The Columbine – First Air Force One

November 1st, 1948

Here is the link to the original article I ran into about “Columbine 3.”  It was found in Santa Fe, was also apparently in Roswell, was flown out of Santa Fe to Tucson (not Mesa) Arizona where it is now, at the Avra Valley Airport, maybe 20 miles north of Tucson.  Steve Shadley of KKZZ would probably have up to date information, but it looks like the plane hasn’t moved up to the 2015 date for the Google image data.

Another article here, that I just found, demonstrates how much information really is available on the web.  Actually very fast answers for the questions about the aircraft as we discussed (wondered about) today – I guess this model did only go 300 mph.  So now I find out that I was only on one of the three “Air Force One” Eisenhower jets, BUT were all three jets “in service” when he took that first “Flight to Peace” tour, and what number was the Peace Tour jet, or were all three used?

The MAIL article has better pictures, and claims a Roswell period not listed by the airplane buffs above.

Here is the link to the original article I ran into about “Columbine 3 (sic).”  It was found in Santa Fe, was also apparently in Roswell, was flown out of Santa Fe to Tucson (not Mesa) Arizona where it is now, at the Avra Valley Airport, maybe 20 miles north of Tucson.  Steve Shadley of KKZZ would probably have up to date information, but it looks like the plane hasn’t moved up to the 2015 date for the Google image data.

Another article here, that I just found, demonstrates how much information really is available on the web.  Actually very fast answers for the questions about the aircraft as we discussed (wondered about) earlier today – I guess this model did only go 300 mph.  So now I find out that I was only on one of the three “Air Force One” Eisenhower jets, BUT were all three jets “in service” when he took that first “Flight to Peace” tour, and what number was the Peace Tour jet, or were all three used?  Who cares, but I want to know.

The MAIL article has better pictures, and claims a Roswell period not listed by the airplane buffs above.  One of the Columbine Constellations (restored) is also in Tucson, at the Pima Air Museum, location image.

Anyway, just to (in part) explain some of my interest in this ‘plane situation’:  When I left Washington D.C. after my fourth grade year (and the teacher that thought I was a “savage”) I flew non-stop from National Airport (now Reagan – ugh and double ugh) to Los Angeles International (LAX) on a TWA Constellation (July 1958).  My parents were still in Washington buying stuff at the drugstore (literally one thousand dollars of stuff) for the upcoming two years to be spent in Afghanistan.  The stuff had to be bought early and shipped (maybe six or seven months in transit).  I flew alone on the nine or ten hour flight.  I loved the Constellation, it was such a unique and special aircraft, especially with its “triple tail.”  Three years later and the Constellations were pretty much all gone from scheduled passenger service.

However, my parents took one of the first trips that McColloch (Chain Saws and small boat Outboard Motors) offered when the company bought desert land along the lower Colorado River to build and test their outboard motors.  They built housing for their workers to buy (company town thing) and then decided to market and sell a whole “City” – Lake Havasu City it was called, kind of like Mesa Del Sol, but with water, but far more isolated.  (No nukes nearby.)

The McColloch people bought the second Constellation pictured on this website.  The very same plane that my parents flew in (in 1965) from Reno, Nevada to Lake Havasu City in Arizona, and back.  They didn’t buy the lot that McColloch pitched, but the entire trip for both of them was free, including the airplane ride, the food, and overnight lodging overlooking the river.  Either the December date on on the website is wrong, or my parents may have been on just about the first trip (flight).

Wiki:  “The federal property was an abandoned landing strip for the military. McCulloch made a deal with the state government and received the property for free with a promise to develop the land. The problem was that the real estate agents could not bring in prospective buyers, because the land was far from centers of population and had a very hot, arid climate.”

Anyway, as you can see by the Wiki article, the free flight on a Constellation angle did not work, so they (the McColloch people) bought the London Bridge instead; and since everybody thought it was the Tower Bridge (the best known ‘London Bridge’) that was moved to Arizona, everyone flocked to Lake Havasu to see it.  Now there are more than 50,000 people there, so maybe Mesa Del Sol needs a bridge, or at least a Constellation.