Oldest Air Force Jet Transport to Retire (Again!)

From:         Scott Jacobson <75706.2201@CompuServe.COM>
Date:         24 Jun 96 12:24:53 
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Three years ago I posted the following note to the Airliners list:

>Last week the Air Force retired 707-153B tail number 58-6970 (MSN 17925,
>line # 33). This aircraft was delivered to the Air Force  in 1958 and was
>the first (KC-135s aside) jet transport used by the air force. It has
>spent its  entire 35 year career at Andrews  AFB flying VIP missions,
>accumulating some 20,000+ flying hours ( a youngster - fatigue wise).
>
>970 was used briefly by Eisenhower but was never officially "Air Force
>One".  Kennedy also used the aircraft at times. By the time  Jet power
>was accepted for regular presidential travel 707-353B 62-6000 had arrived
>for duty as Air Force One and 970 was  relegated to flying lesser VIPs.
>
>970 still had a role to play in history. The aircraft was used by Kissinger
>while negotiating the end to the vietnam war, Al Haig while  trying to
>negotiate a peaceful end to the Falklands conflict, and by LBJ when he
>flew to Dallas in Nov 63 (LBJ returned to DC  aboard 26000 with Kennedys
>body). It was the "shuttle" in shuttle diplomacy.
>
>The aircraft will be making a final flight to the Air Force Museum at
>Wright Patterson AFB sometime in the near future. I will post  the date
>and time when I get it.
>
>I don't know exactly why it is being retired as it seems to have plenty
>of hours left. I expect the Air Force did not want to try
>hushkitting/reengining a  707 subtype that had not already been modified
>commercially - I could be wrong.. BTW: Plans are afoot  to replace the
>remaining 707s at Andrews with 767s sometime before the end of the decade
>- Funds permiting.
>
>One last note: If anyone out there in netland has any interesting anecdotes
>about 970 or any of the other aircraft in the fleet at  Andrews I'd like
>to hear from you and swap stories......

Well as is sometimes the case in the Air Force things did not go according to
the plan I described above.  The aircraft was formally retired with a ceremony,
the folks at the Air Force Museum were anticipating the aircrafts arrival, and
the maintenance folks here at Andrews stripped the aircraft of usable spares.
Then "someone" found the extra millions needed to send the airframe for depot
maintenance, and 970 got a 3 year extension on life!  But now depot maintenance
is due again and the money is not at hand.

Sadly it seems the old bird is due to be ground bound again.  With only 21000+
hours on its airframe 970 will be winging its way west Monday (17 June 96),
bound for the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Scott