redflyer
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Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:17 pm

I remember back in 1973 or early 1974 during the Arab oil embargo then-President Nixon took a commercial flight in order to set an example by conserving on oil consumption (nevermind all the other examples, most of which were notoriously bad, that he set!). I guess the thinking from his poll-watchers was that the public would see him giving up a huge perk of office -- Air Force One -- in order to contribute to energy conservation.

In any event, I was curious if anyone remembered the event and had any details on the one and, I believe, only commercial flight taken by a modern sitting U.S. president. Such as where the flight took him, how many seats were occupied by his Secret Service detail, who monitored the flight from the cockpit, and how far in advance the flight was arranged, especially with regards to flight and cabin crew assignments. I believe he took a UA flight. Don't recall the equipment, but I think it was a 727. Any info is appreciated.
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jetjeanes
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:21 pm

I thought it was a Ua dc-10 he flew and flew in the rear of the aircraft from what i remember,,, but then again at the time id take a dc-10 over that old 707 anyday
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AeroWesty
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:25 pm

It was a United DC-10, IAD-LAX. It was right after the national speed limit was lowered to 55MPH, so he asked the pilot to fly more slowly than normal, which ended up using more fuel, since it took it longer to fly across the country. In the end, Air Force One was flown empty out to California to pick him up to return to Washington, wasting even more fuel.
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AirTranTUS
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:30 pm

It was a DC-10 and the flight took place around Christmas. There was an article in either Airways or Airliners Magazines a few years ago. I have a copy at home, where I won't be till Sunday, and only for a few hours. I will try to remember to get it. I remember reading the flight was not very full (odd for Christmas) and partway through the flight, passengers recognized him and he talked to them. I thought he was in the First cabin, but I forget.

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
In the end, Air Force One was flown empty out to California to pick him up to return to Washington, wasting even more fuel.

That it did.
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AeroWesty
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:43 pm

A little more info from Time Magazine, the Jan. 7, 1974 issue:

Quoting http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,910952,00.html:

As the year came to a close, President Nixon got away for a few days' rest. Flying to California, he did his bit to ease the energy crisis with a symbolic act of conspicuous nonconsumption. Instead of traveling in Air Force One, the President, Wife Pat, Daughter Tricia, nine staffers and 13 Secret Service agents went, unannounced, aboard a United Air Lines DC-10.

Nixon left his $217.64 first-class seat and spent half an hour walking the aisles in the tourist-class section happily holding a baby, signing autographs and chatting amiably with passengers while Press Secretary Ron Ziegler snapped photos. When one 16-year-old girl blurted out: "You look like Bob Hope!", Nixon grinned and replied: "He's a good friend of mine." As he left the compartment, the passengers gave the President a standing ovation.
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redflyer
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While Presid

Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:44 pm

Ok, since there are some on this forum that remember this peculiar event, I gotta ask the question: What was the call sign of the aircraft while Nixon was on board? Even though it was a commercially operated flight, was it redesignated Air Force One for national security purposes or given some other moniker?

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
In the end, Air Force One was flown empty out to California to pick him up to return to Washington, wasting even more fuel.

That is hysterical! I knew he flew just one leg; didn't occur to me he had to get back to DC and he did it via traditional means!
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AeroWesty
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:47 pm

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 5):
What was the call sign of the aircraft while Nixon was on board?

It would have been Executive One.
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United_fan
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Tue Jun 12, 2007 10:32 pm

Quoting AndrewUber (Reply 7):
Was there a pic in the article? I wonder what ship number it was!

There was an article a while back on this flight. The author wasn't sure which UA -10-10 it was. It may be with FX or it may be beer cans.
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isitsafenow
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Tue Jun 12, 2007 11:18 pm

About the same timeframe, Pat Nixon took a IAD-LAX flight. Trickie Dickie was elsewhere. I think she flew AA or TWA on this trip to spread the wealth around...

The Nixons flew the United flight Dec 23 1973, and yes it was a diesal 10.
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[Edited 2007-06-12 16:24:58]
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PacNWjet
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While Presid

Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:30 am

The Airways article is in the August 2004 issue (Volume 11, Number 6, Issue 102), "When the President Flew 'The Friendly Skies'" by Stan Solomon (pages 53-55). The article contains three sidebars: "Which Airplane?" (page 54); "That Was Then, This Is Now" (page 55); and "A First Lady Flies Commercial" (page 55). Images in the article include a photo of the type of United DC-10-10 Nixon flew, a copy of the United timetable with the flight in question higlighted, and a photo of Nixon's ticket jacket for the flight (the president was seated in seat 2A; he was accompanied by First Lady Pat Nixon, his daughter Tricia Nixon Cox, and their dog an Irish Spaniel by the name of King Timahoe). For the record, the specific flight was UA 55 on December 26, 1973 non-stop from Washington Dulles IAD to Los Angeles LAX. The United timetable shown in the article indicates that the flight was scheduled to depart IAD at 17:30 and arrive in LAX at 20:05 and that there were cocktails, a meal served, and audio, but no in-flight movie. The article states that United personnel cosulted for the article can't seem to remember which specific DC-10-10 was used on that flight, but research narrows it down to those with registrations N1801U through N1818U. The published one-way IAD-LAX first class fare for the flight (with a 24-hour advance purchase) was $217.64 which the article states would be $903.07 today adjusted for inflation.
 
isitsafenow
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:42 am

Quoting PacNWJet (Reply 13):
record, the specific flight was UA 55 on December 26, 1973 non-stop from Washington Dulles IAD to Los Angeles

Interesting......WIKIPEDIA show Dec 23rd as the date. I do remember the news article saying most if not all of
F was taken by the Nixons and the secret service. The flight was known as Executive One though this name
was NOT used in cockpit communications.
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EXAAUADL
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:57 am

BTW they then drove all the way from LAX down to San Clemente, which is pretty far.

I think Nixon usually flew into/out of El Toro.
 
luv2fly
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:41 am

The Book Air Force One has information on his UA flight as well. Complete with photos!

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/boo...ry.asp?z=y&EAN=9781589232334&itm=2
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CJAContinental
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:55 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
which ended up using more fuel, since it took it longer to fly across the country

Do you know this for sure, or are you just assuming that it would use more fuel; as you may know, flying too fast, or too slow is inefficient, though there is a perfect speed for that altitude, and perhaps that speed was the most efficient.

E.g., a car travels x meters at 70 mph, and a car travels 80mph the same distance, both cars are exactly the same.

Although the ratio of speed if 0.875:1 respectively, the power required by the engines would have a ratio of around 0.6:1 repectively, therefore more energy would be required.
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AeroWesty
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:06 am

Quoting CJAContinental (Reply 20):
Do you know this for sure, or are you just assuming that it would use more fuel; as you may know, flying too fast, or too slow is inefficient, though there is a perfect speed for that altitude, and perhaps that speed was the most efficient.

I've tried looking up a definitive source for this on the web whenever this question comes up, but haven't been able to find any. I remember it from the ABC News broadcast that covered the story in 1973, is all. It's one of those things that's always stuck in my mind about it, with it being at the time the national speed limit was lowered.
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Tan Flyr
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:24 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 2):
It was a United DC-10, IAD-LAX. It was right after the national speed limit was lowered to 55MPH, so he asked the pilot to fly more slowly than normal, which ended up using more fuel, since it took it longer to fly across the country.

Just for the record, the National Highway Energy Emergency Act ( or something close to that) was signed on Jan.02, 1974

IIRC, the effective date was sometime in Feb. or March of 1974 giving states time to replace thousands of signs with the new 55 , or double nickel speed limit. Little fuel was ever saved, and it turned millions of otherise very law abiding citizens into daily Federal lawbreakers!

I remember the news coverage later that night about Nixons flight that evening and arrival at LAX.
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:50 am

Quoting Tan Flyr (Reply 22):
Just for the record, the National Highway Energy Emergency Act ( or something close to that) was signed on Jan.02, 1974

Thanks for the correction. I should probably say "proposed" in the same context in the future.
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jhooper
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 6:30 am

Also according to Wikipedia, Air Force One (the 707) still flew the route behind the United, w/o the President onboard--Self defeating, eh?
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TeamAmerica
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:07 am

Quoting Jhooper (Reply 24):
Also according to Wikipedia, Air Force One (the 707) still flew the route behind the United, w/o the President onboard--Self defeating, eh?

In actual fact, yes - no argument. In terms of symbolism it was a bit cynical, but may have had some positive effect, like Pres. Carter wearing a sweater in his TV speeches. In terms of boosting the image of an embattled President...probably a good move. Get close to the people and all that.

Bottom line is that Air Force One exists to keep the President secure and to keep him in essential communication with all elements of the government. It's gotta be a blast to fly on that beautiful plane, but as a "perk" I'd say it is just as essential as the President's armored limo. I want the President to fly on a properly equipped aircraft, and not on United Airlines (with all due respect to UA). airplane 
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USAFHummer
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:51 am

Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 6):
It would have been Executive One.

Can you provide definitive proof of that Westy?
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Viscount724
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:13 am

Quoting USAFHummer (Reply 26):
Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 6):
It would have been Executive One.

Can you provide definitive proof of that Westy?

Excerpt below from FAA procedures manual, accessible on their website. Relevant section at this link
http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraff...tions/atpubs/ATC/Chp2/atc0204.html


7. Presidential aircraft and Presidential family aircraft:

(a) When the President is aboard a military aircraft, state the name of the military service, followed by the word "One."

EXAMPLE-
"Air Force One."
"Army One."
"Marine One."

(b) When the President is aboard a civil aircraft, state the words "Executive One."

(c) When a member of the President's family is aboard any aircraft, if the U.S. Secret Service or the White House Staff determines it is necessary, state the words "Executive One Foxtrot."

REFERENCE-
FAAO 7110.65, Operational Priority, Para 2-1-4.

8. Vice Presidential aircraft:

(a) When the Vice President is aboard a military aircraft, state the name of the military service, followed by the word "Two."

EXAMPLE-
"Air Force Two."
"Army Two."
"Marine Two."

(b) When the Vice President is aboard a civil aircraft, state the words "Executive Two."

(c) When a member of the Vice President's family is aboard any aircraft, if the U.S. Secret Service or the White House Staff determines it is necessary, state the words "Executive Two Foxtrot."

REFERENCE-
FAAO 7110.65, Operational Priority, Para 2-1-4.
 
pnwtraveler
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:16 am

Those days are over for sure. The attempt on Regan's life ended it as far as the Secret Service is concerned. And if that didn't then 9/11 sure did. Had their been a 9/11 type crisis during that flight Nixon would have been pretty much out of the loop unless they landed the plane somewhere.
 
flysherwood
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:34 am

Quoting Pnwtraveler (Reply 28):
Those days are over for sure. The attempt on Regan's life ended it as far as the Secret Service is concerned. And if that didn't then 9/11 sure did. Had their been a 9/11 type crisis during that flight Nixon would have been pretty much out of the loop unless they landed the plane somewhere.

 checkmark 

On 9/11 President Bush had to finally full rank over the director of the Secret Service just to get back to Washington D.C. aboard AirForce One! When are people going to really understand the office of the POTUS. He is the single most powerful leader on the planet. He is leading the only Super Power in the world. That office does not have the time to be fiddling around aboard a commercial flight. And quite frankly as a naturalized citizen of this country, I would be angry and concerned that the President, no matter who he is, is unable to perform the duties of his office in a time of crisis for the length of time he is on board "Executive One".

If you think we have chaos now, just imagine some terrorist succesfully harming the President!  Yeah sure
 
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:00 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 27):

I'm aware of that, thank you, but that does not address the specific situation...I have seen this situation claimed either way...it operated under the "United 55" callsign, or the "Executive One" callsign...I am looking for verifyable proof of which one it actually was
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Viscount724
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:26 am

Quoting USAFHummer (Reply 30):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 27):


I'm aware of that, thank you, but that does not address the specific situation...I have seen this situation claimed either way...it operated under the "United 55" callsign, or the "Executive One" callsign...I am looking for verifyable proof of which one it actually was

What kind of proof are you looking for? I doubt you're going to find anyone with an ATC recording or transcript.
 
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:57 am

RE: Which US President Flew On Commercial Flight? (by AERoc Dec 19 2004 in Civil Aviation)


Theres a few more thread out there on Nixon and his jaunt on UA . . .
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USAFHummer
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:12 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 24):
What kind of proof are you looking for?

Perhaps my Google searches on this topic last night were inefficient, or the information is tucked away in some biography of Nixon, or presidential history, and thus someone can point me in the right direction...if it isnt out there, hey, it isnt out there...but I'd really like to know if it is....
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Viscount724
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:30 am

Quoting USAFHummer (Reply 26):
Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 24):
What kind of proof are you looking for?

Perhaps my Google searches on this topic last night were inefficient, or the information is tucked away in some biography of Nixon, or presidential history, and thus someone can point me in the right direction...if it isnt out there, hey, it isnt out there...but I'd really like to know if it is....

I found this if it helps. Includes the Captain's name. Unfortunately you have to pay a fee to obtain the video of the CBS news report.
http://openweb.tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/1973-12/1973-12-27-CBS-8.html
 
redflyer
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:21 pm

Quoting Pnwtraveler (Reply 21):
Had their been a 9/11 type crisis during that flight Nixon would have been pretty much out of the loop unless they landed the plane somewhere.

I think the military attache that carries the doomsday "football" would have been on that flight with Nixon. I think that briefcase has, in addition to nuclear launch codes, limited communications capability. Not sure if it would have worked in those days from FL350. But with a dozen armed Secret Service agents on board, I've no doubt they would have commandeered the flight to the nearest military installation in the event of a Soviet first strike.

Regards,

R
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chase
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:47 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 20):
(c) When a member of the President's family is aboard any aircraft, if the U.S. Secret Service or the White House Staff determines it is necessary, state the words "Executive One Foxtrot."

Okay, sorry for the pedantic question, but: What if GHWB were on one commercial flight, Barbara (Sr) were on another, and the twins were on another flight, all at the same time?  Wink
 
taxpilot
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:06 am

During President Nixon's last year in office he spent many weekends at his Key Biscayne home. We were part of the massive aircraft movement to south Florida every time he went. We provided mobile radar stations with our EC121 Warningstars (Constellation). Numerous F-102 & F-106 interceptors, HC-130s and various helicopters were also dispatched. I believe the Marine 1 helicopters ferried down to provide transportation from Homstead AFB to Key Biscayne.

On one trip the President flew a USAF C-140 (Lockheed Jetstar) to "save fuel" and then drove to Orlando for a speaking engagement. Of course the VC-137 was flown down the night before and "hidden" in the hanger at Homestead. A C-141 was needed to ferry the limo and secret service vehicles.

I can only imagine the logistics involved today.
 
spacecadet
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While Presid

Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:54 am

Quoting Flysherwood (Reply 22):
When are people going to really understand the office of the POTUS. He is the single most powerful leader on the planet. He is leading the only Super Power in the world. That office does not have the time to be fiddling around aboard a commercial flight. And quite frankly as a naturalized citizen of this country, I would be angry and concerned that the President, no matter who he is, is unable to perform the duties of his office in a time of crisis for the length of time he is on board "Executive One".

I would never suggest we ditch the idea of having a dedicated airliner (or two) for the President now that we have them, but let's be a little realistic here. This is the same sort of arrogant thinking that's gotten us in so much trouble around the world lately.

For one thing, the President would be no more "out of the loop" on a commercial airliner as he is on Air Force One. The Secret Service carries around plenty of communications equipment that works at any altitude, anywhere in the world. Ever hear of a satellite phone?

For another, there are plenty of times in any President's day (especially the current President) when he's probably *more* out of the loop than he would be on an airplane. An airplane can be turned in any direction and flown to any destination on a moment's notice if the President needs to be somewhere quickly. What happens when the President is on one of his many vacations down in Crawford, Texas, in the dead of night, and a crisis breaks out in Washington? He'll get up there eventually, but it takes time to get everything organized. So if you're worried about a President being "out of the loop" on a commercial flight, why not worry about all these other times when the President's basically completely disengaged?

As for security, I mean, Tony Blair rides around on commercial airliners. Most of the world's leaders do. You think people aren't as angry at Blair as they are at Bush? You think there aren't as many nutty Brits as nutty Americans out to "get" their leader? You think other countries in the world haven't suffered even more political assassinations than we have? Now that's arrogance. The UK is not immune to terrorism or assassination attempts, and yet still Blair flies commercial (and lives in a regular house to boot). Why are we so special? Why do we live in such fear?

I don't really think any of these arguments in and of themselves are justifications for having a dedicated plane for the President of the US. I think taken as a whole, all of the arguments (including but not limited to these ones) make a good case, but there are legitimate arguments against it as well. (And there are also arguments for mixing it up - having the Pres. fly commercial on some trips but not others. I certainly don't see it as a given that the President needs to fly his own plane every time he travels anywhere. I mean, he's not the King, he's an elected official.)
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flysherwood
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RE: Pres. Nixon On Commercial Flight (While President)

Thu Jun 14, 2007 6:21 am

What is arrogant about that? If the British have no problem with Tony Blair maybe being harmed, that is up to them. I on the other hand have a problem with the President, no matter who he is, being in a position where it is easier to get harm him. And by the way, he is the leader of the only country which is as hated as it is loved due to its absolute influence on world events. Great Britain is just not in the same category. That is not arrogance, it is the plain truth. Airforce One is a command center for both military and civilian control. That is not something you can do aboard a United A320!  Yeah sure

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