10 interesting facts about Air Force One: Mid-air fueling to 4,000sqft floor space, all about the presidential aircraft
The President’s job isn’t easy. Everyone has high expectations and is keeping a hawk-eyed watch on the Commander-in-Chief. And, with this high profile job also comes a few perks. One of them being the fascinating Air Force One — the presidential plane. If you are also intrigued by it, here are some interesting facts about it.
1. Two of a kind
One might think that there’s only one Air Force One, however, there are two of them. According to a report by CBS News, the Air Mobility Command's 89th Airlift Wing of the US Air Force currently maintains two identical Boeing 747-200B planes for presidential use. These are at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, and are called SAM 28000 and SAM 29000.
2. Fuel on board
There is mid-air refueling feature in these planes – on the aircraft’s nose. But that facility is typically earmarked for emergency situations. According to ABC News, in case of need, another plane can connect a gas pump of sorts while hovering over the presidential plane. The fuel cap is hidden with the help of a tasteful paint job.
3. Communications pro
According to the White House website: "The onboard electronics are hardened to protect against an electromagnetic pulse and Air Force One is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment, allowing the aircraft to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States." According to ABC News, there are around 87 phones and the POTUS can talk to anyone while flying.
4. A luxurious abode
The president and his travel acquaintances are presented with a 4,000 square feet floor space on three levels. The facilities inside include a suite for the president that features a large office, lavatory and conference room. The presidential plane also has a medical suite that can function as an operating room, and a doctor is permanently on board. There are two food preparation galleys that can feed 100 people at a time, as mentioned in the White House website.
The sumptuous meals available aboard Air Force One are prepared in a special kitchen at Joint Base Andrews. Each entree is vacuum-sealed and frozen on the ground. The cooking process is completed on stoves, ovens and microwaves in the plane's galley kitchen. The POTUS can order just about any meal, reports CBS News.
6. M for maintenance
The Presidential Airlift Group, part of the White House Military Office, is tasked with the maintenance and operation of Air Force One, according to the White House website. “The Airlift Group was founded in 1944 as the Presidential Pilot Office at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt,” states the website.
7. What's in a name
ABC News reports that while it is commonly referred to as Air Force One, that’s not the only name it has. The Air Force designation of the presidential plane is VC-25A, and its classified call name is 'Angel'.
8. Pressing matter
There’s some room for the press as well in Air Force One. According to CBS News, the traveling press is seated at the very back. However, their travel isn't free. News organizations must reimburse the government for the cost of travel. Sometimes, the president might walk back to the press section and talk and answer questions.
9. Speeding ahead
According to Live Science, Air Force One can travel at a speed of about 600 mph (965 km/h. And during flight, the plane can reach a maximum altitude of 45,100 feet (13,750 m).
10. A new chapter
According to a report by Business Insider in July 2020, the plane is getting an upgrade. The current Boeing 747s will make way for the Boeing 747-8i. The report states that it is designated as the VC-25B, the new jet is larger and more efficient than the current one. Business Insider further states, the jets are scheduled to roll out in 2024, which means the winner of the 2020 elections will the first to fly the new Air Force One.