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This episode is dedicated to the Boeing 707. Our guest is the facilities manager for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute which displays a Boeing VC-137C used as Air Force One for seven U.S. presidents. In the news, Lufthansa looks to reactivate some A380s, sometimes it’s a good idea to toss something into the cockpit, and how old planes are repurposed.
John Lehne is the facilities manager for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, located at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
John’s responsibilities include the operations and maintenance of Foundation property and displayed artifacts, such as the Air Force One Pavilion and SAM 27000, the Boeing VC-137C aircraft used by the president of the United States.
In October 2005, John was asked to help the Foundation on a “temporary” basis. The completed Air Force One Pavilion was being transitioned from the general contractor to the Reagan Foundation. That “temporary” job turned into a 16+ year career with the Foundation.
He also oversees construction projects, contracted services such as maintenance, and various trades, as well as special event logistics. John has a small staff of foundation employees and outside contractors that make up his “on-site” facilities team. It is an ever-changing job that presents some unique challenges, especially the care of the aircraft and other displays.
Our Main(e) Man Micah reflects on the history of the Boeing 707.
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute
SAM 27000 was the second of two Boeing VC-137C United States Air Force presidential aircraft. It is a specially-built Model 707-353B that served seven United States presidents over 29 years.
John explains the acquisition process and ownership of the aircraft, along with the transportation challenges to get it to the facility. He tells us about how the aircraft was prepared and the display constructed. We learn about the maintenance challenge in the face of large numbers of visitors who go through the aircraft. John describes the interior of the plane, including the presidential suite and other cabins. He also tells us about the other aircraft and exhibits at the site.
Video: Boeing VC-137C Air Force One – “SAM 27000 in Action” – 1982-88
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From the American Helicopter Museum & Education Center:
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Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Rob Mark, our Main(e) Man Micah, and Brian Coleman.
Interesting that the USAF never installed the number 1 engine turbo-compressor on the VC-137s. On the E-8 JSTARS they have them. Also interesting is how the USA rejected the UK analysis of the B707 yaw stability at high AOA with the UK requesting a ventral fin be added to the empenage area.