What other aircraft fly with Air Force One?

Air Force One

When the US President travels by Air, he uses one of two specially configured Boeing 747-200Bs. Planning for this procedure takes several hours before each trip, and it requires meticulous coordination.

The aircraft that carries the President is called Air Force One, or technically VC-25. Besides the President, it also transports his work team and a select group of White House journalists. Another aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster of the United States Air Force, carries the presidential limousine and the Secret Service vehicles ahead of the presidential plane on each mission.

Operational capability and technical legacy of the C-17 Globemaster

The McDonnell Douglas/Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a reliable and robust heavy-lift transport aircraft that was developed from the McDonnell Douglas YC-15 prototype. The YC-15 was originally designed as a four-engine STOL (short take-off and landing) tactical model to replace the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. However, the YC-15 never advanced beyond the prototype stage and instead served as the basis for the much larger McDonnell Douglas/Boeing C-17.

Air Force One
Air Force One

The C-17 aircraft was created in the 1970s to replace the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter and support some of the functions of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy. It was inducted into the United States Air Force (USAF) on January 17, 1995, after its first flight on September 15, 1991. Even after the merger of McDonnell Douglas with Boeing in 1997, the production of the C-17 continued in Long Beach, California, until 2015, with a total of 279 manufactured units.

The C-17 has played a notable role in the strategic and tactical operations of the USAF by providing transportation for troops and cargo on a global scale. Additionally, the C-17 has been crucial in airdrop operations, medical evacuations, and delivery of humanitarian aid following natural disasters.

Specification Details

  • Crew Two pilots and a loadmaster
  • Charge 18 463L master pallets or a mix of palletized cargo and vehicles. 102
  • paratroopers or 134 soldiers
  • Width 174 pies
  • Wingspan 169 pies
  • Height 55 feet 1 inch
  • Zone alar 3,800 square feet
  • Empty weight 282,500 pounds
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 585,000 pounds
  • fuel capacity 35,546 US gallons
  • Powerplant 4 motors turbofan Pratt & Whitney PW2000

The second plane that accompanies Air Force One in its movements is the Boeing E-4, an aircraft with exceptional capabilities intended to serve as a nuclear bunker and command and control center in flight. Originating in the context of the Cold War for the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (NEACP) program, this Boeing 747-200B has been significantly modified to fulfill its strategic functions.

Performance Aspect Details

  • cruising speed of 520 mph
  • Complete 2,780 miles
  • Ferry range 7,110 miles
  • Service ceiling 45,000 pies
  • Takeoff distance with a maximum weight of 8,200 pies
  • landing distance of 3,500 pies

The Boeing E-4: Air strength and constant surveillance

The US Air Force operates four Boeing E-4 aircraft from Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska. The planes were introduced in 1974 and stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to quickly transport the President during a crisis, as it was just a four-minute helicopter ride from the White House. Later, the aircraft was relocated to Offutt Base for security reasons and is now nicknamed “Doomsday.”

At least one of the Boeing E-4 aircraft is fully manned and on standby 24/7 to ensure immediate response at any time. Teams are also stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, to guarantee the President’s strategic command and control capabilities are always operational.

General characteristics and specifications of the Boeing E-4

What other aircraft fly with Air Force One?

Feature Specification

  • Crew Four
  • Ability 108 passengers
  • Width 231 feet 4 inches
  • Wingspan 195 feet 8 inches
  • Height 63 feet 5 inches
  • Zone alar 5,500 square feet
  • MTOW (Maximum Takeoff Weight) 833,000 pounds
  • Powerplant 4 × motors turbofan General Electric F103

Boeing E-4 performance

  • Performance Aspect Details
  • cruising speed of 566 mph
  • Maximum speed 602 mph
  • Resistance without refueling 12 hours
  • Resistance with aerial refueling More than 150 hours
  • Service ceiling 45,000 pies
  • wing loading 150 pounds per square foot

Evolution and symbolism of Air Force One in American diplomacy

What other aircraft fly with Air Force One?

During World War II, the decision to assign a specific aircraft to the President of the United States was made. This decision was made when Franklin D. Roosevelt needed to travel to Yalta, Crimea, for an important meeting with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in 1945. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Europe’s future after Germany’s impending defeat.

The aircraft chosen for this purpose was the four-engine Douglas C-54 Skymaster. After the Yalta Conference, the plane continued to be used for two additional years under the administration of Harry S. Truman. Later, it was replaced by a Lockheed Constellation, which eventually gave rise to the distinctive “Air Force One.”

This name became official in 1953, during the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower, when the presidential plane mistakenly entered airspace occupied by a commercial flight with the same callsign.

As Eisenhower’s second term approached, John Foster Dulles, then Secretary of State, informed the president that Nikita Khrushchev, his Soviet counterpart, had begun using a Tupolev Tu-114 turboprop for his travels. This event precipitated the choice of the Boeing 707 as the new Air Force One, marking an era of modernization in presidential air transportation.

The most notable transformation of Air Force One occurred with the arrival of John F. Kennedy to the presidency in 1961. At that time, the plane maintained an appearance similar to other military aircraft. Jacqueline Kennedy, the first lady, proposed consulting French-American industrial designer Raymond Loewy for an aesthetic overhaul.

Inspired by the Caslon typeface from the Declaration of Independence, Loewy designed a new livery that incorporated two shades of blue on the fuselage, symbolizing both the country’s historical past and future. Later, the great presidential seal and the flag of the United States were added, giving Air Force One its iconic image that endures to this day.