A Bridgewater, Virginia, company is exploring the possibility of returning President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s “Columbine II” to the air. The 1948 USAF Lockheed C-121A Constellation — the first presidential aircraft to be called “Air Force One” — is presently languishing in the Arizona desert.
Dynamic Aviation, which offers a variety of aviation services to government and commercial customers, is exploring the viability of purchasing and preserving Columbine II.
Several key questions remain unanswered, according to company officials, including the availability of certain Constellation parts and the specific engines and propellers that Columbine II requires.
Officials with the company are conducting a worldwide search in the hope that these items can be located and acquired, otherwise they say they “see no way to pursue the preservation of this national treasure.”
Columbine II was retired by the USAF in 1968 and sold surplus in 1970. It then sat in salvage yards in Arizona until 1990, when it was made airworthy again. After flying a few hours, it was parked in Marana, Arizona, in 2003 and has not been aloft since.