Costa Mesa detailer, newly 'made' in the 'Detail Mafia,' gets a big-time job: polish the original Air Force One

A Costa Mesa business owner is one of the newest members of a select group of detailing professionals whose duties include caring for the first presidential jet.

During a recent visit to Seattle’s Museum of Flight, where the original Air Force One is on display, Joab Flores, a 35-year-old Navy veteran and owner and operator of Platinum Plus Mobile Detailing, was given the prestigious task of polishing the American flag on the vertical stabilizer of the Boeing 707-120. The job is given only to veterans.

Flores, who lives in Costa Mesa, also became a “made man” in the “Detail Mafia,” an elite group of automotive detailers founded by Big Bear-based detailer Renny Doyle.

Flores was inducted for his skill, leadership and mentorship qualities.

As he worked on Air Force One, Flores used a lift to reach the stabilizer and gave the flag a salute.

“It was an incredible experience,” Flores said. “I never thought in my business that someday I would be doing that.

“I’m very patriotic,” he added. “That was a highlight for me.”

The 707, on loan to the Museum of Flight from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, was the first presidential jet when it went into service in 1959. It carried presidents Eisenhower through Nixon, as well as various VIPs including Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and diplomat Henry Kissinger, according to the Museum of Flight.

A special crew run by Doyle, known as the Air Force One Detailing Team, works on the plane. The effort began more than 15 years ago, when Doyle was contacted to restore the aging aircraft.

During Flores’ visit, he and about 50 other detailers did various work on nearly 20 aircraft in addition to Air Force One, including a World War II B-29 Superfortress, a 1934 Boeing 247 and the first Boeing 747 jumbo jet.

Flores founded Platinum Plus in 2004 as a mobile business. The father of two expanded it about two years ago by opening a shop in Costa Mesa on Red Hill Avenue, near John Wayne Airport.

Flores joined the Navy at age 18. He served four years as a plumber, welder and firefighter trainer, attaining the rank of petty officer third class.

bradley.zint@latimes.com

Twitter: @BradleyZint

Copyright © 2017, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
57°