Amazing Air Force One Facts That Only A Few Presidents Have Been Willing To Confess
Air Force one is one of the main symbols of the American presidency and its power. This aircraft used to transport the president is actually a massive flying container of secrets. Just imagine all the conversations that were held here.
Luckily, a few presidents have revealed some pretty unbelievable facts about Air Force One we couldn’t have discovered otherwise. These top secret facts make this aircraft so much more than a private jet of the president. Discover these things nobody knew about Air Force One until now.
1. Fast and Smooth
The Air Force can reach the speed of over 700 miles per hour. Not only does it fly that fast, it also flies much higher than most commercial planes.
It cruises at a height of incredible 45,000 feet, making it 10,000 feet higher than the normal altitude of common passenger airliners. It also cruises so smoothly despite its high speed.
2. It Can Refuel In The Sky
One of the coolest things about Air Force One is that it doesn’t have to touch ground in order to refuel. If there was need, it could fly infinitely.
Having a 3,000 gallon fuel tank inside the Air Force One, makes it a perfect aircraft for the long travels American President has to take. Also, if he wanted he could stay up in the sky as long as he wants to.
3. Two Flying Restaurants
Air Force One does not have a restaurant, but it has two big restaurants. Each kitchen is so big that it holds up to 100 people!
The menus are made by top rated chefs, and all food is available inside this special aircraft. The President and his guests can order pretty much anything that crosses their mind in the Air Force One.
4. Phones Are Available
Air Force One has over 85 phones inside. The reason behind this is that this aircraft is actually the most secure the president can talk. It is even a safer place than the White House.
There is also the Airborne Executive Phone that is the safest phone of all. This phone signals when the line is secure. Other phones are less secure and are used for the press and staff that travels with the president.
5. Spy Cameras In The Wheel Wells
Back in 1959 President Eisenhower wanted to implement cameras in the wheel wells of Air Force One. Allen Dulles, the Director of Central Intelligence, installed the most powerful cameras that were created at the time.
The cameras could read license plates from the sky even in 1959. Whatever the reason behind this decision was, the fact that the cameras are that powerful makes this aircraft even more incredible.
6. Travelers of Air Force One
But who are the travelers that fly with Air Force One? This unbelievable aircraft is a place for family. In here, the president along with his closest ones has space to exhale from the presidential life.
However, they are not alone in the plane. The Secret Service travels with the president’s family. Journalists and staffers are also a constant part of the voyageurs and they are usually set in the cabin at the very back of the plane.
7. Flying House
Being so unbelievably huge, Air Force One can be treated as a large house. Can you guess how big it is? It has three stories of 4,000 square feet.
The president has his own office, bathroom, and even a conference room. Air Force One also holds private quarters for special guests. Not only does it have so many rooms, its furniture is also very exquisite and carefully chosen.
8. How Many People Can Fit?
Apart from the staff that is not counted in the number of passengers, Air Force One can hold hundreds of people. But only 70 people can be safely seat.
There are other spaces that can accommodate more bodies such as senior advisors, Secret Service officers, reporters and special guests. The central seating area is, of course, reserved for the president.
9. What Is The Cost of Air Force One To Fly?
One of the most shocking things about Air Force One is its high cost of flying. A common commercial airplane costs about $20,000 for an hour to operate, while the presidential plane costs astonishing $206,000 an hour.
And if we think of how much our Presidents actually travel, this number only gets higher. President Trump, for instance, has spent $10 million on the plane in his first month in office. However, the costs add up due to the large amount of people involved in presidential travel.
10. Home of The Homeland Security Decision
President George W. Bush was actually in a flight on the Air Force One when he signed the Department of Homeland Security into existence.
The aircraft was thousands of feet high above Germany when this decision was made. This occurred right after the attacks of September 11th. Air Force One was a part of the decision that has changed the way our country works forever.
11. Nuclear Resistant
Not only is this aircraft the safest place for the president to talk, but it also seems to be the safest place in general too.
Air Force One was created in such a way that it can withstand a nuclear blast even if on the ground. The tests have shown that it can resist the equivalent of a nuclear attack. What else could this airplane have?
12. When The President Lands
But what happens when the Air Force One wants to land? The airport president wants to land in is made aware. The air space above the airport has to be cleared out an hour before the presidential landing.
Once the presidential aircraft lands, it doesn’t require outside services. It is completely self-contained. The president is simply transferred to Cadillac One aka “The Beast”.
13. Not Feeling Well On Air Force One
If a passenger aboard the Air Force One doesn’t feel well and needs medical assistance, that’s not a problem for this aircraft. Believe it or not, but there’s a miniature hospital built into the plane with a doctor being at service at all times.
So everybody that gets aboard the aircraft will definitely get the best assistance when feeling sick. Imagine being known as the “Air Force One doctor”? That might have been one of the best doctor jobs to have!
14. Jackie Kennedy’s Style
What very few people know is that the most of the interior seen on Air Force One actually came from the mind of Jackie Kennedy. She chose to carpet the aircraft, and picked out the chine, crystal and silverware.
However, not all of the furniture she chose is still in the plane. Some of the original furnishings are at the USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio. No matter what, the Air Force One will always have some of Mrs. Kennedy’s flair.
15. Flying Command Center
The top-notch gear aboard Air Force One make it an superb satellite. Not only does it have amazing communication networks and extremely resistant defensive measures that can protect the plane during various attacks, but it also has another feature that people rarely know about.
The Air Force One can actually carry out attacks. No one still knows which commands have been made aboard this plane.
16. “The Jelly Bean President”
But why is this aircraft also known as “The Jelly Bean President”? Apparently, this started during the Reagan presidency. Reportedly, president Reagan was crazy about jelly beans! So, whenever he boarded the Air Force One, a jar of jelly beans awaited him.
When Reagan was a child, a nice man gave him jelly beans during his tour to the White House. “I didn’t know then, but the jelly beans were much more than a sweet treat, they represented the uniqueness and greatness of America,” said Reagan.
17. Air Force Three?
What few people know is that there are actually two Air Force Ones. The back-up plane was created in order to hide in which plane the president is actually on. They always fly together, but only one is the real deal.
Some people also suggest that there’s a third jet called “The Gulfstream,” known as the C-20C, that trails the other two planes. However, the Air Force and the government deny its existence.
18. President Bush Senior Outlawed Broccoli On Air Force One
This might be among the silliest decisions taken aboard the presidential aircraft. While being aboard, president George H. W. Bush banned broccoli from the White House.
No one knew what made him so angry to decide this, but he ordered that he didn’t want broccoli near anything his chefs were cooking. Pretty bizarre, right?
19. President Ford – The Air Force One Smuggler
President Ford might possibly be the bravest of all presidents when it comes to outrageous requests aboard the Air Force One. Unlike president Reagan that loved Jelly beans, president Ford was a big fan of Coors beer.
Everytime he was aboard, he managed to get someone to smuggle Coors beer for him. What is most intriguing in this anecdote is that beer was still illegal to buy in most states.
20. Trump Jet Vs. Air Force One
The Trump’s private jet is a 757 bought from Microsoft’s Paul Allen. His plane is lined in gold plating and has the Trump family’s crest on it. President Trump was more than happy to brag about it.
He said:”It’s bigger than Air Force One”. His jet was featured on the Discovery Channel as the “world’s most luxurious jetliner”. With its Rolls-Royce engines and seating for 43, we really don’t doubt it.
21. Doomsday Plane
The protection of the flying president is so high that literally nothing is left to chance. If Air Force One can’t provide enough of protection, it has a seriously safe back up in the form of a “Doomsday Plane”, called single E-4B.
This plane is designed to stay in the air for days and can survive explosions of nuclear weapons. This 747 follows the presidential aircraft everywhere it goes and makes sure the proper protection of Air Force One is guaranteed.
22. Highly Secured
We have realized that the Air Force One provides the best possible safety conditions for the POTUS and fellow passengers. Each window on the aircraft has been armored and tested to gunfire.
The Air Force One contains flares that can be released if needed, which can help in confusing any enemy missiles. Also, the exits from this aircraft have their own retractable staircase. This way, the possible sabotage of the president is held under high control.
23. TV Reign
It might be unbelievable, but Air Force One has twenty TVs on board. Each of them is placed in such a way that any passenger will be able to view one from any angle of the craft.
The numerous TVs make it possible for the press and staff flying with the POTUS to keep up to date on broadcasts and reports. It makes their jobs much less stressful.
24. Showing Its Age
One of the problems that Air Force One can experience is finding replacement parts. How is this possible? Well, according to some reports, both Air Force One planes are actually highly customized Boeing 747-200 jets.
These planes were purchased under Ronald Reagan’s presidency, but they got into service in 1990, under George H.W. Bush’s administration. Since the jets were commissioned, the production of 747-200 jet was completely shut down. That’s why in order to find spare parts, Air Force One mechanic men have to look for old jetliners parked in the desert.
25. A New Order
Due to showing age, planes were considered as not modern enough. The increasing problems with finding the adequate parts finally motivated a decision that a new set of planes were needed. So, an order was placed during Barack Obama’s administration.
The new versions will be built based on the new Boeing 747-8 series, that will outbeat the previous version of the Air Force One. The cost estimation of the two new place is of at least $3 billion. They surely won’t come into service before 2024.
26. Top-Notch Fridges
The news about the need for top-notch fridges shocked millions of Americans. Reportedly, the Air Force One needed new refrigerators, but not just of any kinds. Each of these fridges costs a whooping twelve million dollars!
The fridges in the aircraft have to be able to store up to three thousand meals at any given time. They are so costly because of the Air Force One’s ability to stay in air for so long. That’s why these fridges need the ability to feed passengers, and crew, for weeks on without having to resupply.
27. Strict Quality Protocol
Being so particularly important for the president’s safety, it’s no wonder why that Air Force One has to be kept in perfect conditions at all times. This way, the probability of any type of accident is reduced and the POTUS’ safety can be guaranteed.
The team of contractors have to maintain the plane according to a very strict set of protocols. They have to check every inch of the plane. They even have to check where the fuel goes into its tanks.
28. Unnecessary Costs
Air Force One is very costly to run because of its huge size and the crew that has to take off with the president each time. In the fiscal year 2016 alone, it was reported that the cost to operate Air Force One in the air was a mind-boggling $180,000 an hour.
Some lawmakers have been calling out the presidents to decrease these costs by cutting off unnecessary travels. But these unnecessary uses of the aircraft are not new, they have been repeated before, and they will probably continue with each new president.
29. Flying Press
The entourage of the POTUS travels is quite large. It includes senior aides, national security, domestic, and economic advisors. But that’s not the only entourage that is on Air Force One’s board.
A total of thirteen press members are handpicked by the administration that travel with the president at their news organization’s expense. They have to cover all the details surrounding the President’s trips.
30. Limo the Beast
President is always picked up from the Air Force One with a presidential limo nicknamed the ‘Beast’. Wherever the President goes he has to be in the limo. The reason behind this is the fact that the Secret Service is able to ensure a better safety of the POTUS during vehicular transport.
The limo does not travel with the president, but is sent ahead and transported aboard a military cargo plane. It always arrives before the president and is ready on the tarmac as soon as the Air Force lands.
31. Aircraft Put Into Service
Even if it’s in service only since 1990, the idea of Air Force One has been around much before that. The creator of the Air Force One lineage was Franklin D. Roosevelt. He formed the Presidential Pilot Office, which became the Presidential Airlift Group in 1944.
In the next 15 years, the presidents were transported in propellers. This lasted until the JFK’s administration when the sitting president flew in a jet built exclusively for that purpose. JFK’s aircraft was a modified Boeing 707 jet. Since then, a wide variety of jet aircrafts were put into service.
32. New Planes Orders
Ordering new planes to serve as Air Force One is not something new and has happened in almost every administration. Each president’s administration would put orders for the newer, faster and safer model.
But these orders can’t just be fulfilled easily because of the complicated technical requirements the new aircraft needs to provide. After years of struggling to create the perfect aircraft, the Air Force finally decided to hire Boeing, the only remaining manufacturer of large aircraft, to deliver future orders.
33. Order Rules
There are some additional rules when POTUS decides to order a new aircraft to serve as Air Force One. The purchase must be done in the second term of the sitting president.
The reason for this is that the plane is not ordered for the ordering president, but it ensures that the purchase is done in the interest of the function, not the person holding the position. The president is then purchasing the plane for the use of future presidents and not for his own use.
34. Haircut On Board
Once, the president Clinton decided to get a haircut aboard Air Force One and received severe criticism. The reason wasn’t his haircut, but rather the fact that the aircraft was sitting on the runway while he was getting the haircut, causing a problem with outgoing and incoming aircraft.
The critiqued event occurred at LAX, where the air traffic is one of the busiest and made the air traffic controllers struggle to make sure that no additional aircraft took of or landed during this time.
35. Assigned Seating
What came as a surprise to many, the seating on Air Force One is pretty much assigned. It is not really known why, but each administration has had its own rules on who can sit where.
The seating on Air Force One is mostly reserved for press passengers as well as the Secret Service. Every passenger aboard has a specific seat he can sit on.
36. Presidential Jazz
Everybody knew about president Clinton’s love of jazz music. He has been caught on camera multiple times playing his saxophone or enjoying some form of jazz.
Taking in account all the features this aircraft has it would be quite logical to expect there was a person in charge of playing music on board. But it seems that it’s not really that way. President Clinton actually played by himself some smooth tones during his longer flights.
37. Top Priority
When Air Force One is involved, it seems more than obvious that it gets absolute priority wherever it decided to land. It gets priority over anything and anyone else flying.
All airspace ahead of Air Force is cleared in every flight this aircraft makes. Because of the high safety conditions of landing and taking off, the Air Force One causes a lot of traffic and delays on commercial airports. For this reason, the POTUS plane usually lands at military air bases.
38. Recognized At First Sight
The appearance of the Air Force One can’t be mistaken for any other plane. Its blue, white and silver colors are wonderfully polished and the aircraft has become the symbol for America.
It’s supreme stature represents America’s superb military and economic might all over the globe. This flying symbol of America leaves those watching with a strong sense of awe, wherever it lands.
39. An Historical Event
In August 1974, when president Richard Nixon resigned to his position, he boarded Air Force One and headed back home to El Toro, CA. It was when Nixon was on board that the role of president was officially transferred to Gerald Ford.
This is one of the most remembered events in political history, and Air Force One participated in it too. The aircraft was halfway through its trip when the callsign was changed from Air Force One to SAM—Special Air Mission 28000 — the official military callsign.
40. Replaced One Time
Any sitting president has the responsibility of using Air Force One as it is intended. It has to be the only air transportation for the president. However, president Nixon broke this basic rule.
In an effort to communicate a strong political message to people, president Nixon did the unthinkable and traveled via United Airlines. Although he was sure that it was a great way of proving his point, his fellow representatives did not thing this was a wise move.