The Flying White House
Presidential airplanes, past and present.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- AirSpaceMag.com, November 06, 2008
NASM SI 93-9672.
Although Franklin Roosevelt was the first president to fly while in office, his distant cousin Teddy beat him to the experience of air travel. “Col. [Theodore] Roosevelt defied death late yesterday when he went up in an aeroplane with Aviator Arch Hoxsey,” United Press breathlessly reported on October 12, 1910. Actually, the former president wasn’t in too much danger: Mindful of his VIP passenger, pilot Hoxsey, a member of the Wright Brothers Exhibition Team, never exceeded an altitude of 200 feet during his two laps around Kinloch Field near St. Louis, Missouri. “I was very careful,” Hoxsey told a reporter. “I said to myself, ‘If anything happens to him I’ll never be able to square myself with the American people.’” Roosevelt enjoyed himself immensely during the three-minute jaunt, waving enthusiastically to the cheering 10,000-plus crowds (watch a video here). “That was the bulliest experience I ever had,” Roosevelt told Hoxsey. “I envy you your professional conquest of space.”