Air Force One Detailing
Jackson Hole News and Guide Article
Wednesday July 15, 2015
Jackson business owner Bobby Poinsett is spending the week cleaning, polishing and preserving the Air Force One jet President Dwight D. Eisenhower traveled in for his 11-nation goodwill tour.
Part of a team of 30 detailers, Poinsett started work Monday on the historic aircraft that also transported President John F. Kennedy.
“It’s not in great condition, so we have to take extra care,” Poinsett said. “We have to be extra careful. If you pull paint off, it loses its value a little bit more.”
The Air Force One that Poinsett and his teammates are sprucing up is housed at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The Boeing VC-137B, the first presidential jet, sits outdoors where museumgoers can study its exterior and walk through its interior.
“Throughout the day people are able to stop by, walk around the plane and go inside to take a look at it,” Poinsett said.
About 10 years ago it became clear the plane needed renovating after years of wear and tear from sitting outside. That’s when Renny Doyle, the master of automotive and aircraft detailing, was asked to repair the jet.
“He was brought in to restore this aircraft because it was so deteriorated over the years it sat outside,” Poinsett said. “Instead of keeping the original paint they were looking at having to repaint the whole plane because it was so far gone.”
After sanding and polishing the aircraft Doyle was able to bring the plane back to the mirror image of its glory days in the late 1950s, when it was used most.
Doyle returns to the museum every year to detail the plane. This year, he invited Poinsett to help clean the jet.
Poinsett met Doyle when he traveled to Doyle’s home in Bear Lake, California, last year to learn more about the detailing business.
Poinsett, who owns Detail Driven in Jackson, returned to California this past May to discover how to detail airplanes.
“I want to eventually get into the private airplane market in Jackson,” Poinsett said.
He joined Doyle’s network of detailers after taking classes from the expert. Being part of the network was what earned him a spot on the detailing team that Doyle handpicked.
“He basically selected a few people from his network to be part of this project,” Poinsett said. “Luckily he asked me to step in this year.”
In addition to improving the condition of Air Force One, Poinsett and his team members will clean and preserve two other aircraft on display at the museum.
They will spruce up the Concorde — the famed supersonic commercial jet known for its luxury and speedy travel times across the Atlantic Ocean.
They also will detail the third 787 Dreamliner that was built.
Poinsett started his own detailing business when he decided airbrushing vehicles wasn’t a big money-earner. Detail Driven has been in business in Jackson for more than four years.
Poinsett said there’s a lot more to detailing than cleaning.
“We have certain tools of the trade the home user doesn’t have,” he said. “For the interiors we use a European steam cleaner that does an amazing job on cleaning stains on seats. It’s a tool you won’t find at someone’s house.”
He also said the art of detailing is becoming a trend.
“These new projects, such as the Air Force One, are becoming a new niche in detailing,” Poinsett said, “that goes way beyond just cleaning a car.”