Ex-presidential jet about to land at Castle in Atwater

10/15/2013 6:24 PM

10/15/2013 11:11 PM

A significant piece of presidential history is flying into Castle today.

A Douglas VC-9C that once flew former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton and former first ladies from Rosalynn Carter to Laura Bush and all vice presidents from Walter Mondale to Dick Cheney is due at 1p.m. at the Castle Airport – a short distance from its new home, the Castle Air Museum.

A reception commemorating the plane’s arrival begins at noon at the Castle Field Terminal Building, with area, state and federal officials planning to attend.

The aircraft will be available for public review at the conclusion of ceremonies – about 2:40 p.m. until 4p.m., Joe Pruzzo, Castle Air Museum executive director, said.

The new plane, which served with the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland from 1975 to 2005, joins 60 other vintage military aircraft at the museum. The plane is flying in from the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport after having logged 16,000 flight hours during its service.

The plane will be temporarily stored in a hangar at Castle until the air museum completes a structure housing about 20 planes at the complex. The first phase of this project is set to begin in spring or summer, Pruzzo said.

The plane was donated to the air museum by the U.S. Department of General Services.

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