WASHINGTON -- A military flyover, the first since Harry Truman's swearing-in in 1949, is being considered for President Reagan's second inaugural celebration scheduled for Jan. 21, officials said Thursday.
John Buckley, a spokesman for the presidential inaugural committee, said the military flyover 'is something that has been talked about, but there is still no absolute decision.'
Buckley said the object of the committee, which works in conjunction with the military and congressional committees in planning the nation's 50th inaugural celebration, is to make it 'as exciting and as historic event as possible.'
The final decision on the flyover, which according to commitee historian Jerry Wallace would be the first since U.S. Air Force B-36 bombers flew over Truman's second inaugural parade route in 1949, would be made by the military. An announcement probably would be made next week, Buckley added.
A military flyover was also scheduled for Dwight Eisenhower's first inaugural in 1953, but it was canceled following protests from safety groups. The only other record of a military aerial display, according to Wallace, was the flight of the Navy's 'Los Angeles,' a lighter-than-air craft that was present for Herbert Hoover's inaugural ceremony in 1929.
An Air Force spokesman confirmed that a flyover by military planes for the inaugural 'has been under discussion', but no decision had been made on whether it would take place, and if so, which branches of the armed services and what type of aircraft would be use. No cost estimate of such a display was available.
Federal Aviation Administration rules banning flights over the Capitol, Mall and White House would have to be waived for the occasion.
Ann Pincus, press secretary to Sen. Charles Mathias, R-Md., who is chairman of the joint congressional inaugural committee, said there would 'definitely' be a military flyover for Reagan's second inaugural, but the details had not been worked out.
In addition, Pincus said, Reagan would be heralded by trumpets after he took the oath of office for the second time and would be honored with a 21-cannon salute.
Despite the elaborate plans for the ceremony, some things will be more casual than four years ago.
For example, members of Congress and the president's entourage are encouraged to wear business suits rather than the traditional morning coats and striped trousers.
Not everyone is happy about the suggested dressing guidelines.
A formal-wear rental company was 'frightfully disappointed,' said John Chambers of the congressional inaugural committee.
In addition to directing the arrangments for the Capitol's portion of the inaugural ceremony, Chambers has been busy taking telephone calls from people around the country who want to take part in the celebration.
For example, he told United Press International, two young women from Ohio volunteered to hold the Bible while the president took the oath of office and numerous clergymen, bus companies, caterers, fireworks experts and even the young daughter of an unnamed senator have asked to participate.
Security will be tighter than ever before with all 140,000 ticketed guests for the actual inaugural ceremony -- the largest crowd in inaugural history -- being required to pass through metal detectors at four designated entrances, which authorities expect to take serveral hours.
And, for the first time, people purchasing tickets for the parade route and for the eight inaugural balls will be required to present identification and to pick them up in person. If someone else picks up the tickets, they too must have identification and a letter authorizing them to pick up the tickets, which are not transferrable.