes to our props, it can be almost anything—from a TSA uniform to a flight recorder—and we have it all right here,” Captan said. “The other day someone filming a movie suddenly needed vintage luggage, and we had a variety to choose from. Filmmakers like that they can come here and won’t have to go out and search around for anything; if it’s aviation related, we have it.”

Movie buffs will fall in love with what’s here: the original cockpit from the movie Airplane!; uniforms, insignia, and hats for flight attendants from every airline from almost every era; dinnerware, glassware, and decorations, also from every airline and era; a fully equipped 200-foot airline terminal (nonworking X-ray machines included); and avionics to replicate any type of aircraft for a scene from a Cessna 172 to a Gulfstream V and a Triple Seven.

“Airplane travel is magical,” said Captan. “It’s a promise of a new adventure.”

Web: airhollywood.com

Email julie.walker@aopa.org

Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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