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25 Facts About Air Force One



There are a lot of things you don’t know about Air Force One. While you may have thought this airplane was cool based on the Harrison Ford movie or by virtue of being the United States presidential plane, Air Force One is guaranteed to be even cooler than you think.
This list features fun facts about AF1 that combines hilarious anecdotes about presidents, statistics that will blow your mind, and an in-depth look at the crazy features that this unprecedented aircraft has inside.

The Floor Plan

Here’s what we know: Like an ordinary Boeing 747, Air Force One has three decks and passengers can enter through three doors. Normally, when you see the president in the news getting on and off Air Force One with a wave, he is using the door onto the middle deck and a rolling staircase has been pulled up to the plane. Journalists normally enter through the rear door, where they immediately climb a staircase to the middle deck. They never enter via the main door for security reasons.

There’s a Mini-Hospital on the Plane

If the President (or any passenger for that matter) is injured or sick, Air Force One is decked out with a complete medical suite. Doctor? Check. Operating room? Check. Now that’s top-notch medical care.

There Are Three Levels and 4,000 Square Feet

The President’s gonna need to stretch his or her legs once in a while. That’s why it’s convenient that Air Force One has 4,000 square feet of floor space. Not only that, but there are three levels to the plane, making it a triple-decker in the sky.

It’s Sometimes Accompanied by a 747 “Doomsday Plane”

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, meteor strike, or even nuclear warfare, the President of the United States has major backup. E-4B is the military codename for the “doomsday plane” that is constantly on alert. The plane can stay in the air for days and can outpace an explosion of nukes.

It Can Go 650 Miles Per Hour

Though it’s usually going around 580 miles per hour, the top speed for Air Force One is 650. Many contest that it’s gone up to 700, but top speed is somewhere between 630 and 700 mph. Hopefully there are some airsickness bags in at least one of the two kitchens.

It Can Refuel in the Air

In-flight refueling is a rare commodity that Richard Branson would probably love to introduce to Virgin. But this is a special feature of the one and only Air Force One, which can refuel itself up to 35,000 feet in the air.

It Can Survive the Blast of a Nuke

In the event of a nuclear attack, Air Force One is not a bad place to be if you can get in. That’s because the plane’s actual body is designed and secured to withstand the blast of a nuke from the ground, rendering the aircraft a bomb shelter in the sky.

With Two Kitchens, 100 People Can Be Fed

You’ve probably seen the tiny kitchen in the back of a regular plane (the one where the stewardess can barely grab your mini-Coke out of the mini-fridge). On Air Force One, there are two legitimately sized kitchens that can legitimately serve 100 people healthy and hearty meals.

It Has 85 Phones

During take-off, your phone should be turned off. That’s the usual protocol for commercial flights, but Air Force One is not anti-phone. In fact, it has 85 of them. You know, in case 84 are being used.

Ford’s Administration Smuggled Coors Beer

Coors Beer used to be harder to get than you might imagine – it was only available in 11 western states. That’s why President Gerald Ford and his entire administration would load Coors onto Air Force One. Though the flights were not based around the beer pickup, staffers would indeed bring it from out west, specifically Colorado, and fly it back to Washington DC.

In 1959, It Was a Equipped as a Spy Plane

The Cold War meant all bets were off for American national security, which is the mentality that led CIA director Allen Dulles to turn Air Force One into a spy plane. The year was 1959 and, for a short time, cameras were secretly installed in the plane’s wheel wells that were so powerful they could read license plates from 29,000 feet above.

It’s a Mobile Command Center During Terrorist Attacks

If there is another 9/11, Air Force One is equipped in a variety of ways. Besides its physical capabilities and self-preservation, the President can use the plane as a command center and fly his office through the sky if the White House isn’t safe.

Air Traffic’s Got Nothin’ on This Plane

Air Force One gets priority over every other plane in the sky and AF1 pilots don’t have to worry about the amount of air traffic. In fact, air traffic at commercial airports is usually halted when AF1 takes off or lands. A lot of the time, the plane lands at military airports so it doesn’t mess with usual air traffic.

Reagan Had it Stocked with Jelly Beans

While President Bush made sure broccoli was never on Air Force One, Reagan made sure jelly beans were always on board. During both his terms as President in the ’80s, Ronald Reagan kept jelly beans in a jar in both the Oval Office and his aerial office, Air Force One.

Almost 100 People Can Be on Board

While the kitchen can technically feed 100 people, that doesn’t mean 100 people can be on the plane at once. However, it can get pretty close. 26 crew members and 70 passengers (that’s 96 total for all you Mathletes) can fit on Air Force One… comfortably.

There’s Assigned Seating

Every White House administration has its own rules about who can sit where. Still, seating is always assigned on Air Force One. Nearly half of the seats are reserved for the press pool and for Secret Service agents.

Over $660 Million Was Spent on Initial Production

Building a plane is expensive. Building Air Force One is outrageously expensive. In its initial production alone, the “flying White House” cost $660 million and the Air Force helped pay down the bill in $140 million payments.

Bush Approved the Creation of the Department of Homeland Security During a Flight

Historical decisions have been made aboard Air Force One. On one flight to Berlin in 2002, President George W. Bush approved details of a proposal that created the Department of Homeland Security, a brand new department of the United States government that still exists to this day.

Clinton Used to Blast Jazz on Board

Given all the crazy amenities of Air Force One, one might expect a DJ to be on board, too. While this isn’t the case, President Bill Clinton made sure to play whatever tunes he wanted during long flights, the saxophonist would rock out to jazz music at an extremely high volume because of his hearing issues.

It Costs $56K an Hour to Operate

AF1 boasts an hourly rate most employees would gladly accept. To operate the plane, it costs $56,000 an hour.

Its Range Is Limitless

Part of the benefits of aerial refueling is that Air Force One has the capacity to go anywhere. Having unlimited range grants Air Force One unique power and could lend itself to a heckuva flight around the world.

Almost 240 Miles of Wire Run Through the Plane

Air Force One has more electronics inside it than your local Best Buy. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but nearly 240 miles of wire run through the plane. This equipment is responsible for all of the phones, screens, and communication devices that make Air Force One so intricate and powerful.

There’s Always a Doctor on Board

“Is there a doctor in the house?” Since Air Force One is more decked out than most houses, the answer is “yes.” Every single time the President decides to hop a flight, an MD is on board as well. Hopefully the President has enough to cover the doc’s co-pay.

Bush Sr. Banned Broccoli from AF1

While there might be enemies banned from flying on Air Force One, it was the first President Bush who imposed a ban on the real enemy: broccoli. As his chefs knew, Bush Sr. hated the vegetable more than most people hate anything, so he made a rule that it could never be served in the White House or on Air Force One.

Journalists Used to Watch Fargo on Board

While Air Force One probably hovered over Fargo, ND once in a while, the movie Fargo was played countless times on board. During Clinton’s 1996 bid for reelection, the press corps, and even President Clinton himself, regularly watched the Coen Brothers film, leading famed presidential journalist Helen Thomas to declare it “the record-holder of Longest Playing Film Aboard Air Force One.”