Air Force One, through it looks like a name of the specific aircraft model, this term actually refers to specific planes equipped to transport the Commander-in-Chief in the USA.
Is this aircraft so special? let’s go through the complete details and before that take a look at this video from TheRichest:
What is Air Force One?
The Air Force One was used to describe any Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States of America. Howerver, since the middle of the 20th century, it has been a standard practice to refer to specific planes that are equipped to transport the Commander-in-Chief.
At present, this name refers to one of two highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The Air Force designation for the aircraft is VC-25A.
America’s first Presidential Aircraft:
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first US President to fly in an aircraft while in office. Douglas Dolphin amphibian delivered in 1933 as the first aircraft for presidential travel and was designated RD-2 by the US Navy and based at the naval base at Anacostia D.C. This aircraft was modified with luxury upholstery for four passengers and a small separate sleeping compartment.
The aircraft remained in service as a presidential transport from 1933 until 1939 for six years. During World War II, Roosevelt traveled on the Dixie Clipper, a Pan Am-crewed Boeing 314 flying boat to the 1943 Casablanca Conference in Morocco, a flight that covered 5,500 miles (8,890 km) in three legs.
Concerned about relying upon commercial airlines to transport the president, the USA Air Force leaders ordered the conversion of a military aircraft to accommodate the special needs of the commander-in-chief. As such, the first dedicated aircraft proposed for presidential use was a C-87A VIP transport aircraft. This aircraft, number 41-24159, was modified in 1943 for use as a presidential VIP transport, the Guess Where II, intended to carry President Franklin D. Roosevelt on international trips.
Had it been accepted, it would have been the first aircraft to be used in presidential service. However, after a review of the C-87’s highly controversial safety record in service, the Secret Service flatly refused to approve the Guess Where II for presidential carriage.
The Secret Service subsequently reconfigured a Douglas C-54 Skymaster for presidential transport duty. The VC-54C aircraft, included a sleeping area, radio telephone, and retractable elevator to lift Roosevelt in his wheelchair. As modified, the VC-54C was used by President Roosevelt only once before his death, on his trip to the Yalta Conference in February 1945.
As per the White House website, President John F. Kennedy became the first President to fly in a jet specifically built for presidential use – a modified Boeing 707 in 1962. Over the years, several other jet aircraft have been used, with the first of the current aircraft being delivered in 1990 during the administration of President George H. W. Bush.
Air Force One Interior and Features:
The interior of this aircraft is also called as “flying Oval Office”. It has massive 4,000 square feet of interior floor space. Among its accommodations are:
- Conference/dining room
- Quarters for the president and the first lady
- An office area for senior staff members
- Another office that converts into a medical facility when necessary
- Work and rest areas for the presidential staff, media representatives and Air Force crews
- Two galleys that can provide 100 meals at one sitting
- Multi-frequency radios for air-to-air, air-to-ground and satellite communications allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States.
- Principal differences between Air Force One and the standard Boeing 747 include state-of-the-art navigation, electronic and communications equipment; its interior configuration and furnishings; self-contained baggage loader; and front and aft air-stairs
Apart from these, Air Force One which is a configured 747-200B is the newest and the largest presidential planes. Some of it’s other features include:
- Longer range for presidential travel
- Aerial refueling
- Self-sufficiency at airports around the world
As the President of the United States of America, one must be ready to travel anywhere in the world on a moment’s notice. The aircraft like Air Force One always makes it easier for him to fulfill his travel needs with utmost safety.