If your only interaction with Air Force One was by way of the 1997 Harrison Ford film, Air Force One, you likely have been misled. While the film did a great job of showing how cool Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman looked at 45,000 feet (more on that later), it did a poor job of showing just how insane the history of the President’s private fleet actually is. Today, we are going to walk you through 30 stunning facts about Air Force One that will leave you feeling downright Presidential!
Traveling at the Speed of Sound
Alright, we might be exaggerating just a little bit. Air Force One is still one of the fastest planes on the planet as it can reach a top speed of 600 miles per hour! A really interesting story regarding the speed of Air Force One came by way of an F-16 escort team that had to speed up to keep up with Air Force One September 11th. When the President needs to get somewhere quickly, you know that his plane can be trusted to get the job done.
‘Air Force One’ Is Actually a Call Sign
While we use the phrase ‘Air Force One’ when referring to a specific set of planes, that technically isn’t correct. In fact, the phrase ‘Air Force One’ was invented purely as a call sign to avoid confusion while the President was traveling. Having a unique radio call sign allows for the name to be ascribed to any aerial vehicle that the President of the United States is currently flying in.
The Plane Has TWO Amazing Kitchens
When the President of the United States is traveling, he expects to have his luxuries alongside. Air Force One is not only outfitted with two amazing kitchens, but the plane is also constantly stocked with personal favorite dishes of the President and their administration. President Reagan famously requested jellybeans to always be at the ready during his flights and the Air Force was sure to accommodate him!
There Are Multiple ‘Air Force One’ Planes
Even though we call it Air Force ‘One’, there are actually two military planes dedicated to the President and designated with the ‘Air Force One’ call sign. Having a backup plan is all about making sure that the President is prepared should something go wrong. Both planes have been in operation by the United States government since 1990 with one jet always being cleaned, primed, and ready for takeoff.
Fully Equipped With a Mobile Hospital
If you are going to be traveling with the President of the United States, you must be prepared for everything. Air Force One is outfitted with a fully functional mobile hospital to assist the President or other occupants of the plane should a medical emergency arise. Additionally, a refrigerator is always stocked with the President’s personal blood type. The government spares no expense when it comes to taking care of the POTUS.
Getting Work Done at Mobile Command
Most people don’t realize that working as the President of the United States is more than a full-time job. In fact, the President is ALWAYS on duty. As a result, Air Force One required a mobile command center that would allow the President to carry on with their agenda should they be forced to stay aboard for prolonged periods of time. We will get more into this a little bit later. Just know that the mobile command center on Air Force One is outfitted for duty.
Absolutely Enormous Floorplan
When we talk about the size of Air Force One it can be hard to really emphasize how huge the vehicle is. This floor plan gives a pretty detailed look at the sheer size of the Air Force One jet itself. The plane features three floors as well as more than 4,000 square feet of space. Inside of the airplane, you will find a gym, a full bathroom with a shower, a huge office, and even a conference room. Yeah, we think the President has enough legroom.
Boeing Designed the Current Air Force One Jets
We could talk a long time about the dangers of mingling state and corporate interests, but we will spare you the lecture. Instead, we’ll highlight the fact that the current crop of Air Force One jets was made by the team at Boeing after the corporation secured the contract. Boeing has been making airplanes for the United States government for decades and that won’t change anytime soon.
Outfitted With State-of-the-Art Defense Technology
If there is one airplane you want to be in when everything hits the fan, it is Air Force One. The current Air Force One models possess just about every defensive measure that you can imagine. From flares that can be ejected to assist in evading missiles to bulletproof glass and super-secret surveillance cameras, Air Force One is ready for battle. We are sure that there are even more private security features that we haven’t even been told about.
Meet Marine One, the Presidential Chopper
The President can’t always fly around in his jet, so sometimes a helicopter will have to be taken instead. Marine One is the official radio call sign for the Marine Corps helicopter dedicated to flying the President around. Lockheed is the contractor currently in charge of producing six brand spanking new helicopters for President Trump. These new choppers are going to feature antimissile defense, ballistic armor, and the best pilots on the planet.
More Than 85 Phones On Board
Kevin Gates would have a field day aboard Air Force One! As it turns out, the President’s favorite airplane has more than just two phones. In fact, there are 85 phones aboard the aircraft that all have been secured for use by the President and his administration. Alongside the 85 phones, guests on Air Force One will be treated to high-speed WiFi, more than 20 television sets, and a host of other technological marvels.
Secret Surveillance Cams Litter the Body
Inside the wheel wells on Air Force One are ultra-high-definition cameras that were installed for security purposes. These cameras are purportedly so powerful that they can easily read the license plate numbers of vehicles traveling on the ground below. While nothing has been confirmed, it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to think that the entire plane was outfitted in similar camera defense technology.
Let’s Introduce You to the Doomsday Plane
In the event that a Doomsday event is upon the planet, the President will be able to ride it out at 45,000 feet thanks to his Doomsday Plane. The Doomsday Plane actually refers to four special vehicles that have been designed to withstand a nuclear attack. Air Force One will sometimes be accompanied by these highly classified airplanes during travel.
Flying Safely With a Presidential Doctor
We already talked about the mobile hospital aboard Air Force One, so we might as well introduce you to the President’s aerial doctor. When the President travels on Air Force One, he is always joined by the best of the best in the medical industry. A medical professional is always on board Air Force One to render aid to the President should the need arise.
Capable of Refueling Middair
Did you know that we have the technology to refuel airplanes while they are still in midair? It’s true! With that technology available, it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that Air Force One can stay in the air indefinitely. Air Force One can be refueled by a second plane at almost anytime, thus allowing the President to travel extremely long distances or to forego landing in the event of an emergency on the ground.
Boeing Will Be Replacing Their Jets Soon
The current crop of jets in the Air Force One arsenal have been in use by the President since 1990. While these planes are still the best on the planet, they are due to be replaced in the coming years. Boeing recently won a $3.9 BILLION contract to create a pair of Air Force One planes by 2024 to replace the current models. We can only imagine what these new vehicles will feature. What do you think Boeing has in store for the President next?
Around 70 People Can Fly At Once
When the President travels on Air Force One, he never goes alone. Air Force One is designed to seat around 70 people comfortably, though we’re sure that they have room for a couple of extra individuals. With that being said, the majority of that group will be comprised of Secret Service officials, members of the Presidential Administration, as well as senior advisers and the like.
Carefully Cared For at Andrews Air Force Base
When Air Force One isn’t in the air or in use by the President, the jet is secured at Andrews Air Force Base located right outside of Washington D.C. Andrews Air Force Base is heavily secured with armed guards while contractors clean, repair, and prepare the plane for use once again. Air Force One is meticulously cared for to a degree that is almost obsessive! Seriously, the entire plane is hand polished before every flight!
Air Force One Never Sits At a Terminal
When was the last time you saw President Trump walking through an airport terminal? The truth is that Air Force One never actually has to park at a terminal! Whenever Air Force One is at an airport, all air traffic surrounding the area is grounded. What’s more, the President’s personal plane gets full use of the tarmac where his Presidential motorcade will be waiting for him.
The President’s Media Entourage
We talked about the President’s entourage a little bit already, but there is more to learn. When the President travels, he always brings a ‘protective press pool’ featuring reporters and representatives from major media outlets. These journalists have to pay their own way while agreeing to hand over all their information to other members of the White House press. For some reason, we can’t imagine that President Trump has too many reporters on his plane.
THIS Famous Historical Photo Was Taken Aboard Air Force One
This sobering photo is among the most famous in American history. Just hours after the death of John F. Kennedy Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson would be sworn into office on board Air Force One. The look on a horrified Jackie Kennedy’s face says it all. The ceremony was presided over by Judge Sarah Hughes, a friend of Lyndon B. Johnson.
FDR Established the Presidential Pilot Office
Air Force One wasn’t always the monolithic entity that it is today. In fact, Air Force One wouldn’t really be what it is without the help of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR can be thanked for establishing the Presidential Pilot Office, otherwise known as the Presidential Airlift Group. Remember how we mentioned that Air Force One gets polished before every flight? Well, these are the men and women that make it happen.
Every Flight Costs Taxpayers MEGA Money
Every single time that Air Force One takes off, American taxpayers are bled just a little drier. Flying in and maintaining Air Force One costs a significant amount of money no matter how you slice it. Every single time that the President goes to Mar-A-Lago for a weekend of golf, taxpayers will be charged around $207,000. When you consider that President Trump heads to Mar-A-Lago to golf literally every weekend, well, we don’t even want to do the math.
Each Air Force One Flight is a Military Op
Air Force One is a part of the Air Force, obviously. Because of this, every single flight that Air Force One undertakes will be treated as a military operation. Whether the President is traveling to Mar-A-Lago for golfing or a meeting with foreign dignitaries, the Air Force treats the operation as they would any other vital military operation.
Jackie Kennedy Helped to Redesign Air Force One
Air Force One and the Kennedy family seem to be intertwined, don’t they? Jackie Kennedy was always known for her amazing fashion, and she was sure to share her keen eye with the team behind Air Force One. First Lady Jackie Kennedy would commission Raymond Loewy to design the interior of Air Force One while she personally looked over the exterior redesign. You can thank Jackie Kennedy for how Air Force One looks to this day!
Presidential Motorcade Flies in Style
Every single time that we see the President disembark from Air Force One, he heads to the Presidential Motorcade waiting right outside the door. The Presidential Motorcade is flown ahead of Air Force One in a cargo jet so that it is ready for the President when he arrives. This means that the President’s bulletproof motorcade is also getting premier air travel.
Air Force One Can Be Considered a Nuclear Bunker
When we describe Air Force One as a fortress, we aren’t even exaggerating. Air Force One can be described as the perfect place to be when a nuclear bomb goes off. Air Force One has been designed and reinforced to survive a nuclear attack. Combined with the efficacy of the Doomsday Plane, it seems like the President and his team are thoroughly prepared for anything that could be thrown their way.
FDR Was the First President to Fly on Business
We wouldn’t have Air Force One as it exists today without the enormous contributions made by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Not only did FDR play a huge role in propping up the Presidential Pilot Office, but FDR put his money where his mouth was by flying on the newly introduced craft. FDR was the first President of the United States to fly on official state business as he hopped numerous times from Florida to his destination in Morocco four days later.
Air Force One Far Outpaces President Trump’s Private Plane
While President Trump may love the gilded interior of his own personal plane, Air Force One is significantly better in just about every technical way. President Trump may have a personal theater on his plane but Air Force One is a flying nuclear bunker with technology that we are positive we don’t even know about. Who wouldn’t want to fly on Air Force One?!
Air Force One Has a Specialized Flight Crew
In order to even stand in the same room as the President of the United States, you are going to have to endure intense screening and security processing. To fly the President? That’s an entirely different security process altogether. The President of the United States has a highly screened and extensively investigated private flight crew for all excursions aboard Air Force One. We can’t imagine how stressful that job is.
Ike Was The First President to Fly in a Jet
While FDR was instrumental in the creation of Air Force One as we know it today, he wasn’t the first person to fly in a jet for his country. Boeing ‘s 707 Stratoliner earned the honor of hosting President Dwight Eisenhower. In doing so, Ike and the 707 Stratoliner made history together.
Different Rules For Air Force One and Air Force Two
Did you know that the Vice President and President have different rules when it comes to flying in the air? It’s true! When the Vice President is on board Air Force Two, he will not have access to any alcohol. As it turns out, alcoholic privileges are reserved for Air Force One. We have no idea why, but isn’t that fascinating?
George H.W. Bush Banned Broccoli From Air Force One
To say that George H.W. Bush was anti-broccoli would be putting it lightly. As it turns out, President George H.W. Bush hated broccoli so much that he actually banned the vegetable from making its way onto his plane. Why do we suddenly have an image of a stubborn young H.W. fighting with his family at dinner?
240 Miles of Wire Run Throughout AF1
Air Force One is outfitted with 85 phones, 20 televisions, and who knows what else. These electrical devices don’t run on super-secret government energy sources, they run on electricity. In order to accommodate all of the devices on the plane, more than 240 miles of wire were laid throughout the craft. Yeah, we don’t envy anyone who has to replace that wire.
The Presidential Limo Makes Every Flight
We’ve talked a little bit about the President’s motorcade, so let’s take a moment to highlight his personal limousine. The Presidential Limousine goes wherever the President goes, for obvious reasons. The President’s limousine is a highly secured vehicle that is outfitted with features that the President probably doesn’t even know about.
Air Force One Wasn’t the FIRST Presidential Fleet
While Air Force One is the most famous Presidential plane, it is far from the first. Historically speaking, prior to the invention of the Air Force One call-sign, most presidents just named their planes themselves. FDR had his own plane, named ‘The Sacred Cow’, which featured a private elevator shaft to haul up his wheelchair.
The Fuel For Air Force One Is Fiercely Protected
Refueling Air Force One is obviously very important. What makes it especially important is that the fuel supply could easily be tainted by hostile actors, were it to fall into the wrong hands. That being said, nobody is going to get close to AF1’s fuel unless they are cleared to do so. The President’s fuel supply is rigorously guarded by the entirety of might that the U.S. Armed Forces has to offer.
The President Has a Private Trade Entrance
How many times have you seen the President waving atop a set of stairs connected to Air Force One? Every single time the President has landed, right? This staircase is a private entrance reserved only for the President and his family as well as a select few VIPs. Everybody else enters and departs from the back.
A Second Oval Office
If the President is going to be flying throughout the year, it makes sense that he is going to need a second office. Only when the President has an office, it has to be the Oval Office. After the September 11 attacks, a second Oval Office was installed on Air Force One and, yes, it is actually shaped like an oval!
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