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Douglas VC-118 “The Independence”

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Douglas VC-118 “Independence” at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on April 23, 2016. This aircraft is one of ten Presidential aircraft in the collection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 “The Independence” at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on April 23, 2016. This aircraft is one of ten Presidential aircraft in the collection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Douglas VC-118 “Independence” at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on April 23, 2016. This aircraft is one of ten Presidential aircraft in the collection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 “The Independence” at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on April 23, 2016. This aircraft is one of ten Presidential aircraft in the collection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Douglas VC-118 “Independence” on display in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 “The Independence” on display in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Douglas VC-118 “Independence” on display in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 “The Independence” on display in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jim Copes)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Douglas VC-118 “Independence” on display in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 “The Independence” on display in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Douglas VC-118 “Independence” and the Douglas VC-54C “Sacred Cow”  on display in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 “The Independence” and the Douglas VC-54C “Sacred Cow” on display in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Douglas VC-118 “Independence” on display in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Douglas VC-118 “Independence” on display in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" cockpit in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 27 of 32

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 28 of 32

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 "The Independence" interior view in the Presidential Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

Early photograph of The Independence with a yellow eagle’s beak. It was repainted white later because the yellow paint interfered with the weather radar. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Early photograph of "The Independence" with a yellow eagle’s beak. It was repainted white later because the yellow paint interfered with the weather radar. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Douglas VC-118 “Independence” being towed to the fourth building at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on April 23, 2016. This aircraft is one of ten Presidential aircraft in the collection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
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DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 “The Independence” being towed to the fourth building at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on April 23, 2016. This aircraft is one of ten Presidential aircraft in the collection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

DAYTON, Ohio -- The Douglas VC-118 “Independence” being towed into the fourth building at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on April 23, 2016. This aircraft is one of ten Presidential aircraft in the collection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)
PHOTO DETAILS  /   DOWNLOAD HI-RES 32 of 32

DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas VC-118 “The Independence” being towed into the fourth building at the National Museum of the United States Air Force on April 23, 2016. This aircraft is one of ten Presidential aircraft in the collection. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)


Note: Visitors are permitted to walk through this aircraft.



This Douglas VC-118 on display was the second aircraft built specifically to transport the President of the United States. A military version of the Douglas DC-6 commercial airliner, it was used by President Harry S. Truman from 1947 to 1953. At the suggestion of the aircraft’s pilot, President Truman named it The Independence in recognition of his hometown, Independence, Mo.

 


In 1947 U.S. Army Air Forces officials ordered the 29th production DC-6 to be modified as a replacement for the aging VC-54C Sacred Cow presidential aircraft. Different from the standard DC-6 configuration, The Independence included an aft stateroom for the president and a main cabin which seated 24 passengers or 12 “sleeper” berths. Other improvements included reversible-pitch propellers, weather radar, a radar altimeter, autopilot and other advanced navigation equipment. Water injection gave the engines more power at takeoff, and larger fuel tanks enabled it to fly nonstop to any location within the continental United States. The Independence had a unique, bright color scheme, recommended by the Douglas Aircraft Co., consisting of a stylized American eagle with the feathers carried down the fuselage to the vertical stabilizer.


The Independence was formally commissioned on July 4, 1947, and President Truman made his first official flight in the aircraft on Aug. 31 to an international conference at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One of the plane’s most historic flights occurred in October 1950, when it carried President Truman to Wake Island to discuss the Korean War situation with Gen Douglas MacArthur.


In May 1953, after nearly six years of White House service, the U.S. Air Force retired The Independence from presidential service, and it became a VIP transport for several Air Force organizations. The aircraft was retired from service and placed on display at the museum in 1965. In 1977-1978, museum personnel restored The Independence and returned the aircraft to its former presidential markings and eagle motif paint scheme.


TECHNICAL NOTES:

Crew: Nine (plus 25 passengers)
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-2800s of 2,100 hp each

Maximum speed: 360 mph

Range: 4,400 miles

Ceiling: 31,200 feet

Weight: 93,200 lbs. (loaded)  

Click here to return to the Presidential Gallery.

 

Find Out More
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Douglas VC-54C Sacred Cow
Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Engine
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View the Independence Passenger Cabin
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View the Independence Executive Stateroom View 2
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Video
Independence Moves into Fourth Building
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