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Nose - Nixon Helicopter - Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

The VH-3A "Sea King" helicopter used by Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald R. Ford. On display at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California.


Manufactured in 1961 by the Sikorsky Manufacturing Co. of Connecticut, the $1 million ($6.3 million in 2012 dollars) helicopter was developed for use by the U.S. Navy. It is 72 feet, 9 inches long; has a 62 foot diameter rotor; and its twin 1500 horsepower engines are nearly strong enough to keep it aloft while flying on its side. The helicopter has a maximum cruising speed of 140 miles per hour, a range of 600 miles, and a ceiling of 14,500 feet.


Its windows were double-panned, bullet-resistant glass. It had light armor plating to withstand small arms fire, and its fuel tanks were self-sealing.


The aircraft had a crew of three (commander, co-pilot, and flight engineer). It had seats for 16, which included two Secret Service agents and a military attache (who carried the nuclear codes for use during war).


In addition to the four U.S. presidents, another eight heads of state also rode in the aircraft. The helicopter carried Nixon 181 times, including 20 trips between the White House and Andrews Air Force Base; 56 trips from the White House to Camp David, Maryland; and 19 trips from Los Angeles International Airport to Casa Pacific, California (the "Western White House"). The helicopter ferried Nixon from Cairo to the pyramids in 1974, was the helicopter he used to land at the Statue of Liberty in 1972, and was the helicopter he used to leave the White House after his resignation.

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Taken on August 9, 2012