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The Reagan "Year"

The "year" was 1976 and Ronald Reagan was ready for his first run at becoming the President of the United States of America.  The job would be no easy task as he would have to take on the incumbent, President Gerald Ford for the nomination of the Republican Party.  As fate would have it, Reagan lost the nomination at the party's convention in Kansas City that August by the narrowest of margins.  Ford then ran against Jimmy Carter that fall for the Presidency and lost.  Reagan finally achieved his goal four years later in 1980 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Hughes Airwest played a major part in Reagan's attempt to unseat Gerald Ford.  The "Committee to Elect Ronald Reagan" was headed by long time Reagan friend, Michael Deaver.  It was Deaver who first contacted Hughes Airwest after becoming unhappy with their previous carrier.  The first Reagan charter flight was on April 9, 1976 from Los Angeles to Cheyenne, Wyoming.  During the next three months, Hughes Airwest DC9's would carry the former Governor of California over 50,000 miles with visits to 19 states and 62 cities.  Deaver was always present on the charter flights along with a wide array of long time Hollywood friends of the Governor.  People like Jimmy Stewart, Robert Stack, and Efram Zimbalist Jr. were ever present in their support of Reagan and his quest.  Here are a few photos that were taken along the way.

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We're not sure just where the "Command Center" is aboard "Air Force One" but in 1976 aboard "RW One," Gov. Reagan always took seat 1E.  When "First Lady" Nancy Reagan was on board, seat 1D and 1E were occupied, otherwise they were available for interviews with on board members of the press or conferences with members of Reagan's travelling staff.

In the above photos, we find "The Governor" seated in seat 1E, removing a nail from his shoe with the "crash ax" that is  normally found mounted on the fire wall behind the "left seat," enjoying a bit of "RW" on-board cuisine, and then checking out a preview of the "Flying Banana Ad Campaign" courtesy of the ever present "after dinner" fruit tray." 
 
                                  "CLICK on an individual image for a larger view.

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Just a few of the Hughes Airwest "in-flight" gang that contributed so much to the success of "The Reagan Year."
 

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A stop in Indianapolis and a trip to Indy that included a fast lap around the famous 2.5  mile oval with Reagan at the wheel of one of the two 1976 Olds Cutlas Pace Cars.  Jimmy Stewart drove the second while the press crew followed in a series of vans.

In flight Memories
"CLICK on an individual image for a larger view.

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And some great times on the ground....

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