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Air Force One-Half

Illustration for article titled Air Force One-Half

In response to a 1956 US Air Force competition for a jet-powered utility transport, Lockheed developed the JetStar, a four-engine aircraft that held up to 10 passengers. While a large Air Force contract never materialized (the JetStar would go on to be the first successful business jet), Lockheed did manufacture sixteen aircraft for the Air Force, with six of them configured as the VC-140 VIP transport. Six presidents, Kennedy through Reagan, made use of the VC-140, and President Lyndon Johnson frequently flew on one to his ranch near Johnson City, TX (he spent nearly a quarter of his presidency at the Texas White House), referring to his VC-140 as “Air Force One-Half.” Johnson’s aircraft, tail number 12490 (not the one pictured), was rescued from a Tucson, AZ boneyard, restored, and now resides at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site in Pedernales, TX.


Photo via Lockheed

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