The Big Bunny, Hare Force One: Hugh Hefner’s private jet and one of the most opulent aircraft to ever take to the skies. More than a plane, it was the conquering of the skies by Playboy and the Playboy lifestyle. A retrofitted DC-9, the Big Bunny was 119.3 feet in length, possessed a wingspan of 93.4 feet and held up to 38 passengers. Impressive as all that might be, the jet was also set up with a disco, a lounge, a sunken roman bath, two film projectors and 12 onboard beds.
Initially used to shuttle Hef between the original Playboy Mansion and headquarters in Chicago and the California headquarters, soon it was zipping the jet set to all of the swinging party spots around the world. On board for these wild flights was Hef; an ever-changing array of ’70s celebrities, writers and musicians; and a cadre of Jet Bunnies.
The Jet Bunnies were some of the brightest and best of the Playmates and Bunnies chosen to fly on the Hare Force One as its staff. Every woman who wanted the gig on the Big Bunny had to take special flight attendant training at the Continental Airlines’ stewardess school in L.A. Jet Bunnies also had a special uniform of black knee-high boots and white aviator scarves, distinguishing them from the well-known classic outfit. As Hef put it, “They looked as though they had just stepped out of a James Bond movie.” This week’s Playboy Retro soars as we take a look back at some of the Playmates who also had the best stewardess job in the world with turns as Jet Bunnies.
Blonde darling Avis Miller was November's Playmate of the Month for 1970 and one of the original 15 Playboy Jet Bunnies Hefner personally recruited from among the 850 cottontails serving in Playboy Clubs around the globe. She travelled on the Big Bunny as an observer for its maiden flight from Chicago to L.A.; her first gig working on the plane was for a 31-day jaunt through Africa and Europe. Take flight with Avis as we take in her pictorial once more.
Tall drink of water Janice Raymond worked her way up from the Los Angeles Playboy Club into the Jet Bunnies and the pages of the magazine as Miss December 1974. At 5’10” she was already tall, but in her heels, or her high-heeled Jet Bunny boots, this is a babe who stood out. Of course, her measurements of 38C-26-38, long honey blonde hair and inviting eyes mean she stands out in any context.
Laura Lyons is notable for many reasons. She’s maybe best remembered today as the mother of supermodel Lily Aldridge and for her leading of a 1970s “strike” among the Bunnies for the rights to date customers and socialize at the Playboy Club when not working. This was immediately granted and Laura went further up with Playboy to become a Playmate and a crew member on the Big Bunny. When she posed for the magazine in 1976 she was living life to the fullest; here’s her description: "I live out of a suitcase. If something interesting comes along, I pick up and run. As a result, my life is a collection of mad, magic moments. I danced at Anthony Corleone's Communion party on the set of Godfather II. For two weeks, I hung out with the world's greatest rock-and-roll band, sliding in and out of limousines, following police escorts to the airport. It never stops."
Victoria Cunningham got kicked out of a stewardess school due to the strict rules of the time—no drinking and early curfew—after she was caught with a roommate enjoying some champagne. It worked out for Victoria as she went to work at the Playboy Club and then got signed up as a Jet Bunny and ended up in the skies after all. In 1975 she wowed everyone as Miss April.
The Big Bunny was grounded in July 1975 when it was sold to Venezuela Airlines, but we can fly high on Hare Force One once more in our gallery of the gorgeous women who made these jet-setting adventures so special, exciting and glamorous.