In honor of Presidents’ Day, enjoy a little trivia. Have I missed anything interesting in this list? Add it in the comments.
- First president to fly in an airplane: Theodore Roosevelt, who flew in a Wright bros. biplane in 1910, a year and a half after leaving office.
- First president to fly in an airplane while president: Franklin D. Roosevelt, who made a three-day flight by Boeing 314 Clipper to Casablanca in 1943 to meet with Winston Churchill.
- First president to fly a plane: Dwight Eisenhower learned to fly in the late 1930s as a military officer, even though was never a military pilot. The George Bushes were also pilots.
- First president to fly on “Air Force One”: Eisenhower, for whom the designation was introduced following a 1953 incident in which a civilian flight with the same number as the president’s Air Force plane entered the latter’s airspace.
- First president to use a Boeing 707 equivalent as Air Force One: Eisenhower, in 1958.
- First president to use a Boeing 747 equivalent as Air Force One: George H. W. Bush, in 1990. Ronald Reagan’s administration commissioned the VC-25 program.
- First president to use an official helicopter: Eisenhower, in 1957.
- First president to use the current SH-3 Sea King as “Marine One”: John F. Kennedy, in 1961.
- First president to campaign by plane: Kennedy, in 1960. His campaign plane, nicknamed “The Caroline” after his daughter, was a Convair 240 that had been purchased by his father in 1959.
- Last president to fly commercial while president: Richard Nixon, who flew United from Washington to Los Angeles in 1973 as a fuel-efficiency gimmick. The flight’s call sign was “Executive One.”
- President who deregulated the airline industry: Jimmy Carter, who signed the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978.
Photo credit: LBJ Library Photo by Cecil Stoughton