This Boeing 707-153 designation VC-137B Serial Number 58-6971 wears the markings of 89th Military Airlift Wing, Andrews AFB, Maryland circa 1998.
In 1953, Eastern Airlines Flight 8610, accidentally entered the same air space as the president’s Lockheed Constellation, Air Force 8610. Eisenhower designated his aircraft as Air Force One.
The Air Force bought from Boeing at Renton, WA, three 707-153 Stratoliners (serial numbers 58-6970, 58-6971 and 58-6972) bought "off-the-shelf” for presidential jet travel. Delivered on May 12, 1959, 58-6971 is the second of the three 707s purchased. In December 1959, on a goodwill tour at the end of his second term, Dwight Eisenhower flew aboard an Air Force–operated Boeing 707 to 11 Asian countries in 19 days. SAM 971 served as a presidential backup aircraft accumulating over 18,800 hours.
This modified 707 packed an Inertial Navigation System. The Inertial Navigation System allowed the crew to track their plane’s location even if they lost contact with the ground. Onboard electronics can withstand the electromagnetic pulse.
The aircraft also can jam enemy radar and launch flares that will disable enemy missiles. Past the forward galley, toward the cockpit, on the left, are the nuclear codes. On the right is the communication station. The operator reaches a caller on the radio, and then patches it through to one of the telephones on the aircraft. A placard reminds: "No classified operations with the console speaker on." Among the amenities are private quarters for the president and first lady. A doctor is always on board. The aircraft has two galleys that can prepare meals for 100 passengers. For security purposes, staff must procure food served on Air Force One prior to the trip in the United States.
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