Colonel C J Tippett did not fly Air Force One

Air Force One at PDX in Portland, Oregon on July 24th, 2012.

I can ignore one pass of a heavy helicopter over the house… immersed in my blogging as I am, but I cannot ignore three.
So low and so loud that it shakes my pen off my desk… I finally realize that Something Is Going On In Portland.

It is a Coast Guard helicopter and it isn’t landing. It’s circling just beyond the hospital, towards the river, towards the…. Convention Center.

ah, President Obama is visiting Portland, Oregon today. I remember. I made a note to remind myself because traffic was going to be utter hell on that day. But I forgot. And based on the twitter traffic #ObamaPDX, it wouldn’t have mattered if I had remembered. The max trains and the pedestrian walkways and the freeways and the surface streets are all standing still as the motorcade passes. Wow. Thousands of people are going to be late this afternoon, no matter where they were going. Kind of a downside to rating high enough as a voting block to earn a visit from the President of the United States.

But I am focused on getting my grandfather’s aviation history biography ready for release and I cannot be distracted for long by such things as current events… until I realize that if President Obama is at the Convention Center, then…….
Air Force One must be double-parked at PDX!!

And sure ‘nuf, yes it is. Now that catches my attention.

Because the very first Air Force One was a Douglas C-54 Skymaster, and that was one of the 98+ aircraft that my grandfather flew!  Not while it was actually designated Air Force One, and not the actual plane that was the first Air Force One, but a plane that was the same kind of plane. Maybe a bit of a reach, but heck, I’m stuck where I am right now because traffic is totally frozen – including foot traffic – so I might as well let my mind soar.

“Air Force One” is actually only an air traffic control sign given to whatever aircraft is carrying the president. Maybe that makes his big black limo “Street Force One” right now. Today’s big bird out at PDX is a Boeing VC-25, the military version of the Boeing 747, only with more missiles than commercial craft usually carry.

But back in 1945, Air Force One referred to a Douglas C-54 Skymaster, and Tip piloted that model aircraft for 8:05 hrs and 7:55 hrs in August, 1958 in and out of Limatambo Airport in Lima, Peru.

Now, I figure that practically makes me best friends with the president and I’m wondering why I wasn’t one of the invitation-only people attending his speech, and being served voodoo doughnuts bacon-and-maple bars.

Seriously, twitter must be the secret service’s worst nightmare.



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