Regardless of where his official duties take him, the president of the United States flies in a very special Air Force jet that is called “Air Force One”. Many people, Americans and non-Americans alike have had the opportunity to see this impressive flying fortress from afar, but very few have seen it up close and personal and even fewer are aware of the secrets it holds.
Here are five things that will probably surprise you about the awe-inspiring Air Force One.
Living Space Equivalent to 2 Average-Sized Homes
While most people realize that Air Force One is quite large, not many know just how large it is. There is an incredible 4,000 square feet of livable space on board which is divided into three levels. That amount of space is impressively equivalent to two, average sized American homes! And, of course all this space features extremely comfortable furnishings rivaling that of a high-class 5-star hotel.
The president has his own personal suite which is located toward the nose of the plane on the middle deck. Of course his lush suite includes a bedroom located at the very nose of the plane, an adjoining bathroom and next to that a huge private office complete with a presidential desk, several computers, TVs and loads of other equipment. The desk is so large that it can seat several dining guests, allowing the president to conduct business with staff and other VIPs in private.
Has On-Board Flying Hospital
Not all that surprising is the fact that a physician always travels with the president wherever he goes, including while traveling on Air Force One. But most people would be surprised to learn that there is a fully functional hospital on board. While not large, the hospital is very well equipped. It has its own well-stocked pharmacy, an X-ray machine, heart defibrillator and even an operating table for surgery and everything needed to anesthetize the Commander in Chief.
Can Be Fueled While in Flight
This is one fact about the presidential aircraft that will make every frequent flyer jealous. Air Force One has the ability to be fueled mid-air. The jumbo Boeing 747 which serves as the president’s ‘flying White House’ has been specially modified in case it is unable to land for fuel after 7,800 miles in the air. Special Air Force refueling squadrons can fill the huge tanks with fuel while the aircraft is in flight. This makes the flight range of Air Force One virtually unlimited.
On-Board Technology Beyond Belief and Then Some
In spite of its appearance, Air Force One is very unlike the everyday commercial Boeing 747. While many of the aircraft’s modifications are classified as top secret, we do know that Air Force One is considered to be one of the most or possibly THE most technologically-advanced aircraft on earth. The presidential flying fortress is crammed with secret military technology including anti-missile defense capabilities and encrypted communications.
There are dozens of telephones and multifunctional radios on board as well over 230 miles of wiring which connects all the various systems. The flight deck, communications center and all other electrical systems on the plane are specially shielded to prevent them from being affected by electromagnetic pulses generated by nuclear blasts.
Cost of Using the Presidential Aircraft is Sky High
An average American could buy a very nice house for the amount of money it takes to run Air Force One for just an hour. In 2010, The U.S. military provided an estimate that it cost a jaw-dropping $181,750 and some odd cents to operate Air Force One for just one hour when shuttling the President around. This covers everything including fuel, maintenance, operational costs of the various communication systems, engineering support, food and lodging for the flight crew.
As you can see, Air Force One is an extraordinary aircraft. This highly advanced jet is equally impressive to the average ‘Joe’ as it is to folks like the executive team of commercial aviation experts at www.ctaerospace.com. It is far more than just a jet that takes the President from point A to point B as it’s a marvel in aviation engineering and technological advancement.