An Airplane That May Have Been Air Force One Is Sitting at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport
An airplane that may or may not have been Air Force One at one point in history is currently sitting at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
The General Services Administration is auctioning off this plane next week (with a starting bid of $50,000) and our federal government is apparently unsure if any former President of the United States set foot on this airplane, which would have earned it the Air Force One call sign.
"In the thirty years this aircraft was assigned to the 89th Airlift Wing (Feb 1975-Sep 2005) it flew Presidential missions, Vice President, First Lady, Cabinet Secretaries (Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, others), Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, Four-Star Generals, Admirals, Foreign Heads of State and other foreign dignitaries," the GSA says in its description.
Notice that the phrase "the President" is conspicuously absent.
The description on the auction page says it "may have acted as Air Force One."
If it had ever been used as Air Force One, this DC-9 obviously wasn't the main aircraft, but could have been used in scenarios such as there being a short runway at the destination airport.
If you were to win the auction for the plane, you'd also get an "associated spare parts inventory" -- which, from photos, looks to be about the size of a moderately sized home -- and is conveniently located in North Carolina.
Bidding starts on Wednesday.
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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.
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