In 1961, the U.S. Air Force acquired six Lockheed VC-140B JetStars to transport the President of the United States, high-ranking government officials and other heads of state. The VC-140B is the military version of the famous Lockheed Model 1329 business jet, the first business jet produced in quantity for the civilian market. Assigned to Andrews AFB, Md., these JetStars could operate from runways too small for larger USAF jet transports.
The VC-140B provided fast and economical travel for several US presidents. Whenever the president was aboard, it flew under the radio call sign Air Force One. Lyndon B. Johnson used JetStars extensively during his time both as vice president and president, and because of the aircraft’s small size, he sometimes referred to them as “Air Force One Half.” The aircraft on display carried Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan a number of times, although it never served as the primary presidential aircraft. After 26 years of service, this JetStar was retired to the museum in July 1987.
Crew: Four (plus 8 passengers)
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney J60 turbojets of 3,000 lbs. thrust each
Maximum speed: 598 mph
Range: 2,200 miles
Ceiling: 45,000 feet
Weight: 41,000 lbs. (loaded)
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