Automotive designer Tom Kellogg, left, at a 2001 car show in Carrollton, Georgia, with Laurance Loewy and photographer Ross Stansfield.
President Donald Trump waves from Air Force One as he arrives at the Pennsylvania Air National Guard at the Pittsburgh Airport to visit H&K Equipment company on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, in Coraopolis, Pa. (Stephanie Strasburg/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)
By Tyler Rogoway, Thw Drive.com
Donald Trump made the already ongoing procurement of new Air Force One aircraft a token defense spending issue even before taking office. Since then, the first year and a half of his presidency has
been chock full of news regarding what is a relatively tiny but critical acquisition program within the Pentagon’s massive portfolio. Outright false claims of huge savings on the new aircraft, the controversial move to buy orphaned airframes once destined for Russia, and the airplane’s apparent lack of critical capabilities are just some of the issues that have reared their ugly head regarding the White House’s direct involvement in the program. Now the President wants to do what seems to be unthinkable, to change the iconic blue, white, gold, and seafoam (“Luminous Ultramarine”) paint scheme that has adorned the flying White House since JFK sat in the Oval Office over half a century ago.
In fact, Jackie Kennedy was a pivotal player in the creation of Air Force One’s now iconic livery, transforming the design from the less than elegant flight-test orange motif to the one know so well today.
The President and the First Lady get off the new Air Force One (SAM26000) the day before the President was assassinated.
The New England Historical Society tells how the famous paint job came to be:
Air Force One looks the way it does because President John F. Kennedy sat on the floor of the Oval Office with an industrial designer, scissors, paper and crayons.
It was May 1962, and the Air Force had ordered a Boeing C-137 Stratoliner for the president… The Air Force had designed a red-and-gold color scheme for the plane, a modified long-range Boeing 707.
Raymond Loewy, the world’s preeminent industrial designer, viewed the Air Force One design as hideous.
Loewy owned the largest design firm in New York. He had designed Lucky Strike cigarettes, Studebaker cars, Coca-Cola bottle, Electrolux refrigerators. The press called him The Man Who Streamlined America.
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, with her unerring sense of style, lobbied the president to hire the French-born Loewy.
Loewy met with the president twice. The first time, he and Kennedy sat on the floor of the Oval Office drawing with crayons and cutting up paper to come up with a livery for Air Force One.
Then Loewy visited the National Archives to examine historic documents. He was struck by the first printed copy of the Declaration of Independence, it had the country’s name set widely spaced in capital letters in a typeface known as Caslon.
Kennedy had already ordered the Air Force to remove the military lettering in favor of the simple United States of America. And he told Loewy he liked blue.
Loewy chose two blues: slate and cyan. He left the underside of the fuselage silver and added the presidential seal near the nose, a large American flag to the tail, and the words “United States of America” in capital letters using the Caslon typeface.
The First Lady had a hand in designing the interior of the plane. Kennedy had his own entrance, a pale blue rug with an American eagle in the center of an oval with 13 stars, a customized bed, a stateroom, a conference room and glassware from Tiffany’s.
VC-137C SAM26000 served Kennedy and many other Presidents, Vice Presidents, and dignitaries over its long service life. Here it is seen wearing the Air Force One livery as it is towed into the display hangar at Wright Patterson AFB.
So this is not just screwing with some airplane’s paint job, it is destroying a historic work of art by a legendary designer and one of America’s most beloved White House couples. The paint scheme is part of our collective heritage and a major reason why Air Force One remains one of the most recognizable symbols of American ingenuity, might, and prestige to this very day.
So POTUS seems to want Air Force One’s appearance to be a ‘louder’ visual affair, something akin to a flying flag. Donald Trump has a long history with aircraft of his own, which are famously known for wearing red, black, white, and gold schemes with a huge italicized TRUMP on their fuselages. Even his lower-profile Citation X had huge Rolls-Royce logos and his made-up family crest painted by its cabin door. Trump’s 757, which once belonged to Paul Allen and replaced his ultra-gaudy 727, was also used as a constant backdrop during his campaign. So although this development is troubling, it isn’t very surprising.
What the President wants to do with his personal property is fine. I actually get a kick out of the crazy branding on his airplanes and helicopters and his in-your-face branding style has made him a wealthy and famous man. There is no doubt that he definitely has an amazing knack for self-promotion. But this isn’t his plane. It belongs to all of us. And turning it into a silly 4th of July fireworks stand billboard can’t happen. It wouldn’t make us look powerful. It would make us look ridiculous.
Many people have joked that Trump will paint a giant eagle on the nose of Air Force One. When it comes to Presidential aircraft, there is actually a precedent for that. A VC-118 Liftmaster nicknamed Independence had just this motif when it flew President Truman around. This was before the cultural lore of Air Force One was established though.
It’s fine that the President wants to put his touch on the new jets. Including some unique interior elements and other small details like adding a big bed and some gold-plated fixtures or something really shouldn’t be a problem. But changing the aircraft’s outward appearance is.
Clearly, the USAF brass will have some very strong opinions of their own about fooling with Air Force One’s historic and elegant look. But the question then becomes would they actually be willing to take on the White House over such an issue? Probably not, especially considering how this President holds brutal grudges.
The good news is we still have at least a few years before the first of two 747-8i replacements for the USAF two aging VC-25As enters service, so enjoy their gorgeous paint scheme why you still can.
And please, nobody tell POTUS that a new Marine One will be arriving even sooner.
By Samantha Masunaga
A year and a half after President Trump first blasted the cost of the presidential planes as “out of control,” aerospace giant Boeing Co. has officially landed the $3.9-billion contract for the next generation of Air Force One jumbo jets.
The contract, announced by the U.S. Air Force on Tuesday, will include detailed design, modification, testing and certification of the two 747-8 jumbo jets.
The announcement comes five months after the White House said it reached an “informal deal” with Chicago-based Boeing to pay $3.9 billion for the aircraft. At that time, Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said Trump’s negotiations saved taxpayers more than $1.4 billion, a claim that was repeated in a statement Wednesday from the White House.
But an aviation analyst has said the new Air Force One planes were always expected to cost about $4 billion. And Defense Department budget estimates for fiscal year 2019 project that the Air Force One program will cost about $3.95 billion through fiscal year 2023.
Trump first criticized the price of the program via Twitter in December 2016, saying that the planes would cost “more than $4 billion. Cancel order!” Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg then met with Trump and told reporters that they would cost less than $4 billion.
The planes are already built. They were originally ordered in 2013 by a now-defunct Russian airline that never took ownership of the commercial aircraft, as reported by trade publication Defense One. Boeing will add special features, such as defense systems and structural modifications designed to provide extra protection to those on board.
The new planes will replace the modified 747-200 jets that have been in service since President George H.W. Bush’s administration in 1990. Over their years of service, the planes have been upgraded with safety, self-defense and avionics improvements. But as the aging commercial fleet of 747-200s leaves service, the supply of replacement parts has dwindled, according to an Air Force official.
There are newer two-engine commercial airliners than the 747, but a four-engine plane is required to meet the electrical power production, safety and aircraft size and weight needs of Air Force One, the official said.
The existing Air Force One planes are “near the end of their operational life,” said Todd Harrison, director of the aerospace security project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It’s more cost-effective in the long run to buy a new plane.”
A prior contract award notice for the new planes indicates that modifications will include a mission communications system, electrical power upgrades, a medical facility and “autonomous ground operations capabilities.”
The special equipment allows the president to direct military forces and even launch nuclear weapons from the plane during crucial moments, Harrison said.
“The purpose of this plane is not just to move the president around,” he said. “In a crisis, it’s a mobile command platform for the president.”
On Tuesday, Trump told CBS News that cosmetic changes are also in store for the new Air Force One planes.
“I said, ‘I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colors,’” he said. “Air Force One is going to be incredible, it’s going to be the top of the line, the top in the world, and it’s going to be red, white and blue.”
Air Force One’s distinctive, light blue exterior color stretches back to the Kennedy administration, when then-First Lady Jackie Kennedy worked out a new color scheme and interior design for the presidential aircraft in consultation with an industrial designer, said Ken Walsh, White House and political analyst at U.S. News & World Report and author of “Air Force One: A History of the Presidents and their Planes.”
Kennedy gravitated toward the robin’s egg blue color because “she felt it was understated, but memorable, and President Kennedy agreed,” he said.
Since then, presidents have maintained that light blue exterior and the plane has become a recognizable American icon, in the vein of the Statue of Liberty or Mount Rushmore.
“The existing look of Air Force One has come to symbolize the United States,” Walsh said. “It’s the most recognized plane in the world. [Trump] changing this already all-American design strikes a lot of people as excessive.”
Work on the new planes will be done in San Antonio and is expected to be finished by December 2024, according to the contract award listing on the Defense Department’s website.
From Travel and Leisure magazine
John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson descend the presdiential plane showing a pre-Loewy livery. Credit: Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
President Donald Trump has had a troubled relationship with his official jet, complaining early onthat the new version Boeing was working on was too expensive and threatening to cancel the contract. But his latest displeasure is with the aesthetic of the plane that doubles as a residence and command center in the sky.
According to Axios, President Trump wants to get rid of the iconic livery that has graced the Air Force One fleet or decades, complaining that the ‘luminous ultramarine blue’ is a “Jackie Kennedy color.” Axios reports the President would rather have a “more American” look.
During Jackie Kennedy’s time as first lady, she earned the admiration of millions around the world for her grace, elegance, and style. She inspired a revival of design in the White House and abroad.
But the livery of Air Force One was actually created by someone with a greater design legacy: the father of industrial design Raymond Loewy. Loewy was an American designer, born in Paris, and famous around the world for a range of industrial designs and logos ranging from Coca Cola machines to the Exxon logo and even to the iconography of the U.S. Postal Service.
His early design career started when he emigrated to New York in 1919, after completing his military service in the engineering corps during World War I. Loewy’s illustrations appeared in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. He also worked on window displays for Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s. Loewy’s massive body of work earned him a place on the cover of TIME magazine in October 31, 1949, surrounded by many of his creations, including planes, trains and automobiles. He also appeared on the cover of the New Yorker shown in his design office with a number of his enduring logos.
Loewy had a very grounded and practical design philosophy, favoring a functional, clean beauty over garish decoration.
“Good design keeps the user happy, the manufacturer in the black and the aesthete unoffended,” he said.
Loewy also had a passion for aerospace, helping NASA by developing over 3,000 designs for the space program.
He worked on the Air Force One project at the request of President John F. Kennedy and donated the work in the service of the nation. President Kennedy selected the design in blue and specified that the letters for ‘The United States of America’ should be similar to the lettering on the heading on the Declaration of Independence.
His original design concept for the Presidential plane, which is in the collection at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), was for a Boeing 707 aircraft which entered service in 1962.
The 747 model which flies as Air Force One today did not have its first flight until 1969, and the first VC-25s—747s that are specially modified to meet the security and communications needs for the President— were introduced during the administration of President George H. W. Bush. But, even though the aircraft changed in the years after Kennedy, Loewy’s iconic livery has been constant, an easily recognized symbol of the U.S. around the world.
One of Loewy’s initial drawings, at MoMa , shows a red stripe to complement the luminous ultramarine. President Trump can simply go back to the drawing board and re-introduce Loewy’s red white and blue color scheme, respecting the livery’s legacy while making himself happy.
If he decided to try something radically new, it wouldn’t be the first time that an American livery abandoned a world-famous designer. American Airlines got a lot of flack in 2013 for ditching the eagle logo and livery design by Massimo Vignelli which had served the airline since 1967, and replacing it with a new logo and livery by Futurebrand. Most have now made their peace with the new look. Of course, the presidential plane is more symbolic than any commercial airline.
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE and DAVID KOENIG, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says Air Force One is getting a patriotic makeover.
Trump says the familiar baby blue color on the presidential aircraft will give way to a red, white and blue color scheme. Updated models could be in service before the end of a potential Trump second term.
“Air Force One is going to be incredible,” Trump told CBS News. “It’s going to be top of the line, the top in the world, and it’s going to be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that the Air Force awarded Chicago-based Boeing Co. a $3.9 billion contract for two presidential planes that will be ready in 2024. They will replace a pair of Boeing 747 jumbo jets that are now 31 years old.
The contract confirms a deal reached in February by Trump, the Air Force and Boeing. Sanders said the final price represented a savings of $1.4 billion from an initial contract proposal.
The presidential plane — it goes by the radio call sign of Air Force One when the president is on board — was once a Boeing 707 that had orange above and below the nose and “United States of America” painted on the sides in blocky, all-caps lettering.
According to Boeing history, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy picked new colors for the plane used by her husband, President John F. Kennedy. A swath of baby blue covers the nose and sweeps back along each side of the fuselage. The lettering was changed to a font inspired by the heading of the Declaration of Independence.
The livery was the work of French-born industrial designer Raymond Loewy, whose previous clients included Lucky Strike cigarettes and Studebaker cars. The Museum of Modern Art in New York describes his Air Force One design as modern and elegant.
The plane is immediately recognized around the world.
Trump said he began thinking about a redesign after reaching a deal for new planes.
Loewy wrote that President Kennedy picked the blue paint scheme over a red one. Some accounts said Kennedy rejected the Air Force’s red and gold theme because it looked too imperial.
David Hagerman, who was married to Loewy’s daughter and knew Loewy’s widow, said Mrs. Kennedy wanted Air Force One redesigned because she considered the old livery ugly. Dropping the baby blue now, he said Wednesday, “is an insult to the memory of Jacqueline Kennedy.”
“It’s a travesty to break from tradition and put a new paint job on the plane,” Hagerman said. “Air Force One is the No. 1 iconic symbol of America worldwide.”
The awarding of the final contract comes after more than a year of back-and-forth between Trump and Boeing over the cost of new planes.
Trump tweeted in December 2016, after he was elected but before taking office, that costs for the program were “out of control, more than $4 billion.” He added, “Cancel order!”
Boeing chief executive Dennis Muilenburg and Trump met several times to discuss the Air Force One contract. Boeing boasted that it was proud to build the new presidential planes, and it promised to give taxpayers a good deal.
Boeing said work including design, modifications and testing of two 747-8 planes will be done in San Antonio and is expected to be finished by December 2024.
Koenig reported from Dallas.
And now a page from our “Sunday Morning” Almanac: November 5, 1893, 124 years ago today — Day One for the man called “The Father of Streamlining.”
For that was the day Raymond Loewy was born in Paris.
An award-winning model airplane designer while still a boy, Loewy moved to the United States after World War I, and went to work.
He transformed the railroad locomotive and the Greyhound bus. He designed modern sewing machines and popcorn machines … and filled his home with his own creations…
On the CBS show “Person to Person” in 1956, Loewy explained his design philosophy: “I felt it was my duty to try to do whatever I could to introduce a little beauty among the things and the surroundings we live with.”
… a theme he expanded on in a 1979 “60 Minutes” interview with Morley Safer. “Good design,” he said, “is a design that does not get obsolete, number one, that stays classic, like a Greek statue. That’s good design.”
By then, Loewy had designed the 1962 incarnation of Air Force One, inside and out. And he designed NASA’s Skylab, just for good measure.
He transformed many a logo as well: the Post Office into the Postal Service … Esso into Exxon.
But Raymond Loewy is perhaps best remembered for the car which he designed for Studebaker in the 1960s: the Avanti. To this day, it’s one of the models most prized by collectors of classic cars.
1975 Smithsonian Institution opened The Designs of Raymond Loewy, a four-month exhibit dedicated to “the man who changed the face of industrial design.”
1972 Poll of stylists representing the Big Three automakers voted his 1953 Studebaker Starliner Coupé an “industry best.” Also named one of the most influential Americans by LIFE magazine.
1967 Began working as a habitability consultant to NASA.
1965 Joined the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped.
1962 After designing the Shell logo, it becomes such a recognizable icon that Shell drops its name from their advertisements.
1961 Designed the Studebaker Avanti, holding to the motto, “weight is the enemy.”
1954 Designed the Greyhound bus.
1953 Designed the Studebaker Starliner Coupé, which the Museum of Modern Art later called a “work of art.”
1952 Founded the Compagnie de I’Esthetique Industrielle in Paris, France.
1951 Published second design textbook, Industrial Design, and his autobiography Never Leave Well Enough Alone.
1949 Appeared on the cover of TIME magazine.
1939 Redesigned the Lucky Strike cigarette packaging.
1937 Published first book, The Locomotive: Its Aesthetics.
1936 Designed the GG-1 electric locomotive for the Pennsylvania Railroad.
1934 Designed the Coldspot refrigerator for Sears Roebuck & Company.
1930 Hired as a consultant by the Hupp Motor Company.
1929 Redesigned the Gestetner mimeograph machine. Founder and art director of Raymond Loewy, William Snaith, Inc., in New York City (later established as Raymond Loewy International).
1919 Provided popular fashion illustrations for magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Freelanced as a window designer for department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s.
Mengel room design