Rumors of a high-level federal official visiting the Scottsbluff area Monday were just that – rumors; however, the presence of the blue and white plane with “United States of America” on the side known as Air Force Two was absolutely real.
The modified 737 that carries dignitaries such as the Vice-President, First Lady or Speaker of the House on their official travels was at the Western Nebraska Regional Airport for training according to Airport Director Raul Aguallo. “They called a couple days ago and were asking if they could land at Scottsbluff, if we could take the weight of the aircraft. We take that 737-style plane all the time, so they just decided to come here and do some training,” said Aguallo. “Why the picked Scottsbluff, I have no idea, but it’s really exciting to have Air Force Two on the ground. We have brand-new Rampower units, so we can give them power in the morning to get them out of here.”
Aguallo says the crew trained with such maneuvers as touch-and-go’s during the course of the day, and was scheduled to depart some time Tuesday morning.
He tells us there was an instance in the recent past during the Obama Administration when Air Force One was slated for a stop at the Scottsbluff Airport, but that did not materialize.
Aguallo says accommodating a plane as large as the 747 used by the President would generally take place only in an emergency.