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The future "Air Force One" will be a Boeing 747-8

Published on 30/01/2015 09:00 - By

The Pentagon has made its choice, the future American presidential "Air Force One" will be a Boeing 747-8. The Airbus A380 was rejected without too much surprise. The following is a short history of the ‘plane, or rather ‘planes, like no other, which since 1953, have carried the presidents of the United States.

"Air Force One" is the well known name of the American presidential ‘plane. A sort of umbrella term because in reality, "Air Force One" is the official air traffic control call sign  of any US air force aircraft, on board which, the American President might be present.

In 1953, Eisenhower was the first to have a Lockheed Constellation placed at his disposal. Subsequently, it was a Boeing 707 derivative that carried most of the US presidents, and from Kennedy to Reagan, Nixon, Ford, and Carter, that particular Air Force One remained in service for 36 years.

Since 1990, American presidents like Barack Obama have had the use of a refurbished and specially equipped Boeing 747-200, capable of accommodating up to 80 passengers.

Within its 370 sq.m (4,000 sq.ft.) floor area, the present Air Force One has a suite, a bathroom, an office, a medical area, dining room, kitchen, and conference room, together with 87 ‘phone lines and a few seats at the rear for bodyguards, guests and journalists. Finally, in the 747’s characteristic "hump-like" upper deck, there is a control centre that handles secured communications and the aircraft’s protection systems.

But now it is almost time for the Boeing 747-200 to bow out gracefully. Three presidential 747-800’s in total are to be built. The US administration will now begin negotiations of the purchase contract with Boeing. The US aircraft manufacturer will have to work primarily on the specific layout for this new generation Air Force One, which should enter service by 2018 ; the price, of course, is strictly confidential.

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