The Museum of Flight, located in Seattle, Washington, is the largest independent, non-profit air and space museum in the world. It is home to over 175 air and spacecraft including Air Force One which is the Boeing VC-137B that served as the first presidential airplane flying Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.
In July, as they have for the past 19 years, a prestigious team of detailers from around the world will travel to Seattle and spend several days detailing Air Force One as well as some of the other historical planes on display at the Museum of Flight.
Chris Williams of East Coast Detailing has been selected as a member of the 2023 Air Force One Detailing Team. This honor has been bestowed on Chris for the third straight year through his affiliation with The Detail Mafia. Mafia members have completed advanced training through Detailing Success and, according to the Mafia Board, have proven themselves as mentors committed to ongoing education and exceptional leaders in their profession and community. The Detail Mafia is an exclusive group with just under 200 members and after a vigorous selection process, 35 of the most professional and technologically advanced detailers are selected to work on Air Force One.
Chris’ interest in detailing began when he was an Aiken County firefighter. According to Chris, “Everyone loves a sparkling clean fire truck.” He also recalls a Lieutenant who was very strict about vehicle cleanliness when he served with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office.
Chris’ background in Aiken County law enforcement and fire safety made him a stickler for details. He never wanted to find himself in a situation he wasn’t prepared for. When he made the decision to pursue a career as a professional detailer, he sought the best training and continuing education. That eventually led him to Detailing Success and The Detail Mafia where he now serves on the board. Chris is also a board member of the International Detailer Association and is the only certified, skills-validated detailer in the area.
Chris is looking forward to his third trip to the Museum of Flight and fondly recalls his first visit, “My rookie year I got to polish the tail section. Because of the flag, only detailers that have served their country or community as military or law enforcement are allowed to touch the tail section. It was very emotional and helping to preserve history was so special to me.”
One of the highlights of the trip for Chris is the yearly visit from Captain Dick Nelms (pictured with Chris in front of a B-17). He flew 33 missions and loves to share his story.
For Chris, this is an opportunity to serve but also a chance to work and learn from the best in the business. Plus, he just enjoys the work. His first year he worked on a B29, an all-aluminum aircraft that was 60+ years old. The technique and method required multiple detailers standing shoulder to shoulder moving in the same direction at the same speed to avoid a finished product with zebra stripes running across it.
In addition to his travels to Seattle to work on Air Force One at the Museum of Flight, Chris’ detailing career has taken him to Conroe, Texas to work on jets, The Best of the West Car Show in Ventura, California and Kentucky to work on Corvettes.
Chris is the owner of East Coast Custom Detailing and offers mobile service to Aiken and the surrounding areas. Detailing, paint correction and ceramic coatings are some of the services that Chris can provide to clients either on location or on a valet basis.