A 747 that has been parked at Quonset State Airport in Rhode Island for a couple of years now is being transformed into a replica of Air Force One, according to a local news station. The 747 first flew into the airport in Evergreen livery in June 2015, and has been sitting outside through rain, snow and wind. Now workers on site are beginning the transformation with a fresh coat of exterior paint. Franklin Exhibits, based in New York, owns the airplane. They told Channel 10 they plan to replicate every detail of the presidential aircraft, inside and out, to create a tourist attraction.
The finished airplane may first be based at Quonset for a few months, but then will be removed via barge, from the airport’s shipping port on Narragansett Bay, according to Channel 10. It then will either be transported to a new site, perhaps in Washington, D.C., or it may become a traveling exhibit. The 747 has been in production since 1970, but Boeing officials said recently that demand is slowing down and they don’t expect to sell any more of them for commercial air travel. A few may still be built for freight and VIP transport. Boeing has produced more than 1,500 of the distinctive jets.
At least two actual Air Force One aircraft are in museums. The first jet-powered Air Force One, a Boeing 707-120, is at the Museum of Flight, in Seattle. The Ronald Reagan presidential library, in California, has a Boeing 707 that flew from 1973 to 2001, serving seven presidents. Twenty-two airplanes have flown as official presidential aircraft, starting with a Douglas C-54 Skymaster during the Eisenhower administration in 1959. Aircraft were used before that, beginning with President Roosevelt. The 747s have been the presidential aircraft since 1990. The White House today is served by two highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft.
Images courtesy of Noah Forden.