United States Air Force One
Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign for a United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. In common parlance the term describes those Air Force aircraft designed, built, and used to transport the president. The presidential aircraft is a prominent symbol of the American presidency and its power.
The idea of designating specific military aircraft to transport the President arose in 1943, when officials of the United States Army Air Forces, the predecessor to the U.S. Air Force, became concerned over the reliance on commercial airlines to transport the president. A C-87 Liberator Express was reconfigured for use as a presidential transport, but the Secret Service rejected it because of its safety record. A C-54 Skymaster was then converted for presidential use; this aircraft, dubbed the Sacred Cow, carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference in February 1945 and was subsequently used for another two years by President Harry S. Truman.
The "Air Force One" call sign was created after a 1953 incident during which a Lockheed Constellation named Columbine II, carrying President Dwight D. Eisenhower, entered the same airspace as a commercial airline flight using the same call sign.
A number of aircraft types have been used as Air Force One since the creation of the presidential fleet, starting with two Lockheed Constellations in the late 1950s: Columbine II and Columbine III. It also has included two Boeing 707s, introduced in the 1960s and 1970s; since 1990, the presidential fleet has comprised two Boeing VC-25As, which are specifically configured, highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft. The Air Force plans to procure the Boeing 747-8 for the next version of Air Force One.
February 17th, 2017
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