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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Air Force One - Know and See!!!

Air Force One is the official aircraft carrying the President of the United States. In common parlance the term refers to those Air Force aircraft whose primary mission is to transport the president; however, any U.S. Air Force aircraft may carry the "Air Force One" call sign while the president is on board. Air Force One is a prominent symbol of the American presidency and its power, and the aircraft are among the most famous and most photographed in the world.

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Obama Onboard Air Force One

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The idea of designating specific military aircraft to transport the President arose in 1943, when officials of the United States Army Air Forces – the predecessor to the U.S. Air Force – became concerned with relying on commercial airlines to transport the President. A C-87 Liberator Express was reconfigured for use as a presidential transport; however, it was rejected by the Secret Service amid concerns over the aircraft's safety record. A C-54 Skymaster was then converted for presidential use; this aircraft, dubbed the Sacred Cow, transported President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference in February 1945, and was subsequently used for another two years by President Harry S. Truman.
The "Air Force One" call sign was created after a 1953 incident involving a flight carrying President Dwight D. Eisenhower entering the same airspace as a commercial airline flight using the same call sign. Several aircraft have been used as Air Force One since the creation of the presidential fleet. Since 1990, the presidential fleet has consisted of two Boeing VC-25As – specifically configured, highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft. The Air Force is currently looking into replacing the two aircraft used as Air Force One, with Boeing the only contender. The Air Force expects three aircraft, one each delivered in fiscal 2017, 2019 and 2021.

Air Force One in a Bird's Eye View
• Air Force One’s inaugural flight took place on January 11, 1959, and the first model was a Boeing 707-320B airliner.

• First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy selected the color scheme for Air Force One’s signature paint job.
• Lyndon Johnson took the the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One on the tarmac in Dallas following John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963.
• First Lady Nancy Reagan designed the interior of the current Air Force One, styling it in a Desert Southwest motif.
• The current Air Force One flew its first presidential mission on September 6, 1990, flying President George H.W. Bush first to Kansas, then to Florida, and finally back to Washington, D.C.
• The Air Force operates two identical planes that are used to carry the President. Neither aircraft can be called “Air Force One” until the President steps aboard. The second plane, which carries the Vice President, is referred to as “Air Force Two.”
• During presidential tours, Air Force One is accompanied by at least two C-5 Galaxy aircrafts carrying cargo that includes a bulletproof limousine; a top-of-the-line ambulance; at least one backup limo, often with many more for use as decoys; and occasionally even the President’s personal helicopter, Marine One.
• Many of the more outlandish gizmos featured in Hollywood films owe more to artistic license than to airborne fact. For example, unlike in the film Air Force One, the real thing has no super-secret escape pod. It isn’t equipped with parachutes, either -- the massive slipstream created by an aircraft of its size makes them impossible to use.
• When he left office, President Ronald Reagan stated that he hoped one day to be able to share Air Force One with the American people. In 2005, his wish was granted. Visitors to the Reagan Library are able to board the Air Force One that served as the “Flying White House” for President Reagan and six other U.S. presidents from 1973-2001.
Air Force One in Encyclopedia

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