For six days, detailers are washing and waxing, primping and polishing, 12 hours a day, until the original presidential jet looks presidential. It isn't easy being clean, especially if you're a 185-foot-long Boeing 707 and one of the most important planes in history."It takes a very skilled individual to work on the aluminum that's on this airplane," said Renny Doyle, a California detailer and owner of a detailing training program. The task of making it sparkle can't be trusted to just any old cleaning crew.
"They bring us back every year," said Doyle, founder of the Air Force One Detailing Team.
Evan Elliott of the Museum of Flight said, "They have that thrill to get out here and do it. And they get the job done."
Doyle has brought dozens of the nation's best auto and aircraft detailers to the Museum of Flight.
"Back home," Doyle said, "they may be detailing pickup trucks or minivans."
But here, for six days, they're washing and waxing, primping and polishing, 12 hours a day, until the original presidential jet looks presidential.
"It's already beautiful," Doyle said, "but we're going to make it even that much prettier."
It started in 2002, with this single plane.
Doyle said, "It's a museum piece. It had to look like a museum piece."
Now they detail a whole fleet of 17 planes.
"We've got approximately 25 gallons of polish, 25-hundred microfiber towels," said Doyle.
For these volunteers, it's an annual act of patriotism.
"This is one of the only gifts that we can all give to our country, is doing this," Doyle said. "Every year we meet somebody special that makes us cry. Last year we had a World War II fighter ace came through. When I asked him, 'Hey, what are you doing here?' he said, 'Well, I wanted to come one last time."
This plane's days of flight have long since passed, but the Detailers of Air Force One plan to stay on duty for years to come.
"My kids are going to be able to come back here and know Dad played a part in preserving this piece of history. It's going to go on past me," Doyle said. "It's a labor of love, but we love doing it."