James Akers is usually known for his work with cars.
He’s an owner and operator of D1 Detailing in Manteca. Akers was one of a select few last month to be part of the much-anticipated 2021 Air Force One Detailing Team at Seattle’s Museum of Flight.
“I was excited and also very humble,” he said on being part of the hand-picked group that worked on the first presidential jet plane known as SAM 970 – or Special Air Mission – a flying Oval Office for four U.S. Presidents (Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon).
This Boeing 707 also entertained VIPs and dignitaries such as Nikita Khrushchev and Henry Kissinger.
Akers was part of group of 20 chosen by Master automotive and aircraft detailer Renny Doyle of Detailing Success.
The last time work on Air Force One SAM 970 along with the historic World War II B-29 Super Fortress Bomber was about two years ago.
The recent restoration efforts took place on July 11-18 at the Museum of Flight, and was made possible by a “generous benefactor,” said Doyle.
“Everyone invited was at the top of their market in the detailing industry,” Akers said on Thursday.
He added: “(We) worked on more than five different aircrafts in six days.”
Doyle, meanwhile, noted that he picked Akers for his 2021 team because of his dedication and commitment to the art of detailing.
“These are priceless vintage aircraft and there was no room for mistakes. I trusted him and his eye for perfection and looked forward the having him on the team this year,” he said.
According to Doyle, work was necessary on Air Force One and a B-29 Bomber two years of “weathering of the paint and oxidizing of the aluminum” – given Seattle’s wet climate – especially on the Super Fortress Bomber with its 100-percent aluminum fuselage.
The latter, scarred with 50 caliber bullets during action in the Pacific, was rescued by the Museum of Flight after being abandoned in an Arizona desert.
The Air Force One Detailing Team, years earlier, brought the Super Fortress Bomber back to its original glory, Doyle said.
Akers has been with D1 Detailing for the past three years. He attended Manteca High before transferring to Venture Academy, graduating from the agricultural-based charter school in 2006.
He also attended Lincoln Elementary School.
Akers was thrilled with his involvement of providing his touch to significant pieces of U.S. History.