I know I am a little biased due to my preference for Boeing over Airbus, but the announcement that the latest variant of the 747 will be the new Air Force One really isn’t a surprise to anyone that followed the process at all. It honestly would not look good to a lot of people to have the American President flying in a French plane.
Just to be clear, the callsign Air Force One applies to any Air Force aircraft that is carrying the president. Which is why the S-3 Viking that carried President Bush onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln was Navy One, because he was on a Navy plane. The presidential helicopter bears the callsign Marine One when the president is on board.
Sorry for the lesson, I will get back to the story at hand.
Almost two years ago I wrote a piece about the 787 being a potential replacement for the presidential fleet of three aircraft. I doubt that it was ever really an option because of the requirements they have for these aircraft, but it was kind of fun to think about it.
The latest version of the queen of the skies is a fitting fixture for our President to strut around the world in. This plane is not just a means of transportation for a powerful leader, but a symbol of his office and the power that it bears. It was a clear decision to pick the most majestic aircraft that is manufactured in America.
The A380 would have been a perfectly acceptable choice as well, along with a few other options, but the symbolic nature of this aircraft really made this choice a no-brainer.
The new planes won’t join the 89th Airlift Wing (the presidential squadron) for about eight years, so we will have gone through at least one more president by the time it enters service. However, I’m sure I speak for all the other avgeeks out there when I say I hope we get to see some of the development, but I’m not naive enough to think we will see much of anything.