Deemed a “flying fortress”, the POTUS’ Air Force One boasts cutting edge aviation technology.
The US President is one of the most protected person in the world.
So he doesn’t just catch any old flight.
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He travels with one of the most secure motorcades in the world on the ground, but on Air Force One in the sky.
Technically any US Air Force-operated aircraft carrying the US President, ‘Air Force One’ commonly refers to the modified Boeing 747-200B.
There are actually two aircraft and they are the most technologically advanced aircrafts ever built.
Made by Boeing, and upgraded by the US military – it isn’t a standard commercial aircraft.
Per Xplained‘s break down, it’s the “most unshakeable aircraft in the world”.
Always on hand to get the President of the United States where he needs to be, it costs $206,000 per hour to operate.
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Let’s get some perspective: this is a whopper (but not the biggest in the world).
It’s six stories high, 76m (250 ft) in length and weighing in at 378,000 kg.
Plane spotters look out: it’s airport designation is VC-25 and tail numbers are 2800 and 2900.
Taking a look inside, there’s 4,000 sqft of floor space spread across three decks.
The upper deck boasts a telecommunications centre so advanced it can work as a mobile command center.
Because: POTUS is never off the clock.
Down below, the lower deck is a cargo hold with its own self-contained baggage handling system.
The middle deck, however, is the place to be.
The area at the front – furthest from the roar of the engines – sits the presidential suite featuring an office, bedroom and ensuite.
The flying Oval Office is marked by stars on the carpet
Behind that lies a lounge for members of the secret service.
Next: the situation room in the sky.
Seats are fitted with seatbelts featuring the presidential seal plus it has a dual phone system.
The white phones are for unclassified calls, whereas the beige phones are reserved for secure information.
Ahead lie quarters for 70 passengers that include a work area, a conference and dining room and two kitchens.
With so much at stake aboard the aircraft – there’s always a doctor on board.
This includes a cutting-edge operating theatre, reserves of the President’s blood type and vaccinations.
While visible to those on the ground, the defense systems are, of course, impressive.
To avoid being tampered with, the aircraft sits in a secure hangar at Joint Base Andrews, Washington DC.
It includes a military checkpoint with two additional fences within its boundaries.
It mainly lands at secure military bases for the same reason.
If a regular airport is required, the military, secret service and White House staff will evaluate weeks in advance.
Other traffic scheduled to arrive at the same time must be diverted.
However, it’s safest in the sky.
In fact, it’s so secure that the only time it needs a fighter-jet escorts is during emergencies. like 9/11.
Air Force One can be up there a long time with a 14,315 km (8,900 m) fly time.
Going further afield for a “mission”? No problem. Air Force One can be refuelled midair to star in the air indefinitely.
While up there it has a top speed of 965 km/h (600 mph) – so fast it can outstrip an F-16.
Its military modifications mean it can also be used as an airborne bunker.
With armor-plated walls and windows, its defenses account for air-to-air missiles, ground-to-air missiles and drone attacks.
It also has enemy-radar jammers, ejecting flares to throw off heat-seeking missiles and protection against electromagnetic pulses.
Everything else is top secret.
To avoid attacks once landed, each exit has its own retractable staircase.
In flight she requires her own space with a distance of 3 nm (5 km) for other aircraft.
Helicopters – like this one you can stay in on Airbnb – and other security are flown out earlier on other aircrafts.
The C-17 Globemaster carries the presidential motorcade and The Beast.
And always close by is the Doomsday plane.
There are only four of the EB4 Advanced Airborne Command Post that exist.
In case of nuclear war and other emergencies it can act as an airborne bunker and war room.
Maintained and operated by the Presidential Airlift Group: two pilots, a navigator and engineer sit in the cockpit.
They are specifically trained by the military to do evasive manoeuvres in the event of an attack.
All staff – including hospitality – are trained for emergencies to protect the President.
While the current Boeing 747-200B has served various Presidents since 1990 – that’s soon to change.
Boeing received $3.9 billion in 2018 for two new 747-8 planes.
Initially set for delivery in 2024, severe delays and COVID-19 have slowed things down.
That date was pushed back to 2026 and now 2027.
It’s set to feature state-of-the-art technology which eclipses the current planes entirely.
This includes upgraded military-grade avionics as well as upgraded communication and defense systems.
Keep an eye on the skies – and our homepage – for updates as and when we get them.