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Stand in Air Force One at the USAF Museum’s Presidential Exhibit

Written by on Thursday, April 5th, 2012

We’re nearing the end of our two-week long virtual tour of the National Museum of the United State’s Air Force. Today’s leg of the journey takes to some of the USAF’s most important aircraft: the various iterations of Air Force One. The term Air Force One actually refers to any aircraft that carries the president, even if it is a civilian vehicle. Nonetheless, resting in this portion of the museum are some of the most famous and important presidential aircraft throughout US history.

This history of Air Force One can be traced back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who became the first US president to fly while in office. Government officials did not want the president to rely on commercial aircraft for transportation, so they hired Douglas Aircraft to create a custom-built aircraft specifically for presidential use. They created the VC-54C, also known as the Sacred Cow, which became the first military presidential aircraft. This aircraft is literally the only one of its kind and marked the beginning of a long tradition of high-tech and powerful Air Force One aircraft.

Next to the Sacred Cow is the massive VC-137C SAM 26000, one of two such aircraft. The VC-137 entered cialis 5 mg online service in 1962 during the John F. Kennedy administration, and was not retired until 1998. This very aircraft hosted one of the most famous presidential photos ever taken. The photo depicts Lyndon B. Johnson taking the Oath of Office two hours and eight minutes after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This aircraft, along with 50 fighter jets, flew over Kennedy’s burial ceremony.

Also on display are the VC-121E Columbine III and the VC-118 Independence. The Columbine served as the personal aircraft for President Dwight Eisenhower, and was later used to transport important government officials after Eisenhower left office. Similarly, the Independence was used by President Harry Truman.

This exhibit has a distinct advantage over the other displays at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Unlike other exhibits, which display lines of aircraft, the presidential aircraft exhibit focuses on specific, single aircraft. These planes aren’t simply representative of thousands of similar aircraft — these are the actual aircraft that carried our nation’s presidents. Here, you can board the VC-137C and stand in the exact spot where Lyndon B. Johnson became our nation’s 36th president. You can’t find history like this anywhere else outside of Washington, DC.

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