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Air Force One Facts for Kids

Even though the words Air Force One might remind you of a famous movie from the 90s, the phrase actually refers to an official air traffic control call sign for a plane carrying the president of the United States! 

In this article, we’re going to look more closely at what Air Force One is and why it is important. Let’s dive right in. 

What is Air Force One?

As mentioned in the introduction, Air Force One refers to the air traffic control’s call sign for an aircraft that is transporting the president of the United States. It is important to note that the aircraft itself usually belongs to the United States Air Force. 

In ordinary language, the term Air Force One refers to both the Boeing VC-25, which is the president’s primary aircraft, as well as any Air Force plane that the president travels in.

History Of Air Force One

Air Force One’s history begins with Franklin Roosevelt. 

When Franklin Roosevelt served in office, he became the first American president to fly in an airplane while still serving his term. While several aircraft were modified for presidential use, the United States Army Air Forces were concerned about Roosevelt’s safety when using commercial jets for travel. 

After a lot of debating, the Secret Service reconstructed a Douglas C-54 Skymaster to transport the president. It included a radiotelephone, and a wheelchair lift to help Roosevelt in and out of the plane. Unfortunately, he was able to use the plane only once before he died. 

Why is Air Force One Important?

Air Force One is important because aside from being the plane carrying the president of America, it is considered an aerial Oval Office! Since the president must be available to travel anywhere in the world at any moment, he must be able to do so safely. Additionally, Air Force One serves as one of the most easily recognizable symbols of the American presidency. 

What is the Difference Between Air Force One and Air Force Two?

The difference between Air Force One and Air Force Two is simple. Any plane carrying the president of America is referred to as Air Force One, while any plane carrying the vice president is referred to as Air Force Two. It’s worth noting that the title of Air Force One or Two doesn’t refer to a specific aircraft model, but rather the aircraft transporting the president itself. 

10 Facts About Air Force One

  1. Air Force One Can Refuel Midair

Since the president needs to be able to travel wherever he needs to go at any time, it’s important the aircraft he travels in can take him there without any stops. Therefore, Air Force One can be refueled midair! In order for the plane to refuel midair, a fuel plane flies above and refuels Air Force One through the plane’s nose. Even though this feature is very useful, it’s never actually been used till date. 

  1. Air Force One Never Parks At A Regular Airport

While this is primarily for security reasons, it’s also because entering and exiting airports takes a lot of time, and the president must be available to travel anywhere at any time. Therefore, Air Force One is always parked at a military facility called Joint Base Andrews immediately outside of Washington, DC. 

  1. Air Force One Has 4,000 Feet Of Floor Space 

The president’s plane is huge and has three separate levels. It has a conference room, an office, and a bathroom. It even has a medical suite that doubles as an operating theatre, should a medical emmergency arise when the president travels. There is always a doctor on standby, as well as two or three cooks. Additionally, there are two food preparation facilities that can feed 100 people at once. 

  1. Air Force One Can Carry Over 70 People At A Time

Considering the plane’s larger than average size and the amount of goods it carries, it’s quite surprising that it can also accommodate over 70 people at a time. These people include the aircraft’s staff, special guest, doctors, chefs, and members of the president’s staff. 

  1. Air Force One Has A Private Entrance And Exit 

Even though more than 70 people can travel at a time, there’s a good chance that none of them will see the president at all over the course of a flight, thanks to the private entrance and exit that the president uses. 

  1. Air Force One Travels At A Speed Of 600 mph

While the president’s plane is larger than the average commercial plane, it still travels pretty quickly, especially when compared to the Boeing 747, which can travel at speeds up to 570 mph. 

  1. All Of Air Force One’s Communications Are Protected

Air Force One contains everything that the president might need to communicate with the world while in the air. Every electronic device onboard the aircraft is protected from hackers and against electromagnetic pulses. Additionally, the plane contains secure communication devices, but the exact details of what those devices are aren’t available for public knowledge. 

  1. There Are 85 Telephones Onboard

There are 85 telephones on board to ensure that the president can communicate with anyone in the world at any given time, as well as to ensure that if one phone doesn’t work, the president has several backups.

  1. The Current Air Force One Aircraft Is Going To Be Replaced Soon

At present, the aircraft being used is the Boeing VC-25A. However, recent developments have shown that the cost of maintaining the older aircraft is more than the cost to develop and build a new one. Therefore, the Air Force decided that a new aircraft would be developed and constructed to function as a new Air Force One. 

  1. Air Force One Costs $200,000 Per Hour To Operate

Operating this aircraft is extremely expensive, costing over $200,000 per hour to operate. These costs include food, fuel, and overall maintenance. 

Conclusion

In this article, we walked you through a list of interesting facts about Air Force One. Even though it might look like a regular aircraft, this plane is so much more than that!