Smallest Air Force One to Debut at EAA AirVenture 2019
(July 17, 2019, DALLAS) - Ike’s Bird, a historic L-26 Aero Commander twin-engine aircraft used by the Eisenhower White House, is coming to EAA AirVenture 2019. Now owned by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), the Aero Commander has the distinction of being the smallest airplane ever to carry the call sign Air Force One.
This aircraft is especially unique because it is one of the original Commanders bought by the Air Force for the use of transporting President Dwight D. Eisenhower and other White House officials on short trips. Of all the L-26s used by the White House, this is the only remaining flyable aircraft. “The CAF is honored to own and operate this aircraft. We are using the plane for a special mission – to provide aircraft rides to veterans with mobility issues at no charge,” says Ike’s Bird Aircraft Director Gerald Oliver. “The airplane’s access door provides easy passenger entry and exit. We call these rides Victory Flights for Veterans.”
“So many of our veterans have been left behind because of physical and financial limitations,” Oliver continues. “We have watched as many vets, after giving so much to their country, stand alone on the ramp as other types of airplanes depart. Physical challenges make it impossible for them to board. With Ike’s Bird we now have an historic aircraft that can safely load and fly these veterans. There is no better way to thank them for their service than by inviting them to fly aboard a former Presidential aircraft.”
The acquisition of Ike’s Bird by the CAF was made possible by donations from CAF members, the general public, and corporate sponsors including Byerly Aviation, PS Engineering, Gulf Coast Avionics, and Bose.
This year EAA AirVenture attendees can visit the airplane and have photos taken in the President’s seat. Ike’s Bird will be parked along the main walkway in the EAA AirVenture Vintage area all week. More information about Ike’s Bird and Victory Flights for Veterans can be found at www.IkesBird.org.
Media Contact: Gerald Oliver, Ike’s Bird Director (312) 953-0357 or Kim Pardon (913) 636-6250