The impending visit of President Barack Obama to India has raised a lot of curiosity about Air Force One, the official carrier plane specially provided to the President of the US, the biggest power in the world. Air Force One took its first flight in 1959 and has been serving the Presidents of the country since then. The plane has a capacity of nearly 70 passengers and 26 crew members, all of whom belong to the military and have an exemplary service record.
All of them are dedicated in 24 hour service on the flight. The plane has the ability to carry the President whenever he needs to travel around the world, besides becoming his mobile bunker in case of security threat on the ground, as it became during the 9/11 attacks. It is also referred to as the Flying White House as it is equipped to be the office of the President while he is traveling.
Here are some interesting facts about Air Force One:
#1. Currently, two Boeing 747-200 B jets are being used as Air Force One. Both of these customized jets are almost identical and reach a height of a six story building and stretch to the length of a city block. A third plane is expected to join the fleet by 2017.
#2. Air Force One bears the symbols of the Presidency of the US, including the words “United States of America”, the Seal of the President and the American Flag.
#3. Each and every flight of Air Force One gets the status of a military operation. The plane as well as the runway of the Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland is carefully scrutinized by the Air Force crew and then the President is transported there from the White House by Marine One helicopter. The motorcade of the President, which consists of bulletproof vans and limousines, is transported to the destination of the President.
#4. Air Force One can reach the maximum height of 45100 feet and speed of 630-700 miles per hour. It weighs nearly 833000 pounds and has a fuel capacity of 53611 gallons, which is enough to fly half way around the world. It even has a mid air refueling ability.
#5. The plane has an incredible floor space measuring 4000 sq feet, spread over three floors. It has a luxurious suite for the President, along with an office, conference room and lavatory. There is also a bedroom, bathroom, gym area and office space for him.
#6. In addition to the above mentioned amenities, Air Force One caters to the dining needs of more than 100 persons at a time. It also has medical facilities, like a 24 hour on call doctor on board along with a fully equipped operation theater.
#7. There are also quarters for other officials, guests and press reporters on board Air Force One, to accommodate all those who are accompanying the President. There are some parts of the plane where these people do not have access due to security reasons.
#8. Air Force One is equipped to withstand any kind of air attack. For this purpose, it is loaded with electronic counter measures which can jam radar from enemies. It can also give off flares to evade enemy missiles.
#9. The plane has the most amazing electronics, including 85 telephones and multiple computer connections, televisions, radios and fax machines. The plane has nearly 238 m of wiring for efficient running of the systems.
#10. The equipment and wiring on Air Force One is covered with tough and heavy shielding in order to protect it from electromagnetic pulse, which can be there in the event of a nuclear blast.
All theses amazing facts about Air Force One show that it is no less than a spaceship, when it comes to speed and security. Why not, it is meant to be the mode of transport for the most important man in the world!
Air Force One Plane FAQs
Q: How did Air Force One get its name?
Ans: The name “Air Force One” was introduced after an incident in 1953 when a commercial flight with the call sign “Air Force 8610” entered the same airspace as the aircraft carrying President Dwight D. Eisenhower. To avoid confusion, the President’s plane was designated “Air Force One.”
Q: What are the features of Air Force One?
Ans: The Air Force One planes are extensively modified to meet the specific security, communication, and logistical requirements of the President. They feature advanced secure communication systems, defensive countermeasures, onboard medical facilities, conference rooms, and quarters for the President and accompanying staff. The aircraft also have extensive cargo space for equipment and vehicles.
Q: How many Air Force One planes are there?
Ans: Currently, there are two primary Air Force One planes. These planes are almost identical and are referred to by their tail numbers: SAM 28000 and SAM 29000. However, plans are underway to replace these aging aircraft with new ones in the near future.
Q: Who operates Air Force One?
Ans: The U.S. Air Force operates and maintains the Air Force One fleet. The 89th Airlift Wing, based at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, is responsible for the operational support of the presidential aircraft.
Q: How far can Air Force One fly without refueling?
Ans: Air Force One has a considerable range and can fly intercontinental distances without refueling. The Boeing 747-200B series planes used as Air Force One have an approximate range of 7,800 nautical miles (14,400 kilometers).
Q: Is Air Force One equipped with defensive systems?
Ans: Yes, Air Force One is equipped with a range of defensive systems to protect it from potential threats. These systems include electronic countermeasures, flares, and chaff to counteract heat-seeking and radar-guided missiles. The details of the defensive capabilities are classified for security reasons.
Q: Can civilians board Air Force One?
Ans: Normally, only authorized personnel, including the President, their staff, and invited guests, are allowed on board Air Force One. However, there have been a few exceptions where civilians, such as members of the media or distinguished individuals, were permitted on board for specific purposes.
Q: How much does Air Force One cost?
Ans: The cost of Air Force One is difficult to determine precisely as it involves various factors such as aircraft maintenance, personnel, and operational expenses. Additionally, the replacement of the current Air Force One fleet is a complex process with significant costs. The estimated cost for the replacement program is in the billions of dollars.