SAM 26000

VC-137C SAM 26000
"Air Force One"
TypePresidential transport
ManufacturerBoeing
Maiden flightAugust 10, 1962
IntroducedOctober 10, 1962
RetiredMarch 24, 1998
Primary userUnited States Air Force
Number built1
Developed fromC-137 Stratoliner
VariantsVC-137C SAM 27000


The Boeing VC-137C is the designation of two United States Air Force passenger transportation aircraft, a military version of the Boeing 707. The first aircraft was Serial Number 62-6000 and used the call sign SAM (Special Air Mission) 26000.

Air Force One is the air traffic control call sign of any U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. From 1962 to 1998, the presidential fleet consisted of this specifically configured, highly customized Boeing 707 series aircraft with Air Force designation VC-137C. While SAM 26000 was referred to as "Air Force One" only while the president was on board, the term is commonly used to describe aircraft normally used and maintained by the U.S. Air Force solely for the president.

Operational history

SAM 26000 first entered service in 1962 during the John F. Kennedy administration, and was the first aircraft in the United States designated solely for presidential purpose. The plane served as the primary means of transportation for three presidents: John Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon during his first term. In 1972, during the Nixon administration, the plane was replaced by another 707, SAM 27000, although SAM 26000 was kept as a back-up plane until 1998.

Kennedy and Johnson

John F. Kennedy flew on SAM 26000 for only a single year, using other presidential aircraft occasionally. During the administration, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy enlisted the help of famed desiger Raymond Loewy to create a new livery for the aircraft, which resulted in the trademark Air Force One paint scheme of blue, silver, and white. In late June of 1963, Kennedy flew on SAM 26000 to Berlin, where he delivered his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, and to Ireland. A month earlier, it set the record for the fastest non-stop flight between Washington, D.C. and Moscow. On November 22, 1963, SAM 26000 carried President John F. Kennedy to Dallas, Texas, where it served as the backdrop as President and Mrs. Kennedy greeted well-wishers at Dallas' Love Field. Later that afternoon, Kennedy was assassinated, and Vice President Lyndon Johnson assumed the job of president and took the oath of office abaord SAM 26000. At Johnson's request, the plane carried Kennedy's body back to Washington, and flew over Arlington National Cemetery as Kennedy was being laid to rest, following 50 fighter jets.

Enlarge picture
Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in as the President of the United States aboard SAM 26000 by Judge Sarah T. Hughes following the assassination of John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson was SAM 26000's most frequent flyer, traveling more than 523,000 miles aboard it during his 5 years as president and even once called it "my own little plane." He flew twice to Vietnam and took tours of Asia in 1968 and 1969. The following year, he took one of the most bizarre presidential trips when he went around-the-world on a largely unplanned aerial odyessy, making stops in California, Hawaii, Australia, Thailand, South Vietnam, Pakistan, and the Vatican. Significant alterations to SAM 26000 took place during the Johnson years. LBJ ordered new seats put in, and had them configured to face the rear of the plane where the presidential cabin was. Johnson had a spacious leather chair installed (dubbed by the Secret Service as "the throne"), as well as a cresent shaped table for himself in the presidential cabin. The president could lower or raise the table by means of a switch. Couches around "the throne" provided a place where presidential aides and guests were able to sit.

Nixon

Upon the inauguration of Richard Nixon in 1969, SAM 26000 was rendered to undergo a major revamping with repairs and upgrades. Nixon and his staff were offered a key role in the redesigning of the plane, a position they took up, and indeed, the finished plane reflected the new president's persona. The interior of the plane was stripped from the nose to the tail; all minor problems were taken care of; upgrades were made on the flight management system; commnications gear was slightly modified. Richard Nixon had the interior of the plane redesigned to suit his fancy. Nixon did away with the open floor plan of the Johnson era and replaced it with a three-room suite for himself and his family, serving as a combinations of a lounge, office, and bedrooms. Behind the three rooms was where guests, aides, security, and media personnel sat. SAM 26000 served as Nixon's Air Force One until 1972, when a new 707 was introduced: SAM 27000. Although SAM 27000 took over as the primary means of transport for the president, Nixon preferred to fly on 26000 when his family accompanied him on flights, largely due to their preference of this historic craft. Nixon dubbed this plane and its sister plane the "Spirit of '76" and having that phrase painted on the two aircraft. The Nixons flew on SAM 26000 to China 1972, becoming the first American President and First Lady to visit that nation. SAM 26000 was also used by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger during his secret meetings with the French to negotiate the Vietnam peace process. In December 1972, SAM 27000 took over as the primary presidential plane.

Missions after replacement

Enlarge picture
President Richard Nixon and First Lady Pat Nixon disembark SAM 26000 after landing in the People's Republic of China, 1972
On January 22, 1973, Lyndon B. Johnson died. Two days later, SAM 26000 brought the former president's body to Washington, D.C. coming from Texas for the state funeral. After the funeral, the aircraft returned his body to Texas for burial, landing at Bergstrom Air Force Base in Austin, the airfield Johnson flew into and out of when president. As the former president was laid to rest at his ranch, retired Brigadier General James Cross, pilot of SAM 26000 during part of the Johnson presidency, presented the flag to Lady Bird Johnson at her request. He also escorted her during the state funeral, again, at her request. Because of SAM 26000, the final services honoring LBJ on January 25 were completed in one day, despite taking place in different parts of the country.[1][2][3]

On October 6, 1981, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated. Because of security concerns, then-President Ronald Reagan did not attend the funeral. Instead, Reagan sent then-Vice President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State Alexander Haig and the living former presidents—Nixon, Ford, and Carter—to the funeral, as well as former secretary of state Henry Kissinger. All of them flew aboard SAM 26000 when traveling to the funeral.

President Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994 in New York City. SAM 26000 brought his body to the El Toro Marine Base in Orange County, California four days later. It was the same plane and airfield that Nixon flew into/out of while president. The president's body was then taken to the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace (now Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum) for a funeral service and burial.[4]

The last time SAM 26000 carried a serving president was in January of 1998 when Bill Clinton's Air Force One literally got stuck in the mud in Champaign, Illinois at University of Illinois Willard Airport.[5][6] SAM 26000 was sitting at Grissom Air Reserve Base in Peru, Indiana, to serve as the backup Air Force One. SAM 26000 was quickly dispatched to Champaign to pick up Clinton. Soon after this flight, the plane was taken out of service and went to the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio in May, 1998.

References

1. ^ Foley, Thomas J. "Thousands in Washington Brave Cold to say Goodbye to Johnson." The Los Angeles Times. January 25, 1973
2. ^ Johnson, Haynes, and Witcover, Jules. "LBJ Buried in Beloved Texas Hills." The Washington Post. January 26, 1973
3. ^ Provence, Harry. "Thousands Fill Capitol to Bid Lyndon Farewell." The Waco Tribune-Herald. January 25, 1973
4. ^ [1]
5. ^ Jamie McIntyre. First 'Air Force One' To Be Retired. CNN.com. Accessed December 19, 2006.
6. ^ President's Plane Gets Stuck In The Mud. CNN.com. Accessed December 19, 2006.


The main source for this article is the following book:
  • Hardesty, Von (2003). Air Force One: The Aircraft that Shaped the Modern Presidency. San Diego, California: Tehabi Books. 

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An aerospace manufacturer is a company or individual involved in the various aspects of designing, building, testing, selling, and maintaining aircraft, aircraft parts, missiles, rockets, and/or spacecraft.
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Events


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March 24 is the 1st day of the year (2nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 0 days remaining.

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United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the United States armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services. Previously part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947.
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Type passenger/VIP transport
Manufacturer Boeing
Status Active service
Primary user United States Air Force
Produced 1954-1965
Developed from Boeing 707
Variants CC-137 Husky
E-3 Sentry
E-6 Mercury
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Type Presidential transport
Manufacturer Boeing
Maiden flight July 31, 1972
Introduced August 9, 1972
Retired August 29, 2001
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 1
Developed from
..... Click the link for more information.
The Boeing Company

Public (NYSE:  BA , TYO: 7661 )
Founded Seattle, Washington (1916)
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois

Key people W. James McNerney, Jr.
..... Click the link for more information.
United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the United States armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services. Previously part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947.
..... Click the link for more information.
Type Airliner
Manufacturer Boeing Airplane Company
Maiden flight December 20, 1957
Introduction October 1958 with Pan American
Produced 1958-1978
Number built 1,010
Developed from Boeing 367-80
Variants
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In broadcasting and radio communications, a call sign (also known as a callsign or call letters, or abbreviated as a call) is a unique designation for a transmitting station.
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Air Force One is the air traffic control call sign of any United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States.[1] Since 1990, the presidential fleet has consisted of two specifically configured, highly customized Boeing 747-200B series
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Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. A controller's primary task is to separate
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United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare branch of the United States armed forces and one of the seven uniformed services. Previously part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947.
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1962 1963 1964 1965

19th Century · 20th century · 21st century
1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s
1959 1960 1961 1962
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1998 1999 2000 2001

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1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
1995 1996 1997 1998
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Type Airliner
Manufacturer Boeing Airplane Company
Maiden flight December 20, 1957
Introduction October 1958 with Pan American
Produced 1958-1978
Number built 1,010
Developed from Boeing 367-80
Variants
..... Click the link for more information.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917–November 22, 1963), was the thirty-fifth President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

After Kennedy's leadership as commander of the USS PT-109
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Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973), often referred to as LBJ, was the thirty-sixth President of the United States (1963–1969). Johnson served a long career in the U.S.
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Type Airliner
Manufacturer Boeing Airplane Company
Maiden flight December 20, 1957
Introduction October 1958 with Pan American
Produced 1958-1978
Number built 1,010
Developed from Boeing 367-80
Variants
..... Click the link for more information.
Type Presidential transport
Manufacturer Boeing
Maiden flight July 31, 1972
Introduced August 9, 1972
Retired August 29, 2001
Primary user United States Air Force
Number built 1
Developed from
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John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917–November 22, 1963), was the thirty-fifth President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

After Kennedy's leadership as commander of the USS PT-109
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