There’s been plenty of talk about Air Force One. There’s even a movie about it, so Air Force One has gotten loads of attention, but did you know there’s an Air Force Two? As you’ve probably guessed, Air Force Two refers to the radio call sign for the aircraft transporting the Vice President and company. Right now, the aircraft designated for Air Force Two is a C-32A, a specially militarized version of a Boeing 757-200.
Of course, as the second representative of the US, the VP’s aircraft is pretty modest in comparison to its bigger brother, the Boeing 747 200, used for Air Force One. But we’re pretty sure the VP isn’t complaining. After all, it’s equipped with telephones, satellites, and conference facilities.
They’re Due for an Upgrade
Who doesn’t love an upgrade? We’re pretty sure even US presidents get excited about upgrades, especially one to Air Force One. The planes are due for an upgrade as they have been in action since 1990. In fact, the 46th US President has a chance to have a test “run” in the new Air Force One model.
Boeing again won the contract to design the new fleet. The Boeing 747-8 model will become jazzed-up and militarily designed VC-25Bs serving soon as the presidential planes. We’re pretty sure the 46th US President can’t wait to have a joyride in the upgraded aircraft.
Kennedy Starts a Trend
The ill-fated president, John F. Kennedy, left his mark on the US in more than one way. One of the trends this US president started involved Air Force One. When he took to office, he was the first US leader to fly in a modified plane. Before that, presidents didn’t have such sky-high privileges, but all that changed with JFK.
In 1962, JFK flew around in a Boeing 707 that had been specifically built and customized for him. While this was a trend that continued with other presidents, sadly, Kennedy’s modified Boeing 707 also had to carry the president’s body back to Washington after his assassination in Dallas in 1963.
It’s no secret that communication among presidents, prime ministers, and world leaders is pretty serious business. As we have learned from films like “The Imitation Game” and series like “The Bletchley Circle,” these figures tend to talk in code. However, technology has advanced since World War Two, and even talking in code has developed – even when traveling 40,000 ft (12,100 m) in the air.
While onboard Air Force One, communication with the president isn’t interrupted at all; however, this would be an obvious security risk. This is why Air Force One is equipped with encryption and scrambling devices that work on a two-way system. Both information coming in and going out are encrypted so that top-secret information doesn’t fall on the wrong ears.
Given how advanced technology is, it’s unsurprising that the current presidential aircraft model is the biggest it’s ever been. Though it has yet to enter service, the Boeing 737-10 (the largest of the Boeing 737 family) has a wingspan of 117 ft 10 in. (35.9m) and a length of 143 ft 8 in (48.3). When empty, the aircraft’s overall mass is 156,500 lbs (70,987kg). It seems that size really does matter.
The two planes making up Air Force One (two Boeing 747-200s) boast a total length of 231.82 ft (70.66 m), wingspan of 195.67 ft (59.64 m), and without fuel, the weight is an incredible 526463.88 lb (238800 kg). Thank goodness aviation and engineering are where they’re at, or such a plane would never take off.