Air Force One is the jumbo airplane custom designed for the President Of The United States. While many believe it’s the only Air Force One, in fact, there’s an exact replica that follows the President’s aircraft everwhere it goes just in case anything goes wrong. As well, Air Force One is actually any aircraft the President boards.
We’ve gathered a list of the most interesting declassified Air Force One details and hilarious past Presidents’ stories. What you didn’t know about the President’s aircraft will surely blow your mind!
The Floor PlanAir Force One was a jointly designed by Boeing, The White House, and The Secret Service so this jumbo aircraft can act as a flying White House. Air Force One has three decks with separate entrances for the President, Staff, and Media.
Normally, when you see the president in the news getting on and off Air Force One with a wave, he is using the door onto the middle deck and a rolling staircase has been pulled up to the plane. Journalists normally enter through the rear door, where they immediately climb a staircase to the middle deck. They never enter via the main door for security reasons.
There’s a Mini-Hospital on the PlaneAir Force One is decked out with a complete medical suite to tend to all passengers on board, especially the President. This medical suite is equipped with doctors, nurses, surgeons, and a fully equipped operating room in the event of an emergency.
The United States doesn’t leave room for error when transporting arguably the most powerful person on the planet.
Three Decks and 4,000 Square Feet
It features the top performing technological equipment, conference rooms, the President’s master bedroom, bathroom, exercise room, fully staffed medical suite, operating room, and a kitchen which can feed 100 people at a time. Beyond that, there are sections designated for all passengers on board including the press, security, office staff, senior staff, and special guests.
It’s Sometimes Accompanied by a 747 “Doomsday Plane”
The plane can stay in the air for days and can outpace an explosion of a nuclear weapon. This plane typically follows the President’s main aircraft all around the world for security measures.
It Can Go 650 Miles Per HourThough it’s usually going around 580 miles per hour, the top speed for Air Force One is 650 mph. Many claim that it’s gone up to 700 mph, but top speed is somewhere between 630 and 700.
This aircraft needs to be able to outpace nuclear explosions, hostile aircrafts, and enemy threats. The President also has to be able to get around the world at a moment’s notice to meet with world leaders.
It Can Refuel in the AirAir Force One has a unique ability in that it can refuel while in-flight. While 35,000 ft in the air, the plane following Air Force One can extend a pole to the gas tank of the plane, and provide additional fuel for an extended journey.
So, in the event of an attack on United States soil, the President can remain airborne however long may be necessary, until the threat has been reduced.
It Can Survive the Blast of a NukeIn the event of a nuclear attack, Air Force One is not a bad place to be if you’re allowed on board.
That’s because the plane’s actual body is designed and secured to withstand the blast of a nuclear explosion from the ground, rendering the aircraft a bomb shelter in the sky. It can outrun the shockwave and impenetrable from radioactive material.
It Has Two KitchensYou’ve probably seen the tiny kitchen in the back of a regular plane (the one where the stewardess can barely grab your mini-Coke out of the mini-fridge).
On Air Force One, there are two full sized kitchens that can legitimately serve 100 people four-course meals. This aircraft must be fully stocked at all times to serve anyone on board in the event of an extended flight.
It Has 85 PhonesDuring take-off, your phone should be turned off. That’s the usual protocol for commercial flights, but Air Force One isn’t exactly a normal plane with normal rules.
Everyone on board has an extremely important job to do, and communication is the name of the game. In fact, it has 85 phones. You know… in case 84 are being used.
Ford’s Administration Smuggled Coors BeerCoors Beer used to be harder to get than you might imagine. It was only available in 11 western states. That’s why President Gerald Ford and his entire administration would load Coors onto Air Force One.
Though there were never trips made specifically to pick up Coors, President Ford never hesitated to make the stop when traveling in the right direction.
Spy PlaneThe Cold War meant all bets were off for American national security, which is the mentality that led CIA director Allen Dulles to turn Air Force One into a spy plane.
The year was 1959 and, for a short time, cameras were secretly installed in the plane’s wheel wells that were so powerful they could read license plates from 29,000 feet above.
It’s a Mobile Command Center During Terrorist AttacksIn the event of a terrorist attack like 9/11, Air Force One is equipped in every way necessary to operate from the sky.
Aside from its physical capabilities and self-preservation, the President can use the plane as a command center and fly his office through the sky if the White House isn’t safe for extended periods of time until the threat is no longer active.
Air Traffic’s Got Nothin’ on This PlaneAir Force One gets priority over every other plane in the sky and the pilots don’t have to worry about the amount of air traffic.
In fact, air traffic at commercial airports is usually halted when it takes off or lands. Usually, the plane lands at military airports so it doesn’t mess with civilian air traffic.
Reagan Had it Stocked with Jelly BeansWhile President Bush made sure broccoli was never on Air Force One, Reagan made sure jelly beans could be found in every room.
During both his terms as President in the ’80s, Ronald Reagan kept jelly beans in a jar in both the Oval Office and his aerial office, Air Force One.
Almost 100 People Can Be on BoardWhile the kitchen can technically feed 100 people, that doesn’t mean 100 people can be on the plane at once. However, it can get pretty close.
26 crew members and 70 passengers (that’s 96 total for all you Mathletes) can fit on Air Force One…comfortably.
There’s Assigned SeatingEvery White House administration has its own rules about who can sit where.
Still, seating is always assigned on Air Force One. Nearly half of the seats are reserved for the press pool and for Secret Service agents.
Over $660 Million Spent on Initial ProductionBuilding a plane is expensive. Building Air Force One is outrageously expensive.
In its initial production alone, the “flying White House” cost $660 million and the Air Force helped pay down the bill in $140 million payments.
Bush Approved the Creation of the Department of Homeland Security During a FlightHistorical decisions have been made aboard Air Force One. On one flight to Berlin in 2002, President George W. Bush approved details of a proposal that created the Department of Homeland Security.
A brand new department of the United States government that still exists to this day.
Clinton Used to Blast Jazz on BoardGiven all the crazy amenities of Air Force One, one might expect a DJ to be on board, too. While this isn’t the case, President Bill Clinton made sure to play whatever tunes he wanted during long flights.
… the saxophonist would rock out to jazz music at an extremely high volume because of his hearing issues.
It Costs $56K an Hour to OperateAF1 boasts an hourly rate most employees would gladly accept. To operate the plane, it costs $56,000 an hour. Of course, this seems like nothing compared to the trillions of dollars in debt the United States has.
The American people can only hope that their tax dollars are put to good use, and not just Presidential golf trips.
Its Range Is Limitless
The leader of the free world needs this ability to have countless meetings with world leaders at a moment’s notice and of course, for security reasons.
Almost 240 Miles of Wire Run Through the PlaneAir Force One has more electronics inside it than your local Best Buy. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but nearly 240 miles of wire run through the plane.
This equipment is responsible for all of the phones, screens, and communication devices that make Air Force One so intricate and powerful.
There’s Always a Doctor on Board
Every single time the President decides to hop a flight, an MD is on board as well. Hopefully, the President has enough to cover the doc’s co-pay.
Bush Sr. Banned Broccoli from AF1While there might be enemies banned from flying on Air Force One, it was the first President Bush who imposed a ban on the real enemy: broccoli.
As his chefs knew, Bush Sr. hated the vegetable more than most people hate anything, so he made a rule that it could never be served in the White House or on Air Force One.
Journalists Used to Watch Fargo on BoardWhile Air Force One probably hovered over Fargo, ND once in a while, the movie Fargo was played countless times on board.
During Clinton’s 1996 bid for reelection, the press corps, and even President Clinton himself, regularly watched the Coen Brothers film, leading famed presidential journalist Helen Thomas to declare it “the record-holder of Longest Playing Film Aboard Air Force One.”
Clinton Got a Haircut on Board, Keeping LAX Passengers WaitingPresident Bill Clinton was criticized heavily in 1993 when he got a haircut on Air Force One while it sat on the runway.
The engine was running and LAX, one of the country’s busiest airports, scrambled to make sure their commuter flights didn’t land or take off until the President’s hair was adequately snipped.
It’s the Presidential Factor“Air Force One” is not the name of one particular plane. Its the callsign to any plane that the President of United States is traveling at that particular moment.
Basically, a radio call name was given to the plane carrying the president in order to avoid confusion with other planes traveling in that particular area. Similarly, the Army aircraft the president is traveling is called Army One, while his helicopter is called Marine One.
The Airforce One Has A Twin!The president regularly flies in either of the two customized Boeing 747-200B jets specifically designed for him and they are very identical to each other and stand as tall as a six-story building.
It’s all about the protection of the President, and a decoy is always a good idea.
The Official Airplane standing as a Symbol of PresidencyAir Force One is designed to be recognized as one of the main symbols of the presidency. It is made sure to be looked intimidating and be its presence noticed wherever it goes.
Its symbol consists of the words “United States of America”, The American flag and the Seal of the President of the United States.
The Flying White HouseThe onboard electronics are designed to withstand an electromagnetic pulse, the plane is equipped with electronic countermeasures (ECM) to jam enemy radar so that no one can trace the flight path of the plane, 85 onboard telephones, a collection of two-way radios.
It is also capable of ejecting flares to disarm missiles from enemy crafts, and the plane is equipped with advanced secure communications equipment allowing it to function as a mobile command center in the event of an attack on the United States for which reason it is called as “The flying White House”.
The Mobile Bunker and the Safest Fleet on the Planet EarthOn the terrorist attacks of September 11 of 2001, the Airforce One is showed that it is capable of performing functions as a mobile bunker when all ground positions felt insecure because of the attacks.
No one goes in and out of the aircraft without clearance.
A Real Fast and High Flying BirdIt can travel at a top speed of 1,126 km/hour and fly at a maximum height of 45,100 feet ( Commercial flights fly about 30,000 feet).
They have their own set of rules.
Custom Designed For the President
It had to be secure up to the standards of the secret service, operational up to the standards of the White House, and efficient up to the standards of a Boeing product.
The Long Range Flights
The President need never worry about running out of fuel to get somewhere.
A Mobile Quarters for the Officers and the StaffThe staff that boards the plane also has a space for themselves, but it is a shared one.
Only the President has a room all to himself, which is to be expected.