Original Air Force One, a Lockheed Constellation, saved from the boneyard
Columbine II, a Lockheed Constellation that was the original Air Force One, restored and flown to its display home.
Reclaiming and renovating vintage aircraft requires dedication, innovation and perseverance.
That’s definitely the case when it comes to the restoration of Columbine II, a Lockheed VC-121A Constellation that this week flew cross-country to where it will be displayed. Considering this aircraft fading toward boneyard status, the fact that it could fly itself such a distance is a great accomplishment.
Karl Stoltzfus, founder of Dynamic Aviation, discovered “Connie” and made the decision the plane could be saved and made air worthy. Thanks to help from engineers and local volunteers in Arizona along with a group of workers led by Scott Glover from the Mid America Flight Museum in Mount Pleasant, Texas.
The Columbine II was the first aircraft to fly with the call sign Air Force One as it served to transport President Dwight D. Eisenhower after he took office in 1950. It is the only civilian-owned aircraft that was once part of the presidential fleet.
Eisenhower also used a little twin engine Aero Commander. Simple, economical, safe, good for small airports. The sensible way to fly. I assembled a model of that plane back 50 years ago and so think of it as Ike's plane. airportjournals.com/ikes-aero-commander/