The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

2010 RAGBRAI

Fly family adds airplane parts to bus

Team Fly’s bus is basically an airplane.

Except for the whole flying part. They haven’t figured out how to make it do that yet.

But the entire bus is decked out with parts of old airplanes.

And Jesse Jordan, a pilot, can tell you exactly what airplanes each part came from.

The throttle is from a TWA 727. The driver’s seat is a captain’s seat from an Airbus 300. The flight attendant jump seats are from a DC-10, and the overhead bins throughout the bus are from a Northwest 727.

Even the seats on the bus are from an airplane, first-class seats from a United 727, the coach seats from a Japan Airways Airbus.

Jordan’s family started doing RAGBRAI in 1990.

“We loved it so much we bought a school bus and brought friends,” said Jordan’s daughter, Amy Jordan, 21.

Jesse Jordan, 52, has been adding onto the bus every year since they bought it four years ago.

He did most of the interior modifications the, painted the outside of the bus a year after that.

They added jet fuel tanks to the top of the bus to hold their shower water.

The water is heated before going to a shower in an old airplane lavatory.

Last year, Jordan added an instrument panel in front of the driver, and this year he changed the engine.

“It was pretty slow,” Jesse Jordan said. “But now we can go 62 miles per hour. Which is a lot better than 40.”

He also made the speed break handle on the throttle quadrant into a parking brake. He’d like to attach the fuel shut off into the same part, but that’s more complicated wiring.

Each of the 20 member team has a nick-name. Amy Jordan is So Fly, her father is Super Fly. Each person bikes except her sister, who drives the bus and performs with hula hoops each night.

The bus even gets some use the rest of the year. Most of the time, it’s parked at the family’s farm in Murfreesboro, Tenn. But they’ve had a prom dinner on the top platform and use it for Christmas parties.

And they plan to keep coming back to Iowa.

“It’s my favorite vacation out of the year,” Amy Jordan said. “I’ll always come to RAGBRAI.”

— Regina Zilbermints

Jesse Jordan 52, talks about the throttle quadrant he installed on his bus.


The seats and overhead bins are salvaged from old airplanes.


Jesse Jordan stands in front of Team Fly's bus in Manchester.

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