The President of the United States enjoys a lot of privileges and power. And why not? He is, after all, the supreme leader of the world’s most powerful nation! And when such a prestigious man travels, he must travel in style amid tight security. This is where the Air Force One comes into the picture.
The E-4 Boeing aircraft has been serving the Office of the US President since 1974. Here are the facts about Air Force One which will surprise you:
1. Air Force One has nuclear electromagnetic pulse protection, nuclear and thermal effects shielding, advanced electronics and a wide array of communications equipment.
2. The Air Force One has three decks and passengers can enter via three doors.
The President, when deboarding the aircraft, chooses the middle door which has a roll-up staircase. The journalists board through the rear door and seat themselves in the middle deck.
3. There is a mini-hospital in the plane. If the President or any passenger falls sick, there are provisions for a check-up. It has a doctor on board and a fully-equipped operating theater.
4. The aircraft has 4,000 square feet of floor space and three levels for the President and his guests to have a comfortable time in the sky.
5. The Air Force One sometimes is accompanied by a “friend” in the sky. An E-4B called the ‘doomsday plane’ flies along with it. This is the plane which can ferry the President in the sky for days and outpace nuclear explosions.
6. With two luxurious kitchens, the Air Force One can click a top speed of 650 miles an hour. Although, usually it goes around 580 miles per hour.
7. The Air Force One can refuel itself 35,000 feet up in the air.
8. The plane can withstand a nuclear blast. It has been designed in a way to withstand nuclear explosion on the ground and in the sky.
9. There are 85 phones that can be used all at once and at any time.
10. Gerald Ford, the 38th US President, used to smuggle Coors beer via Air Force One.
He and his friends loved to have a “chill time” with Coors beer which was available only in 11 states in the west of the US. So whenever they used to fly west, they would pick up several cases of Coors beer and get them to Washington D.C.
11. During the Cold War Era, Air Force One was turned into a spy plane.
In 1959 then-CIA director Allen Dulles fixed the cameras onto the wheels of the aircraft. The cameras were powerful enough to read license plates of cars from 29,000 feet.
12. It can turn into a Mobile Command Centre in times of threat to the White House.
13. Air Force One takes priority over every other plane in the sky.
If the plane is in the air, the ATC has to halt the traffic at commercial airports every time the AF1 lands or takes off. Since the AF1 generally lands on military airports, the commercial airports can have some relief.
14. President Ronald Reagan always ensured that there was enough supply of jelly beans on Air Force One.
15. The two kitchens on the plane can comfortably feed 100 people while in the air. It has a crew of 26 members and can board 70 passengers at any given point.
16. The Air Force One has seats assigned for the passengers. Nearly half of the seats are assigned to the press and secret service agents.
17. The plane is worth around $660 million. The US Air Force helped with $140 million and the rest was borne by the taxpayers of the country.
18. In 2002 while traveling to Berlin, President George W. Bush created the Department of Homeland Security onboard Air Force One.
19. President Clinton would play Saxophone music and Jazz at very high volumes while on a long-distance flight.
20. The hourly cost of operation of this jumbo is a whopping $56,000.
21. The preference over commercial jets and the air-refueling makes it fit to travel anywhere in the world for as long as possible.
22. The AF1 has more electronics on board than Reliance Digital. It has 240 miles of wire running through it to ensure that the President has the luxury at his command.
23. George H.W. Bush banned broccoli from being served onboard the aircraft.
24. During Bill Clinton’s re-election, the press and the President himself watched the movie ‘Fargo’ while in the sky. In fact, this movie has the distinction of having been played for the longest time on an aircraft.
25. President Clinton was criticized heavily in 1993 when he decided to have a haircut in Air Force One while it stood on the runway at LA airport.
Since the AF1 was on the runway, all the commercial flights were delayed, making the passengers upset for the long wait.
Isn’t this jumbo a feat of human engineering?