Interior Refurbishment Advances
October 8, 2022
The Lockheed Constellation achieved legendary status during its years of service, offering one of the most visibly striking aircraft designs of the time, as well as safe and reliable travel during the post-WWII era. The civilian version was developed from the military’s C-69, used in the latter years of the war. As Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, Dwight Eisenhower Dwight Eisenhower flew in a Constellation that was named Columbine by his wife, Mamie, after the Colorado state flower, her home state. Affectionately known as “the plane that changed the world,” a Constellation was again chosen by Eisenhower when he took office in 1953. Columbine II would become the official presidential aircraft and eventually, First Air Force One.
Dynamic Aviation’s goal is to restore the interior of First Air Force One so that it looks like it did during the Eisenhower Era. All major systems, components and fixtures of the plane will be addressed but the most significant aspect for the public to experience will be the cabin. Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower’s granddaughter, Mary Jean Eisenhower, has provided an exceptional collection of family pictures which will allow us to add detail to the historical record of the plane and provide a near-perfect replica of Eisenhower’s aircraft.
The photographs included with this article show the remarkable work that is taking place to refurbish the interior of First Air Force One.
The cockpit, naturally, is located in the nose section of the aircraft, behind which you find the flight engineer’s station, navigator, radio officer and crew compartment. Moving back (aft), the galley provides food service for the crew and passengers along with storage and a lavatory. This leads into the main cabin or passenger compartment. This would serve as a working space with staff seating, tables and conference space provided. The seats were designed to fold down into a ‘lower berth’ configuration to provide sleeping areas for long-distance flights. In addition, upper berths were fitted into the overhead compartment and could fold down to provide additional sleeping areas.
President and Mrs. Eisenhower had a private stateroom aft of the passenger compartment. Including their dedicated aft lounge and bathroom, their personal section of the aircraft is almost twice as large as the passenger compartment. The stateroom included large, comfortable couches, desks and working areas. President Eisenhower’s famous ‘Atoms for Peace’ speech would likely have been written here. A very modern feature for the time was a presidential call button, which allowed the President to make calls anywhere in the world when the plane was on the ground.
First Air Force One, when fully operational, will not include some of the original Constellation systems, which are now redundant in the plane’s current configuration. Although the Constellation was originally the first civilian airliner to include pressurization, this is not a planned feature to be included as part of the restoration. Long-haul flights will not be part of future itineraries, and flying above the weather will also not be required.
Dynamic Aviation’s history in the aerospace sector spans 90 years. First Air Force One is one of many successful vintage aircraft restorations the company has undertaken over the years. Miss Virginia, a 1943 Douglas C47/DC-3, was restored with the team’s attention to detail and precision, allowing her to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 2019 to participate in the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France.
Your investment in this project will allow us to leave a legacy to future generations of dignity, freedom, and peace through America’s role in today’s world.