One of the highlights of a trip to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum is the chance to step aboard Army One--the helicopter used by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. Extensively restored and now on permanent display at the library, the helicopter presents visitors with a rare chance to see how presidents traveled aboard one of the most storied aircraft ever made.
The helicopter, which seats sixteen and cost a million dollars to construct in 1960, is a six-ton Sikorsky VH 3A "Sea King" model, bureau number 150617. During its presidential service, the helicopter was known either as Marine One or Army One, depending on whether Marine or Army pilots were operating the craft. President Nixon used it on more than 180 trips, including on overseas visits such as his summit meeting with President Anwar Sadat of Egypt in 1974.
Perhaps his most famous use of the helicopter was his last, on August 9, 1974. On that day, President Nixon resigned and flew in the helicopter from the South Lawn of the White House to Andrews Air Force Base, where he boarded Air Force One for a flight to his private residence in San Clemente, California.
The helicopter was retired from White House service in 1976 and later used for the training of Secret Service. After being put in storage, the helicopter's interior and exterior were restored, and it was installed on the grounds of the library in 2006.
The Sikorsky VH 3A "Sea King" helicopter is on loan courtesy of the National Museum of the Marine Corps.