SAM 27000 was the second of two Boeing VC-137C United States Air Force aircraft that were specifically configured and maintained for the use of the President of the United States. It used the call sign Air Force One when the President was on board, and at other times it used the call sign SAM 27000. The VC-137C serial number 72-7000 was a customized version of the Boeing 707 which entered service during the Nixon administration in 1972. It served all US presidents until George W. Bush and was retired in 2001; it is now on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
The plane first entered service in 1972 during the administration of Richard Nixon. SAM 27000 replaced the aging SAM 26000 as the primary means of presidential travel, although SAM 26000 remained as a back-up plane. SAM 27000 served seven presidents in its twenty-nine years of service: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In 1990, it was replaced as the primary presidential plane by two Boeing VC-25 jumbo jetsSAM 28000 and SAM 29000.
 Nixon and Ford
The Fords in the President's forward cabin on SAM 27000
Nixon was the first president to utilize this Air Force One, dubbing it and its sister plane, SAM 26000, the "Spirit of '76," and having that phrase painted on the nose of the two aircraft (the phrase was later removed). Although SAM 27000 replaced SAM 26000 as Nixon's primary way of flying, he chose to ride SAM 26000 when his family flew with him. Nixon garnered much attention for his frequent flying aboard Air Force One, usually flying to his homes in California and Florida, but also made many foreign trips abroad, such as his trip to China in 1972. Top presidential aides and cabinet ministers used the plane as well, including Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. When President Nixon resigned the presidency on August 9, 1974, he flew to his home Orange County, California aboard SAM 27000. While flying over Missouri en route to their destination, Colonel Ralph Albertazzie, the pilot, contacted Kansas City Center and had the aircraft's call sign changed from Air Force One to SAM 27000 due to Gerald Ford being sworn in.
Gerald Ford used SAM 27000 somewhat frequently, especially for his trips abroad, such as his meeting with Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev in Vladivostok in 1974. After experiencing two assassination attempts, Ford returned to the plane to hear his wife Betty quip, "Well how did they treat you in San Francisco?" During the Ford years, there was a growing number of airline hijackings and the threat of terrorism expanded, so both SAM 27000 and 26000 were equipped with defense systems to detect heat-seeking missiles. It was President Ford who first decided that the name of the aircraft itself should be Air Force One, along with the call sign.
 Carter and Reagan
Ronald and Nancy Reagan wave from Air Force One (SAM 27000) as they prepare to descend the stairs upon the plane's landing in Moscow, Russia
Jimmy Carter made some changes to Air Force One that reflected his personal values. Carter preferred a more simplistic style of living, something he made apparent on SAM 27000; he even insisted that he and his family carry their own luggage aboard. Carter made regular use of the plane both for domestic use and for use abroad. Possibly one of Carter's most famous trips was to Three Mile Island in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania during the Three Mile Island accident. In 1980, after the American Hockey Team defeated the Soviet Team, Carter sent SAM 27000 to pick up the team and bring them back to Washington, D.C. for a congratulatory ceremony. Carter's last trip aboard 27000 was actually taken as a former president, when Ronald Reagan sent Carter to Germany on behalf of the American people, to welcome home the 52 American hostages that were held captive in Iran.
Ronald Reagan works aboard SAM 27000 in 1986
Ronald Reagan was SAM 27000's most frequent flyer, flying longer and farther than all the other presidents who flew on it, traveling more than 675,000 miles aboard it. Reagan used Air Force One to travel to all parts of the world to pursue his ambitious diplomatic goals, taking three trips to Asia, six to Europe, and twelve trips to foreign places in the Western Hemisphere. Reagan flew to three of his four summit meetings with Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev aboard SAM 27000: Geneva, Reykjavík, and Moscow (one was held in Washington, D.C.).
While traveling on SAM 27000, Reagan spent most of his time in his forward cabin, but occasionally made visits to senior staff lounge for meetings with his aides. Reagan seldom slept on the plane, even on long journeys. First Lady Nancy Reagan was also enthusiastic about Air Force One, recalling the first time she flew on the plane: "Ronnie read reports and attended to paperwork, while I kept busy writing letters to friends back home on Air Force One letterhead. Look at me, I'm flying on Air Force One!" The Reagans' last flight aboard the plane was on January 20, 1989, when the now-former President and First Lady flew back to California.
 Missions after replacement
George W. Bush and Laura Bush arrive in Waco, Texas after the completion of the last Presidential voyage of SAM 27000
The plane in the Reagan Library
George H.W. Bush was the last president to utilize SAM 27000 as the primary means of presidential travel, for in 1990 the plane was replaced by two Boeing 747-200B jumbo jets, designated VC-25, although SAM 27000 was kept as a backup plane for Bush during the remainder of his presidency, as well as those of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Its last Presidential trip was August 29, 2001, when it delivered George W. Bush and Laura Bush to TSTC Waco Airport en route to their Prairie Chapel Ranch. On September 8, 2001, SAM 27000 was decommissioned and flown to San Bernardino International Airport in California. It was dismantled there and later driven in pieces to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, where it was reassembled and is currently on public display in the museum.