By Scott Malta
Over 300 people were on hand at Castle Airport, CA October 16th, to witness the final flight and final landing of a VC-9, a modified DC-9 that was for years operated by the United States Air Force as “Air Force Two” and at times as “Air Force One.”
The VC-9 is a beautifully maintained white, blue and shiny chrome aircraft that has been cared for in a hangar since its retirement in the late 90s at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (the former Williams Air Force Base) in AZ. Recently; the GSA had tried to sell off the aircraft for @ $50,000 with no takers. They then turned and contacted the Castle Air Museum and offered the aircraft to them for permanent display.
In its capacity as both Air Force One and Air Force Two, it carried Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and Vice Presidents George H. Bush, Dan Quayle, and Walter Mondale as well as several of the First Ladies.
A Castle Airport based company; TBM/TASCO was instrumental in getting the airplane ready for and conducting the one-time ferry flight to Castle.
The author (Scott Malta, shown at right), of this article had the privilege to escort the aircraft from the runway at Castle Airport to parking and, shhhhh, he even got to sit in the Big Chair on board the aircraft.
A web video was shot live by Bruce Anderson, and can be seen at: Video
If you are travelling through or to the Central Valley of CA and like airplanes, a stop at the Castle Air Museum is a must! There are over 60 aircraft on display on the grounds including such unique aircraft as: SR-71, B-36, B-47, KC-135, KC-97, British Vulcan Bomber, and the entire Century-Series of fighters, to name but only a few. More information about the Castle Air Museum can be found at: http://www.castleairmuseum.org