It’s a 145-foot-long bird that flew Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy across the world from 1959 to 1962, then VPs and VIPs through the ’90s.
Now a Jacksonville firefighter paramedic whose off-duty job sees him detailing Corvettes and Cadillacs is part of an elite team shining up America’s first Air Force One from the silver tips of its 130.8-foot wingspan to its blue-painted Pratt and Whitney jet engines.
Mark Elliott of Fire Station 31 on Hillman Drive also owns Firehouse Auto Spa. He was selected out of hundreds of detailers nationwide for the Air Force One team at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
Elliott is one of 50 working this week on automotive and aircraft detailer Renny Doyle’s team, The Detail Mafia. Job one: Polish Air Force One, a 258,000-pound Boeing 707-120, then work on 15 other historic planes through Sunday.
“I was just amazed to be a part of the project and conserve history,” Elliott said. “It is all about being an American, and touching this aircraft is priceless.”
The job these detailers do with Air Force One and other planes in the 52-year-old museum’s collection is much appreciated, spokesman Ted Huetter said.
“That’s the great thing for us, that they volunteer their time,” Huetter said. “That was Renny Doyle’s idea, and they are honored to work on this plane and it has spread out to others. … We provide some room and board for them, and Doyle has become very good at providing added sponsorship.”
The Museum of Flight near King County International Airport just south of Seattle has 160 aircraft and spacecraft as varied as a 1962 Bowers Flybaby and a Lockheed M-21 Blackbird spy plane. As for Air Force One, it was the first jet airliner to carry presidents starting with Eisenhower, as well Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon when they were vice presidents. It is on loan from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
Doyle operates Attention to Details Ltd. and began working on…