Own piece of presidential aviation history - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Own piece of presidential aviation history

(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)

Here's your chance to own a little bit of presidential aviation history. A 40-year-old DC9 transported high-level government officials and their staff members from February 1975 to September 2005. 

The State Department has been storing the aircraft and its sister, which was recently donated to a museum in Oregon, at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport for about a year and a half.

"They selected Gateway Airport for our dry climate, the long runways to get the aircraft in and out safely and it's secure," said Brian Sexton, a Gateway Airport spokesman.

Although presidents may have ridden on the aircraft at some point, the DC9 was more commonly used for vice presidents, first ladies, Cabinet members, members of Congress and other government personnel.

The airplane definitely gets a lot of attention at the airport.

"We parked the DC9 close to our passenger terminal, and for about a year, we've had passengers come and go and ask about it. It's been generating a lot of attention," Sexton said.

Despite its age, the airplane is in very good condition. The inside features a 10-seat VIP cabin, a full galley and a rear cabin with 32 first class-style seats. There are only about 700 hours on each engine and they're fired up at least once a month.

"It's rather unusual for an airplane to have this kind of history up for public auction.  And to have it in Mesa and the Phoenix backyard - it's really exciting for all the people in the Valley to come out and see an airplane that has such history up close, it's pretty cool," Sexton said.

The starting bid is $50,000, and all bids must be received by Thursday, May 30.

If you'd like to see more of the airplane, or perhaps even register a bid, click here.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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