What makes Air Force One so special

In the President's convoy

Soon the new President Joe Biden plans to travel to Europe with his Boeing VC-25, better known as Air Force One. There are two aircraft of this type, they were built 30 years ago on the basis of the Boeing 747-200 and put into service. The old models will soon be replaced by the new Boeing 747-8. Despite all sorts of functions and technology, Air Force One never makes a trip without an escort, but what does it look like?

When the President of the United States makes a state visit, it is an expensive and time-consuming affair. It costs around $ 180,000 an hour to run your plane. While the President is sitting in one VC-25, the other often flies behind as a replacement machine. There are also numerous flights connected with his visit days before and after the President's arrival.

With helicopters and armored limousines

The first US Air Force aircraft land at the destination airport at least three days in advance, often Lockheed C5 Galaxy transport aircraft. Among other things, they bring means of transport such as the seven-meter-long limousine “The Beast” or helicopters of the Marines, also known as White Hawk or Marine One.

With Air Force One, other aircraft often fly in parallel in a convoy. In addition to the replacement machine, there is often a tanker with them so that it can be refueled in the air in an emergency. It is believed that thanks to in-flight refueling, the aircraft can fly for up to 72 hours at a time. Contrary to some rumors, the presidential plane is not always accompanied by fighter planes; this is only the case in emergency situations such as September 11, 2001.

Lack of parking at the airport

Due to the many planes of the President, there may well be a lack of space at the airports. Air Force aircraft are then distributed to surrounding airports and Air Force bases. They park there until they are needed again, or they fly straight back to their base.

While the VC-25 is on the ground, there are often restrictions on the airport. In 2019, when Donald Trump visited, the airspace around Hamburg Airport was closed to private planes for days. When the president leaves, everything at the airport will also stand still until Air Force One has rolled from its parking position to the runway and taken off. In the days after her departure, the many transport machines will follow her.

Air Force One and Two

The aircraft that the President flies in are provided by the US Air Force; when the President is on board, the callsign of these aircraft is "Air Force One". This applies not only when the President is in one of his VC-25s, but in all Air Force aircraft. As soon as the President enters a Marine Corps helicopter, its callsign is "Marine One". If the Vice President travels alone, the same applies, but then it is called Air Force Two or Marine Two.