Phoenix-area firefighter and automotive detailer John Eydeler of Red Line Detailing has been selected by master detailer Renny Doyle for the 15th Anniversary Air Force One Detailing Team. The Peoria man and 64 other professional detailers from around the nation hit Seattle’s Museum of Flight July 15-22. As a Marine Corps veteran, he will ride a lift up to the top of the vertical stabilizer of the presidential plane, where he will have the honor of polishing the American flag painted there.
In addition to the first presidential jet Air Force One, a new airplane is on the agenda this year. Although they will continue their annual cleaning and preservation of the presidential plane on display at the museum, they will also take their first shot preserving the museum’s newest acquisition, a Boeing B-52G Stratofortress bomber known as Midnight Express. Built in 1960 as a nuclear-armed Cold War platform, she was used extensively during the Vietnam War, and was active during Operation Linebacker II in December 1972, which led to the release of 591 prisoners of war in 1973.
Eydeler is a successful automotive detailing business owner serving all of Phoenix, but due to amazing automotive technology, Eydeler decided to take his detailing business to a higher level. He recently trained and is now certified by the International Detailing Association (IDA) and by Doyle’s Detailing Success. He is also a Phoenix-area firefighter and makes the weeklong Air Force One commitment on a voluntary, pro bono basis.
Doyle has spent 15 years restoring the historic presidential jet to its original glory. The plane was a flying Oval Office for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon. It was in distressed condition when he was first approached by the Bush administration in 2003 to put his skills to work to save it. It took over a decade to fully restore the brilliance of the paint and clarity of the bright work (aluminum). Until 2016, the plane lived outdoors on the tarmac, exposed to the elements, requiring a robust annual cleaning, polishing and protection for its paint and aluminum.
The past two years, the plane has found a home under the museum’s new open-air Airpark Pavilion. Although it is mostly protected from the elements, it is still exposed to the area’s damp climate and extreme temperatures, requiring a rigorous cleaning, polishing, and application of a paint sealant to protect it from year to year.
Also, on the agenda this year is polishing the B-29 Super Fortress, a World War II bomber the team began restoring in 2011; cleaning and polishing the first-ever Boeing “Jumbo Jet” 747; polishing the supersonic Concorde Alpha Golf, which they have been working on since 2014; and numerous other priceless aircraft on exhibit at the Museum of Flight.
“Cleaning something as big as a jet airplane has its challenges, but when you are cleaning aircraft valued at hundreds of millions of dollars and that have historical significance, it requires unique skills and knowledge of paint and bright work,” Doyle said. “The first time I laid eyes on Air Force One 15 years ago, I doubted whether it could be saved — that is how challenging the project was; however, I see what John has done and I know what he can do. He is one of the best.”
“When I got into the detailing business, I never dreamed I would be participating in such a prestigious project as detailing Air Force One,” Eydeler says. “I am honored by the opportunity to work on this historic aircraft, but I am also thrilled at the chance to work on other iconic aircraft like the World War II B29 bomber, a B52 bomber, the Concord Alpha Golf, and many other museum treasures.”
For more information about Eydeler’s selection to the 2018 Air Force One Detailing Team at the Seattle Museum of Flight, contact him at 602-318-1664 or Kimberly Ballard at 256-653-4003.