One-of-a-kind presidential shuttles featured in new museum hangar


The National Museum of the United States Air Force will open its new 224,000-square-foot fourth building on Wednesday, June 8. In the days leading up to the opening, the Dayton Daily News will feature notable aircraft that will be on display in the new building.

The United States Air Force wanted to supply a quality jet transport for U.S. presidents by the early 1960s. It became one of the most famous planes in history.

The Boeing Co. devliered a modified passenger jet to the Air Force in 1962, called the SAM 26000 (SAM stands for Special Air Mission). It went on to serve eight presidents, from John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton, as the first Air Force One.

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The plane famously flew Kennedy's body back to Washington, D.C., after he was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, in Dallas. Lyndon B. Johnson was also sworn in as president on the jet after Kennedy's death.

The SAM 26000 is one of several presidential-related aircraft that will be on display the National Museum of the United States Air Force's new fourth building, which opens on Wednesday.

» SEE MORE: Sneak peek inside the Air Force Museum's new fourth building

That gallery features 9 fixed-wing aircraft and one helicopter that shuttled presidents. It includes the "Sacred Cow," the first aircraft built specifically to fly U.S. presidents, and the Bell UH-13J Sioux, one of the first two helicopters that served U.S. presidents.

"In the past, the entire presidential aircraft collection has had to be placed on exhibit actually on the (Wright-Patterson) Air Force Base, over in Area B in our annex," said Christina Douglass, manuscript curator for the Air Force Museum. "With the new fourth building, we're able to put all 10 of these aircraft on exhibit."



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