DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Frontiers of Flight Museum next to Love Field has landed a time machine. It’s a mock-up of part of Air Force One the way it looked the day President Kennedy was assassinated.
“We want people to see what it was like,” said Daron Clinesmith who works with Nu-Tek Simulations, the company that built the mock-up in conjunction with Presidential Experience, a traveling presentation of exhibits, and Frontiers of Flight. “We’re going to take you back 50 years.”
An antique television in the bedroom area of the mock-up replays footage of the airplane how most people it sought it that November day in 1963 — in grainy black and white on a television set.
“Beautiful sight!” the news announcer beams in the recording of the live broadcast. “Beautiful sight!”
The replica’s creators added so many details to the state room you can imagine President Kennedy huddled up with his advisors over the bench seat next to the airplane’s windows.
Or imagine what it was like after the assassination in the chaos and shock of the people gathered around LBJ as he raised his hand to take the oath of office.
“And there were about 12 people crowded in here at the time,” says Clinesmith.
The room is complete with a Dictaphone, ashtrays and Air Force One cocktail napkins — all from ’63.
At the front of the mock-up is an actual aircraft cockpit. Next to the cockpit entrance is a small table with radio equipment above it, which represents the radio operators post.
Just before LBJ took his oath of office, the man sitting there received a radio message, which now chillingly plays as if the radio was still working: Um, this is situation room,” the man who was radioing Air Force One says slowly. “Relay following. We have information from Mister (illegible) in Dallas that the president is dead. He died about 35 minutes ago. Do you have that? Over.”
A faint, rattled voice from the aircraft replies, “The president is dead. Is that correct?”
“That is correct,” the caller confirms before proceeding with orders for what was to happen next.
And in the bedroom, there are roses placed on the bed to represent flowers the first lady didn’t take with her in the motorcade. A towel is also on display, a copy of the one she refused to use to wipe off her husband’s blood.
“It was very, very… I don’t know,” said Clinesmith as he imagined what the day was like. “That day was kind of eerie the way things played out.”
Visitors can relive those eerie events at the Frontiers of Flight Museum when it opens to the public Friday and remains open through the anniversary of the assassination.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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