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National Museum of the U.S. Air Force opens fourth building

DAYTON, Ohio — The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force’s new $40.8 million fourth building, including aircraft such as an Air Force One, the Titan IVB space launch vehicle and the only remaining XB-70 Valkyrie, opened to the public on June 8.

The 224,000-square-foot building houses more than 70 aircraft, missiles and space vehicles in four new galleries.

The Air Force One on display, one of 10 presidential aircraft on display in the new building, is the plane that returned President John F. Kennedy’s body from Dallas after his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, and was where President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in.

The plane continued to be used by presidents through Bill Clinton. Other planes in the collection include the Sacred Cow used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Independence used by President Harry S. Truman and the Columbine III used by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The presidential planes had previously been displayed in an auxiliary hangar a mile from the main museum complex in a restricted area of the air force base.

In addition to the massive Titan IVB, the space gallery includes a space shuttle exhibit with a crew compartment trainer and Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecraft. The exotic XB-70, which could fly three times the speed of sound, is part of the research and development gallery.

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, is the world’s largest military aviation museum with more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts exhibited in more than 19 acres of indoor space.