Gift Certificate Information and FAQ's
The purchase of a Gift Certificate allows you to gift a ride on "Ike's Bird" to a favorite person or family member.
A limited number of Gift Certificates for a flight aboard this historic aircraft are available.
The Certificates can be redeemed anytime over the next 24 months.
The plane holds three passengers, two together on the President’s bench seat, and one in the cockpit in the Co-pilots seat.
Your Gift Certificate will come in the mail ready for you to surprise your loved one on Christmas Day. The gift package includes a colorful Gift Certificate with their name printed on it, an 8x10 color picture of the airplane, and an "Ike’s Bird" hat and pin.
The flight experience lasts about an hour and includes 25 minutes in the air. All flights originate out of Dallas Executive Airport at the Headquarters of the Commemorative Air Force.
To redeem your Gift Certificate and schedule your flight, just email us a couple of flight time options and we can get you all set up to fly.
All flights are conducted by professional pilots.
1. Did this plane really serve as Air Force One?
YES. The Eisenhower Administration needed a plane to move the President on short trips. The helicopter was deemed not yet safe enough. The Air Force held a competition and selected the Aero Commander 560A. They renamed it the L-26B and began using it for the President, Vice President, Cabinet, First Family and Secret Service. This aircraft was one of six that was assigned exclusively to the White House. Read about the full history of the plane here.
2. Who can ride on this plane?
Anyone who can safely board. The door is ground level and easy to enter. The age restrictions are as follows:
Riders Age 0 to 4 may not ride on CAF aircraft. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions.
Riders Age 5 to 11 may ride on this plane as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian adult.
Riders Age 12 to 17 may ride as long as they have parent or guardian written consent.
All riders must be able to enter and exit the plane under their own power.
All riders, or their parent/guardian, must read and sign the CAF Hold Harmless Waiver.
3. How long is the ride?
The entire experience is about an hour. You will receive a safety briefing and hear about the history of the plane and the Commemorative Air Force from your pilot. The aircraft will be in the air about 30 minutes. Bring your camera as it will be very easy to shoot pictures and create memories.
4. How many seats are available for riders?
There are three seats available for the riders. The President's Seat is a bench seat and holds two riders. The third seat is in the cockpit next to the pilot. You can ride alone, or bring one or two of your best friends.
5. Where do the flights take place from?
Our home base is Dallas Executive Airport. Most flights will take place from there. There is a restaurant / bar in the terminal, so you can make it an evening, or have a place to meet family and friends before or after the flight. Some flights may take place from other local airports, such as Addison, McKinney, Sherman, or Fort Worth Meacham by prior arrangement.
6. How do you schedule a ride?
Once you receive your Gift Certificate, you can email us at Operations@IkesBird.org. We will call and figure out the best time to schedule your ride.
7. How long is the Gift Certificate good?
The Gift Certificate is good for 24 months from purchase.
8. How much does it cost?
The Gift Certificate costs $495. Gift Certificates can only be bought online. The ride is for three people. We will send you the Gift Certificate, a photo montage of the plane, and an "Ike's Bird" hat and pin for you to present to the person you are gifting this ride to.
9. Who owns this plane?
The plane is now owned by the Commemorative Air Force. It was declared surplus by the Air Force in 1960. She flew freight and passengers for many years, then became inactive. The plane was purchased by Scott Main of Fort Lauderdale, FL. He painstakingly restored the plane over a period of 20 years to its full Air Force / White House configuration. The CAF acquired the plane in 2018 and has since done additional work on the engines, and upgraded the plane with all new electronics / avionics.
10. Who will be my pilot?
"Ike's Bird" is flown by a small group of volunteer pilots. They are dedicated to keeping the history of the plane alive, including flying Veterans through the "Victory Flights for Veterans" program. All are active or retired professional pilots with FAA certification, and have met the rigorous CAF standards of training necessary to fly these historic aircraft.
11. Is the cost tax-deductible?
YES. Since the CAF is a non-profit, 75% of the cost of the ride is tax-deductible. You will receive a tax letter from our HQ operation to include with your tax return.
12, How do I buy?
Just click on the "Purchase a Gift Certificate" button below. Its easy and safe.
If you have more questions, email us at Operations@IkesBird.org.
Once you purchase a Gift Certificate we will print and mail you the original certificate, the photo montage and the hat. You can then package and present the Gift Certificate to the person or group. If you would like more than one Gift Certificate, please fill out a separate form for each one. Thank you.