John Travolta

12/19/2003 at 01:25 PM EST

John Travolta looked like an awestruck kid as he watched the dramatic unveiling of the new companion facility to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., where he was joined by political heavyweights (Vice President Dick Cheney, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist) and space pioneers (John Glenn and Neil Armstrong).

The actor and part-time pilot, 49, talked to PEOPLE about his love of aviation (he pilots his own Boeing 707) and his new home in Florida, which is in the world's most exclusive fly-in community – likely the only one with a runway long enough for his 707. Travolta also dished the dirt on another project taking flight – reuniting with his Pulp Fiction costar Uma Thurman for Be Cool, the sequel to his 1995 hit Get Shorty.

What do you think of the new museum?
This is, like, so unbelievable for an aviator. I think it's the most spectacular museum I've ever seen – all the best aviation artifacts of the last hundred years that were (previously) hidden away. I just want to put a home in the middle of this and live.

We hear you may have already done that. You just built a new home that has a runway?
I actually did do that. I say that, but I've really done it already, haven't I? The whole house is dedicated to aviation.

And you can park your Boeing 707 and your Gulfstream jet right in the backyard?
Yeah.

How do your kids, Jett and Ella Bleu, like the new house?
They love it. My son flies in all the airplanes with me, as does my daughter. They cannot wait to get on the aircraft every time.

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