The mission of the VC-25A aircraft
-- Air Force One -- is to provide air transport for the President of the United
The presidential air transport fleet
consists of two specially configured Boeing 747-200Bs -- tail numbers 28000 and
29000 -- with the Air Force designation VC-25A. When the President is aboard either
aircraft, or any Air Force aircraft, the radio call sign is "Air Force One."
Principal differences between the VC-25A and the standard Boeing 747, other than
the number of passengers carried, are the electronic and communications equipment
aboard Air Force One, its interior configuration and furnishings, self-contained
baggage loader, front and aft air-stairs, and the capability for inflight refueling.
Accommodations for the President include an executive suite consisting of
a stateroom (with dressing room, lavatory and shower) and the President's office.
A conference/dining room is also available for the President, his family and staff.
Other separate accommodations are provided for guests, senior staff, Secret Service, security personnel, and the news media.
Two galleys provide up to
100 meals at one sitting. Six passenger lavatories-- including handicap facilities
-- are provided as well as a rest area and mini-galley for the aircrew. The VC-25A
also has a compartment outfitted with medical equipment and supplies for minor
These aircraft are flown by the presidential aircrew,
maintained by the Presidential Maintenance Branch, and are assigned to Air Mobility
Command's 89th Airlift Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.
Presidential air transport began in 1944 when a C-54 Skymaster -- the "Sacred
Cow" -- was put into service for President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Then came
the "Independence," a DC-6 Liftmaster, which transported President Harry
S. Truman during the period 1947 to 1953. President Dwight D. Eisenhower traveled
aboard the "Columbine II" and "Columbine III" from 1953 to
1961. The call sign "Air Force One" was first used in September 1961,
identifying President John F. Kennedy flying aboard his C-118.
jet aircraft to transport a U.S. president was a C-137A with the tail number 586970.
It flew President Eisenhower to Geneva, Paris and Scotland, leaving Andrews AFB
on August 26, 1959. This aircraft was retired from the Air Force in December 1995
and is on display at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle.
In 1962, a C-137C specifically purchased for use as Air Force One, entered into
service with the tail number 26000. It is perhaps the most widely known and most
historically significant presidential aircraft. Tail number 26000 is the aircraft
that carried President Kennedy to Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963, and returned the body
to Washington, D.C., following his assassination. Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn
into office as the 36th President of the United States on board the aircraft at
Love Field in Dallas. This fateful aircraft also was used to return President
Johnson's body to Texas following his state funeral Jan. 24, 1973.
1972 President Richard M. Nixon made historic visits aboard 26000 to the People's
Republic of China in February and to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
in May. Tail number 27000 replaced 26000 and carved its own history when it was
used to fly former Presidents Nixon, Ford and Carter to Cairo, Egypt, Oct. 19,
1981, to represent the United States at the funeral of Egyptian President Anwar
The first VC-25A -- tail number 28000 -- flew as "Air Force
One" on Sept. 6, 1990, when it transported President George Bush to Kansas,
Florida and back to Washington, D.C. A second VC-25A, tail number 29000 transported
President Bill Clinton and former Presidents Carter and Bush to Israel for the
funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The VC-25A will usher presidential travel
into the 21st century, upholding the proud tradition and distinction of being
known as "Air Force One."
President Ronald Reagan's ... Air Force One
is now at his Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Air Force One 27000
27000, a Boeing 707, was first used by President Richard Nixon in 1973.
27000 flew seven presidents - Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, H.W. Bush, Clinton, W. Bush.
Wingspan: 145 feet 9 inches
Length: 152 feet 11 inches
Cruising Speed: 540 nautical mph
Range: 6,650 nautical miles
Service Ceiling: 42,000 feet
27000's replacement, a Boeing 747 with tail number 28000, was ordered
by Reagan, but was not received until 1990 in the Bush administration.
* * *
and now from the 1960s... JFK and LBJ's Air Force One...
Primary Function: Presidential air transport
Power Plant: Four General Electric CF6-80C2B1 jet engines
Thrust: 56,700 pounds (25,515 kilograms), each engine
feet, 10 inches (70.7 meters)
Height: 63 feet, 5 inches (19.3 meters)
195 feet, 8 inches (59.6 meters)
Speed: 701 miles per hour (Mach 0.95)
Ceiling: 45,100 feet (13,746 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 833,000
pounds (374,850 kilograms)
Range: 9,600 statute miles (8,348 nautical miles)
Crew: 26 (passenger/crew capacity: 102)
Introduction Date: Aug. 23, 1990 (tail No. 28000); Dec. 23, 1990 (tail No. 29000)
Date Deployed: Sept. 6, 1990 (tail No. 28000); Mar. 26, 1991 (tail No. 29000)
Inventory: Active force, 2; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0