Air Force ONE

USA Flag on the Tail of Air Force One

USA Flag on the Tail of Air Force One

For my Father-in-Law’s Birthday, we all crammed in the family truckster and made the 1+ hour drive to Simi-Valley to the Ronald Reagan Library. My Father-in-Law is a Republican, liked the former President immensely (as did his mother).  So, it seemed like a good activity for the family.

Politics aside, the Ronald Reagan is famous and was involved in an amazing historical and interesting time in USA history including the end of the Cold War and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

Of course, I like aviation, so I was excited to see the Air Force One exhibit (my main motivation to saying yes to this trek). Indeed it’s impressive. The retired aircraft is on raised pedestals in a nice sized hanger that includes an open-to-the-sun, glass covered side.

Retired Air Force One from the Reagan Era

Retired Air Force One from the Reagan Era

The aircraft was very nicely restored inside and out and gave an interesting look at how the President used it. They would not allow me to take pictures inside, Sorry. It was interesting to see the avionics and communications display as well as the Presidential quarters and where the military officials kept and guarded “The Football” (the code name for the military strategies, documents, and all the launch codes for the Nuclear Arsenal.) Frankly, from my point of view, that’s a fair amount of scary stuff. I’m glad the Cold War is over. They’re plenty of other scary stuff but now at least the Russians and Their Nukes aren’t one of them.

Anyway, the aircraft is impressive. But after walking through it, you can see why they couldn’t wait to retire it and get a 747 wide-body. I know it’s a ton of money, but it’s OK with me that the President of these United States flies in a modern aircraft.  This 707 convert really was TINY inside comparatively. (Looks like a 737 inside!)

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

Outside in the simulated Rose Garden, stood a monolith of Cold War Symbolism, a piece of the Berlin Wall. An ominous monolith symbolizing the fear as well as the ending of the Cold War.

Marine One at the Air Force One Display

Marine One at the Air Force One Display

The Library also housed a Retired Marine One Presidential Helicopter. This one had not only carried President Reagan and his family and advisers to the Air Force Base, but had been used to take him out of the country to visit Mexican diplomats. This is fairly uncommon as normally it’s only used domestically.

All of these items look bigger on TV!

I wasn’t allowed to take a picture of this either, but I’ve now seen, in person, an actual document of the Magna Carta. On temporary display at the Library, this document is on loan from the Lincoln Cathedral (not to be confused with President Lincoln, the Cathedral is a truly OLD cathedral in Licolnshire, England –  NOT in the USA 🙂 ). This is their comments about it from the Library:

Magna Carta Exhibit Opens:

• The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is pleased to announce the opening of its latest temporary exhibit, Magna Carta: The Essence of Democracy.

Opening January 23rd and running through June 20th, 2009, Magna Carta: The Essence of Democracy will explore why the 1215 Magna Carta is widely viewed as one of the most important documents in the history of our freedom and how it became the cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution. The highlight of this exhibit is the original 1215 Magna Carta, on loan from Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire, England.

Regular admission rates apply to visit the Museum and the Magna Carta exhibit.

Bottom line is the library possibly borders on Ronald Reagan Worshipping, but the information in the Library is unusual, interesting, and tells an interesting story about our country. I couldn’t help but feel patriotic in the presence of Air Force One and a piece of the now fallen Berlin Wall. Interestingly enough, my children THOROUGHLY enjoyed it.  I know, this post doesn’t have much to do with Model Airplanes, but any chance to be around an actual Air Force One and Marine One is a good one for any aviation affecionado, R/C or Full Scale. And since I’m a fairly patriotic person, as far as I’m concerned, any chance to wave the flag is a good one. And bottom line – the Ronald Reagan Library is worth the visit, even if you’re not a Republican.

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