The history of Air Force One. Where every presidential plane is today

A couple of weeks ago, the United States Pentagon announced the Boeing  747-8 would be the next platform for Air Force One, replacing the ageing 747-200’s which were introduced in...

A couple of weeks ago, the United States Pentagon announced the Boeing  747-8 would be the next platform for Air Force One, replacing the ageing 747-200’s which were introduced in 1990.  That got me thinking – what happens to the old Air Force one planes?

I wondered; do they securely scrap them?  Like getting rid of secure documents – it happens not via your normal rubbish and recycling run.

These are not just any old aircraft, they are fitted out with kit that we couldn’t even begin to imagine, as a full working White House and command centre in the air.

As it turns out, if history repeats, the current Air Force One will end up in a museum or Presidential library somewhere.

With the help of the knowledgeable and highly qualified team at the Pentagon, EFTM has compiled a list of every US Presidential aircraft to date.

C-54C Sacred Cow

Douglas DC-4.

  • The first official Presidential aircraft
  • Military designation VC-54C
  • Tail number 42-107451
  • Named “The Flying White House” and “Sacred Cow.”
  • Served Presidents Roosevelt and Truman.

Where to find it: on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.

Independance in flight ca 1947

Douglas DC-6

  • Military designation VC-118
  • Tail number 46-505
  • Named “The Independence” after President Truman’s home town.
  • The aircraft sported an Eagle livery (paint design) and served President Truman.

Where to find it: on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.

Columbine II

Lockheed L-749 Constellation (the first “Air Force One”)

  • Military designation VC-121A
  • Tail number 48-610
  • Named “Columbine II” (after the state flower of Colorado)
  • Served President Eisenhower.

Where to find it: in the Arizona desert at the Marana Regional Airport near Tucson, Arizona.

Columbine III in flight

Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation

  • Military designation VC-121E
  • Tail number 53-7885
  • Named “Columbine III” (again for the state flower of Colorado)
  • Served President Eisenhower from November 1954 to the end of his Presidency.

Where to find it: on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.

Douglas DC-6B

  • Military designation VC-118A
  • Tail number 53-3240
  • Served President Kennedy as the Primary Presidential aircraft until the Boeing 707 aircraft tail number 26000 arrived and then was the Presidential backup aircraft.
  • The Air Force stopped naming their aircraft. So this aircraft was unnamed.

Where to find it: on display at the Pima County Air Museum, Tucson Arizona.

VC-137-1_Air_Force_One

Boeing 707

  • Military designation VC-137C
  • Tail number 26000
  • Served Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.

Where to find it: on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio.

27000 over Mt. Vernon

Boeing 707

  • Military designation VC-137C
  • Tail number 27000
  • Served Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and Bush.

Where to find it: on display at the Reagan Presidential Library in California.

VC-25 A Over Mt Rushmore

Boeing 747-200 (x2)

  • Military designation VC-25A
  • Tail numbers 28000 and 29000
  • Arrived in 1990 and are still in service as the Presidential aircraft.
  • To date they have served Presidents George H.W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barak Obama.

Where to find it: Watch the TV news you’ll see President Obama getting around in it now and then:)

 

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Trev produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He hosts a nightly radio show on Talking Lifestyle, 8pm Monday to Friday in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
2 Comments on this post.
  • tardis3
    10 February 2015 at 2:16 pm
    Leave a Reply

    I wondered about this as well. thanks for posting

  • Con (@conioo)
    10 February 2015 at 8:14 pm
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    very interesting ! nice article

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