There came a day when Boeing Aircraft, the builder of SAM27000, agreed to a deal where they would indeed be the folks that would take the plane apart and put it back together again, and installing her in the Air Force One Pavilion in Simi Valley, California. It took a little arm twisting but the folks over at the Reagan Foundation are, if nothing else, persistent people. Not only did they convince Boeing to do the job, but they convinced them it would be in their best interest to pick up the total cost of the work to be done. With the exception of the transportation costs the bill came out to something like one and a half million dollars. I would like to add they did the job with a smile on their face. Never once did they slack on the job. Boeing found the best people they could to do the work and someone in executive capacity was there often to oversee what was being done.
As I mentioned earlier, SAM was being hangared in what the people at San Bernardino Airport called the Sheriff’s hangar, the hangar was big enough to house two Air Force One planes, but the work could not be done in that hangar. We needed a hangar with a crane in it, which airplane hangars typically don’t have. I cannot tell you how lucky we were on this project, hard work, real hard work and a lot of luck followed us all through this project. I often owe it to the spirit of this Air Force One aircraft that flew seven US Presidents and countless dignitaries.
The airport had a dilapidated hangar on the field that was nicknamed, “The Disney Hangar.” The Disney people rented it for two years to develop and build a ride that they were going to ship to their new park in Japan, and they had to construct an overhead crane in it in order to do the work. When they left we moved in and inherited the overhead crane.
The plane was rolled out of the Sheriff’s hangar onto the field and the fire department pulled out one of their fire trucks with a high powered hose in it and washed the plane down for us. We then rolled it into the “Disney” hangar and maneuvered it so that it would be in a position to start work. We all wondered aloud once more, how in the heck are we going to do this?