Donald Trump will be resuming as the President of the United States of America, a post Barack Obama has occupied for the past eight years. Trump will also be inheriting the jets in the presidential fleet; the Air Force One.
The Air Force One is not an ordinary aeroplane, it is a flying mansion. Howstuffworks gives us a concise description of the plane and what makes it tick.
Size and Description
Air Force One has 4,000 square feet of interior floor space. Much of it looks more like a hotel or executive office than a jetliner, except for the seatbelts on all the chairs. The lowest level of the plane mostly serves as cargo space. Most of the passenger room is on the middle level, and the upper level is largely dedicated to communications equipment.
The president has onboard living quarters, with his own bedroom, bathroom, workout room and office space. Most of the furniture on the plane was hand-crafted by master carpenters.
The staff meets in a large conference room, which doubles as the president’s dining room. Senior staff members have their own office area, and the rest of the president’s staff also has space to work and relax. There is a separate area for reporters traveling with the president, and there is plenty of room for the flight crew to do their work. All in all, Air Force One can comfortably carry 70 passengers and 26 crew members
Barack obama looks out through the window of the Air Force One from a Sofa
Like an ordinary Boeing 747, Air Force One has three decks. And, as you can see on TV footage of Air Force One, 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. Most of the press area looks something like the first class section of an ordinary jetliner, with comfortable, spaced-out seats.
Food and Health Care
The crew prepares meals in two fully-equipped galleys. They store a large amount of food in freezers in the lower sections of the plane. The crew is equipped to feed about 100 people at a time, and the storage area holds as many as 2,000 meals.
The plane has a lot of technology in its onboard medical facility. The medical room has an extensive pharmacy, loads of emergency room equipment and even a fold-out operating table. The plane also has a staff doctor, who travels with the president wherever he goes. On every mission, the plane is prepared for a wide range of potential emergencies.
Unlike a normal 747, the plane has its own retractable stairways, for the rear entrance and the front entrance. These stairways open onto the lower deck, and crew members and staff climb internal staircases to get to the upper decks. The plane also has its own baggage-loader. With these additions, the plane never has to depend on an airport’s facilities, which could be a security risk.
The most remarkable feature on the plane is it’s extensive electronics. It has 85 onboard telephones, a collection of two-way radios, fax machines and computer connections. It also has 19 televisions and assorted office equipment. The phone system is set up for normal air to ground connections and secure lines. The president and his staff can reach just about anybody in the world while cruising tens of thousands of feet in the air.
The onboard electronics include about 238 miles of wiring (twice the amount you’d find in a normal 747). Heavy shielding is tough enough to protect the wiring and crucial electronics from the electromagnetic pulse associated with a nuclear blast.
Another special addition is the in-flight refueling connection. As with the B-2 and other combat craft, in-flight refueling gives Air Force One the ability to stay up in the air indefinitely, which could be crucial in an emergency situation.
Some of the most interesting parts of the plane — it’s advanced avionics and defenses — are classified. But the Air Force asserts the two planes are definitely military aircraft, designed to withstand an air attack. Among other things, the plane is outfitted with electronic counter measures (ECM) to jam enemy radar. The plane can also eject flares to throw heat-seeking missiles off course.
Every Air Force One flight is classified as a military operation, and it is handled as such. Air Force crews at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland carefully inspect the plane, and the runway, before every flight.
When it’s time to head off, the Marine One helicopter brings the president from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base. Teams all over the base keep an eye out for any unauthorized craft in the area and are authorized to shoot on sight.
Up until World War II, the president of the United States rarely traveled far from home. Visiting other countries simply took too long, and it cut the president off from the major institutions of government.
The rise of air travel made it feasible for the president to move around the globe and return home in short order. In 1943, Franklin Roosevelt became the first acting president to take to the air when he rode a Boeing 314 “flying boat” to a wartime conference in Casablanca.