Air Force One, with the words “United States of America” emblazoned across its body and the Stars and Stripes on its tail, has been called the “most recognizable aircraft in the world.” So motorists on I-35 and I-70 next week shouldn’t have trouble identifying it. Except they won’t be looking skyward when they see the Boeing 707. They’ll be passing it as it is carried on the back of a truck.
The replica of Air Force One is being transported from Augusta, Kan., to the American Presidential Experience in Denver, an extraordinary, nonpartisan exhibition saluting the American presidency. It will be at INVESCO Field August 22-29 during the Democratic National Convention.
Working on the replica
Visitors will be able to explore this reproduction of the aircraft that carried seven presidents across the country and around the world. Nixon to China. Ford to the Soviet Union. Reagan to Berlin. George W. Bush was on board when the 707 Air Force One, a Special Air Mission (SAM) 27000, flew to retirement in 2001.
Presidents since his father have been relying on bigger—much bigger—and more luxurious 747s that even have offices filled with photocopiers, printers and word processors along with 85 telephones, 19 televisions and fax machines, as those who saw the movie, “Air Force One,” might remember.
The president’s desk on the 707 Air Force One
The replica hitting the road was once the 727 Kerry/Edwards campaign plane. Nu-Tek Aircraft Instruments of Augusta, which specializes in aircraft-instrument repair, has turned the same-size 727 into the Air Force One 707 replica.
This is the second time the company has moved an Air Force One across the country.
Stephen H. Cannaby, Nu-Tek’s president, says it’s a thrilling experience.
“The most amazing thing we see is the spirit of pride that people have when they see Air Force One coming down the Interstate. That just makes us that much prouder to be part of this experience.”
What would he like as a future project? Building the upper flight deck and lower staterooms of an interactive 747 Air Force One.
Air Force One will hit the highway Monday, August 18, with a 10 a.m. send-off from Kansas Secretary of Commerce David Kerr at the Kansas Museum of Military History. There are two scheduled stops on the road to Denver—Salina, Kan., at 1 p.m. the same day and Goodland, Kan., at 6 p.m.
A bit of trivia: Technically, a plane can’t be called Air Force One unless the president is on board.