Monday, February 2, 2015


                         PLANNING IS EVERYTHING."

                                 Dwight D. Eisenhower

      Wichita has a fantastic group of people and an institution that I have never had the chance to go see.  It is the Kansas Aviation Museum at the old Municipal Airport on the west side of McConnell AFB and north of Boeing.  Here they are taking a lot of Kansas Aviation history and restoring it to its new looks and function by a group of talented aircraft workers and enthusiasts.  They have been working on 'Doc' a B-29 of the type that dropped the Atomic bombs on Japan ending WWII.
      But that is not their only exhibit or restoration job.  It is great when folks you know can create something that is world class.  I never worked in the air craft industry but no Kansan can deny the deep roots it has in the state.  It is a fascinating story and world.
     Friends of mine built the current Air Force One and Two 747's here in Wichita.  They are about to replace them with another pair of 747's modified to be a flying White House for our president.  The Air Force One program is a great story and the first version of it is about to be lost.  And I propose that a joint effort to procure the number one version that belonged to our home son President Dwight David Eisenhower.  Bring it to Wichita and restore it for the museum.
     In 1953 there was a near miss collision between Eastern Flight 8610 and Air force Flight 8610 over New York City.  When they found out that Air force Flight 8610 was President Eisenhower's Constellation Columbine II it was quickly decided that whenever the president was in the air that the flight was AIR FORCE ONE.  This Lockheed Constellation was the first in the series of Air Force Ones and the only one to be sold as surplus by the government.
      When the Smithsonian started looking for the lost plane it contacted the owner of record Mel Chrysler in Wyoming.  Mr. Chrysler runs an aerial spray service and purchased a lot of five Constellations.  He intended to put all into service but one was in poor shape and was saved for parts.
     The one setting in the desert and almost cut up is the original Columbine II.  It would be a shame to lose a part of our history to the scrapper.  Mr. Chrysler is interested in seeing the plane restored and in a museum somewhere.
     Since I just found the story I am checking on the progress that has been made and where things are at this time.  But what better timing than when we just changed the name of Wichita Midcontinent Airport to Dwight D Eisenhower airport, to save his plane and put it on display here in Wichita?
      I am hoping that I can start the interest building here in the community and with the City of Wichita, Wichita Air Museum, Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, and the aircraft industry here to fund and complete this project.
     There is a Face Book page at FirstAirForceOne.  Also an email address  The website is not up right now

1 comment:

  1. Great story, Roger! I'll be interested to see the progress.