It's Big Jake's birthday, and after E.Z. sends him to do a long delivery, Jay Jay and friends have to think of what to give him. When Jay Jay cannot think of a present, he turns to searching for something that will give him an idea.


It is a very special day, Big Jake's birthday. Inside the hangar, Big Jake was dozing, dreaming of how much fun his party will be. When he awakens, he realizes everyone's gone, but suspects they're hiding so they'll jump out and surprise him when he comes out of the hangar.

When Big Jake gets outside however, everyone is acting normal and busy, proving him wrong. After this, he is greeted E.Z. O'Mally, hoping he has something special for him. E.Z. tells him that he has an important package to take to a town very far away, which is special in his opinion. Reluctantly, Big Jake accepts the job and takes off, thinking everyone forgot his birthday.

The moment after Big Jake leaves, E.Z. gathers up Jay Jay, Tracy, Herky and Old Oscar, revealing they were only pretending to be normal while Big Jake was around. E.Z. explains his plan to put together a surprise birthday party for Big Jake which is to take place that night, but they have to finish before then because Big Jake will be back after sunset. So everyone sets off to plan the party.

In the air, Jay Jay and Tracy each think of a present to give Big Jake at the party. Tracy explains to Jay Jay that she is going to sing a song she wrote about him and to Jay Jay's request, she rehearses it, with him joining in midway through. When the song was over, Tracy wonders what gift Jay Jay will bring, to which he realizes he doesn't know yet. Tracy reminds him that he has to think of something and a gift is something he thinks is special. Panicking, Jay Jay points out he can't think of anything and his "thinker" is broken. He immediately leaves to go ask Brenda Blue for help.

Jay Jay finds Brenda at her workshop, who tells him there's nothing wrong with him and his thinker isn't broken. He just needs to use it to come up with an idea. Confused, Jay Jay asks her what her idea was when thinking of a present. Brenda shows him a new propeller as her answer, leading Jay Jay to ask where ideas come from. She tells him that ideas come from many different places, by talking to friends, and sometimes come "out of the clear blue sky". Amazed, Jay Jay goes off to think.

Later, Jay Jay starts thinking of an idea when he notices a group of bugs flying through the air. Using all his time until sunset, Jay Jay follows them all the way back to Lightning Bug Lake, where he recognizes the bugs as lightning bugs. After a minute, he gets an idea and knows just what his present will be. He calls out to the lightning bugs and begins to give them a job.

Later that night, Big Jake returns from his delivery and still thinks everyone forgot his birthday. He is suddenly surprised by Jay Jay, Tracy and Herky who reveal his party to him, and Brenda and E.Z. present him a birthday cake along with it. Tracy adds they did remember after all.

Jay Jay tells his whole story about not thinking of a present to Big Jake, who lets him know that he didn't have to give him anything and what matters is that he's here. In addition, it's what's inside that counts. After this, Jay Jay says after thinking hard, he thought of something special. He calls out to the lightning bugs, who form a picture of Big Jake wearing a party hat in the sky. This is Jay Jay's present to Big Jake: a lightning bug show just for him. Happy, he thanks him for giving him one of the nicest presents he ever received. The episode ends as Jay Jay, Tracy and Oscar sing his birthday song, and they continue celebrating from there.

Episode Information



  • Tarrytown
    • The Runway
    • Main Hanger
  • Lightning Bug Lake


  • This episode was re-aired on PBS Kids on June 26, 2001.
  • During the scene where Jay Jay panics about his "thinker" broken, watch his mouth. In early airings it remains in a neutral position, where both corners are straight on. Later airings and most home video releases have this scene edited so that when he panics, his mouth shifts into a worrying frown as he speaks, before shifting into a frazzled smile as he flies out of the scene.
  • Snuffy and Savannah do not attend the party.
  • Moral: Your answer might come from someplace unexpected.



[[File:|300px|link=Big Jake's Birthday Surprise/Gallery]]

Big Jake's Birthday Surprise image gallery


Jay Jay the Jet Plane Main Series

Picture Day/Tracy's Song | Hide and Seek/Big Jake's Birthday Surprise | Catch the Buzz/Grumpy O'Malley | Snuffy's 1st Day of School/Super Sonic Jay Jay | Jay Jay and the Stars at Night/Hero Herky | Wing Wigglin/Tracy's Tree | Super Loop-De-Loop/Jay Jay's Bad Dream | Evan Gets His Wings/Snuffy Sees the Big Picture Switch Around Day/Snuffy's Missing Friend | Missing You/Tippy Toppy Peak | Tracy's Treasure Hunt/Jay Jay's New Wheels | Jay Jay's Christmas Adventure - Part 1/Jay Jay's Christmas Adventure - Part 2 | Babysitting Blues/Jay Jay Earns His Wings | Herky Jerky/Upside Down Waterfall | I'm Being Followed By The Moon/Something Special | Plane Of A Different Color/Hiccup Havoc | And That's The Tooth!/Big Jake's Team | I Love Your Funny Face/Snuffy's Rainbow | The Buddy System/The Great Tarrytown Black-Out | Jay Jay Meets The Cloud King/The Merit Badge | Are We There Yet/Problem In Pangabula | Jay Jay's Dinosaur Hunt/Dough-Nutty | Snuffy Discovers The Ocean/Jay Jay's Speedy Delivery | Dog Gone Doggy/Herky's Hat Chase | The Three Little Planes/I'm Swamped! | Old Oscar Leads The Parade/Revvin' Evan's Day | Spending Time with Big Jake/The New Plane | Tracy's Shooting Star/Upsy Downosis | The Opposites Game/Tracy's Sonic Boom | Jay Jay's Butterfly Adventure/The Singing Meadow | Jay Jay Meets Captain Hightower/Tracy's Snuggly Blanket | Fire Engine Evan/Tracy's Candy Catastrophe | Tuffy the Tiny Tow Truck/Snuffy's Snowman | Tuffy's Buried Treasure/Snuffy's Thanksgiving | Snuffy and the Colors of Fall/Snuffy's Birthday Surprise | A Trip to Skylandia/Brenda's Mother's Day | Tuffy's Trip to Pangabula/Tuffy's Adventure in Pangabula | Jay Jay's Winter Parade/Snuffy's Seasons | Jay Jay and the Magic Books/The Counting Game | Concert Day at Tarrytown Airport/Snuffy's Favorite Color