Air Force One - Transport US-President

The Transport System of the US-President

Tim Takeoff
1 picture
6 minutes

When the big blue and white plane with the American flag appears, even laymen recognize that it is the world-famous “Air Force One” of the President of the United States of America. But how does this name come about, and is it the only means of transport for the top leader of the United States?

Of course, there are considerably more means of transportation for the head of state than just Air Force One. As early as the late 1800s, the President already travelled in specially modified means of transport. While at that time dedicated trains and ships were used, nowadays the White House primarily uses air and land transport. A superlative plan is set in motion as soon as a trip of the President is on the agenda.

The White House - US President
The “White House” in Washington / © Pixabay skeeze

On land…

On land, the US government uses a convoy of various vehicles. This convoy forms a precisely defined structure around the actual vehicle of the President. The Cadillac, which bears the nickname “The Beast”, is a technical masterpiece: armoured, night vision system, tear gas cannon, run-flat tires, every luxury and even its own air system that cuts off contact with the outside world in case of an NBC attack and ensures the best of service for the passengers. The car is accompanied by up to 45 other vehicles of various functions during official missions. Police, special task forces, a jamming vehicle, ambulances and White House delegates accompany the US President according to precise instructions.

…and in the air

It goes without saying that these very vehicles must be brought into place before each visit by the President. For this purpose, the Air Force uses several C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft and five other converted Boeing 757s, which are available to the Vice President, delegates and White House staff. Each field mission is evaluated as a military mission and is planned and implemented accordingly. All this to facilitate the President’s trip on Air Force One. Planning for this begins more than three days in advance.

Air Force One

Actually, “The” Air Force One doesn’t even exist. Every flying object used by the US President is designated “One”. The rest of the designation depends on which US military force this vehicle belongs to. In the case of the two Boeing 747-200s, this is the “Air Force”. However, if the President flies on board the helicopter from the White House to Edwards Air Force Base to use Air Force One, the helicopter is called “Marine One”, because it is operated by the US Navy. Besides Navy and Army, there is even “Coast Guard One”. However, this has never been used before.

Incredible equipment of the Air Force One

Most exciting is the Boeing 747-200B, military code VC25-A, of which there are currently two planes. The current “Air Force One” aircraft have already been in service since 1987. They were converted by Boeing into a flying “White House” and have highly specialized facilities for up to 70 guests and 23 crew members. In addition to two kitchens (always stocked with more than enough food), numerous conference rooms and rooms for the First Family, the “Air Force One” is equipped with highly accurate communication and air defence systems.

A medical area even has an operating table with doctors on hand. Air-to-air refuelling is also part of the repertoire, allowing the aircraft to remain in the sky indefinitely in the event of an emergency. The legendary suitcase with the US-American nuclear weapons code is also on board “Air Force One”. Not to mention a terrific WLAN. The cost of operating the current machines is estimated at around 180,000 dollars per hour.

The successor

Already in 2009 a successor for the 747-200B was found. Besides the Boeing 747-8, there was also the Boeing 787 and even the Airbus A380. However, since Airbus would have to disclose all construction plans and information of the A380 for these purposes, the manufacturer withdrew completely from the tender.

The Boeing 747-8 was chosen in 2017, and although the newly elected president Donald Trump initially had this order cancelled due to the enormous costs of around 4 billion USD, the order was taken up again in autumn 2017. Already completed B747-8s of an insolvent Russian airline were to serve as a basis for conversion. They will also receive the facilities mentioned (and certainly much more). With the range of the converted Boeing, the President is able to reach the sovereign country from anywhere in the world without further stops. A remarkable piece of technology.

In this video you can learn more about the secrets of Air Force One:

by Tim Takeoff

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