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Santa Barbara Man Helps With Finer Points of Detailing Air Force One

Robert Regan, aka 'the Auto Detailing Teacher,' says he was 'thrilled to help preserve a piece of history.'

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Santa Barbara resident Robert Regan, known as “the Auto Detailing Teacher,” was a part of a team detailing the historic Air Force One. Exterior work included a cleaning of all surfaces, treatment and removal of oxidized paint, polishing all painted surfaces and sealing the exterior paint.(Robert Regan courtesy photo)

Santa Barbara resident Robert Regan, known as “the Auto Detailing Teacher,” has returned from a week spent as a member of the team detailing the historic Air Force One aircraft used as a “flying White House” by Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.

Regan was part of a team of highly qualified detailers from across the country, coordinated by Renny Doyle of Attention to Details, who were the first to work on an Air Force One aircraft. Attention to Details and its affiliates help preserve historic aircraft and other forms of vehicles including automobiles and boats from across the globe.

The aircraft preserved and serviced is the very first jet Air Force One SAM (Special Air Mission) 970. This historic aircraft is on display outside the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle.

“This amazing piece of our nation’s history was due for a makeover after having endured Seattle’s famously wet weather,” Regan says. “This team of detailers from across the country was there to help. I was thrilled to help preserve a piece of history.”

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Robert Regan says he was “thrilled” to help with the Air Force One restoration effort. (Robert Regan courtesy photo)
The exterior work included a full cleaning of all surfaces, treatment and removal of oxidized paint, polishing all painted surfaces, and the final step, sealing the exterior paint. The team’s biggest challenge was restoring the badly hazed exterior aluminum finish. The bare aluminum was returned to its original reflective mirror finish with a five-step polishing process and countless man-hours.

“Robert was chosen to be a team member this year for this project because of his outstanding work, a strong work ethic and his background in education,” Doyle says. “He applies his skills as a teacher to detailing and he is a real professional. We look forward to working with him on projects in the future.”

For 11 years, VC-137B, a special Boeing 707 model, has been on display at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. Since 1996, when Air Force One was granted to the Museum of Flight, 2 million visitors have stepped back in history aboard the “flying White House.”

Julia McHugh is a public relations representative.

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