Wichita, Kansas (May 4th and 5th): There will be a public debut for the new John F. Kennedy Air Force One exhibit during the Cockpit-Fest USA and AVSIM simulation convention to be held at the Kansas Aviation Museum.
The replica, which is built from a real 46-foot long aircraft fuselage, is currently undergoing conversion in Augusta, Kansas from a President Nixon configuration to the earlier JFK configuration. It will feature the cockpit, an Air Force One communication station, a presidential stateroom, and a bedroom that was specifically designed for the Kennedys.
"It is fitting that the JFK Air force One debuts in Wichita, Kansas, because the Wichita Air Force One program here not only supported SAM 26000 but has provided upgrades and maintenance on every Air Force One since the 1960's," stated Steve Cannaby, president of Nu-Tek Aircraft Instruments which is converting the replica to the JFK configuration.
"Normally the Air Force One support personnel cannot talk about the work they do but this replica will give them the chance to show their friends and family what an Air Force One is like," Cannaby noted, "and this will be the only public appearance of this exhibit while it is still under conversion." In addition to touring the JFK style interior the public will get to see some of the conversion work in progress.
Owned by the American Presidential Experience, in its Nixon configuration this SAM 26000 replica has been used in movies and for exhibit at several Republican Presidential Conventions in addition to being displayed at the Presidential Museum in Branson, MO.
"JFK was the first President to use SAM 26000," stated Kansas Aviation Museum executive director Lon Smith. "Later, Jacqueline Kennedy decided the Presidents' planes needed a special livery and commissioned Ramond Loewy to design a new one. That livery is still used by all Air force One aircraft to this day."
After Cockpit-Fest USA the replica Air Force One will be placed on display at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas, in remembrance of the JFK assassination and the swearing in of President Lyndon Johnson aboard SAM 26000.
Cockpit-Fest USA will feature multiple privately owned aircraft cockpits and flight simulators that will be transported from across the United States to the Kansas Aviation Museum for one weekend of public display. The AVSIM Simulation Convention will feature International participation of simulator vendors and enthusiasts of flight simulations such as Laminar Research X-Plane and Microsoft Flight Simulator.