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Presidential plane in Georgia hangar could be restored

February 24, 2019

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. (AP) — There are plans to one day restore a dusty jet in a Georgia hanger — a jet that served as Air Force One during critical moments of U.S. history.

The blue-and-white airplane is housed in the back of a hangar at the Museum of Aviation in Warner Robins, The Telegraph reported .

The Lockheed VC-140B Jetstar carried President Lyndon B. Johnson on short trips while he was in office from 1963 to 1969.

The plane often took Johnson to his Texas ranch, since it could land on the short runway there. Johnson flew on it hundreds of times, museum curator Mike Rowland said.

Though there are plans to restore the airplane, Rowland said he isn’t sure when that will happen.

The restoration would include a new paint job to match the Air Force One color scheme when it flew, the newspaper reported. The restoration would also add the presidential seal and other markings that are now missing.

Intense discussions might have been held on the plane concerning the raging war in Vietnam, the investigation into President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and the civil rights movement, The Telegraph reported.

“I wonder at times, what were the conversations that happened on this plane?” Rowland said as he stood beside it. “What were the decisions that Johnson and others may have made while this airplane was taking them around?”

The other issue is that even when it is restored, a spot is going to have to be found to give it the prominence it deserves, Rowland said.

“We are currently almost bursting at the seams with airplanes,” he said.

The airplane had been retired and sent to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, where old Air Force planes are kept for parts. Employees knew of the plane’s historical importance and thought it should be saved, The Telegraph reported.

The Georgia museum’s staff worked with the Air Force and the plane was restored to flying condition and flown to Warner Robins, Rowland said, and it has been at the museum since the mid-1980s.

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Information from: The Telegraph, http://www.macontelegraph.com