1) Prior to World War Two, US Presidents rarely flew to other countries. In 1943 Franklin Roosevelt was the first acting President to fly internationally – he flew to Casablanca for a conference. In 1958 Air Force One was introduced and presidential flights become more common.
2) Air Force One actually consists of two completely identical planes. The strategy of having two planes (one acting as a decoy) is one method designed to thwart a possible terrorist attack.
3) The plane has an unlimited range and can travel virtually anywhere since it is refuelled in the air using a separate fuel jet.
4) The specific details on the layout and configuration of the plane is confidential and not even high ranking politicians have access. For those that do have the chance to fly on Air Force One, most are restricted to certain areas only and rarely have access to the Presidential Office on the plane.
5) When Air Force One lands at a major metropolitan airport, it has been known to cause a complete disruption of all incoming and outgoing plane traffic as the area where the crew disembarks needs to be kept completely secure. This can cause significant delays for all air traffic.
6) “Air Force One” technically isn’t a plane – it’s a radio call term used to describe any plane carrying the President of the United States. When the President boards an Army aircraft, it’s referred to as Army One.
7) The lowest level of the plane serves as cargo space and the upper level stores most of the communications equipment. The middle level consists of living quarters. There is a separate bedroom, bathroom, private office and small workout area for the President.
8) Air Force One has some cool special features to prevent an attack. Since it contains double the wiring of a normal Boeing 747 (mainly due to advanced communications equipment) it has heavy shielding on the exterior (including armoured glass) designed to withstand the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear blast. It also has the ability to jam enemy radar and can eject flares to evade a heat-seeking missile. The wings contain mirror-ball defences that are designed to act as an inter-red guidance system in the event of an attack.
9) The President sometimes is seen carrying the “football” – a briefcase containing the codes for a nuclear deployment. The briefcase is monitored by armed guards the entire flight and is given to military personnel upon landing.
10) Air Force One is designed to feed about 100 people but has the storage capacity to hold as many as 2,000 meals.
11) Air Force One is a communications powerhouse – it is believed to contain 85 telephones, 20 televisions, two-way radios, and it has the ability for the President to reach anyone in the world at any time via secured telephone lines. Beige telephones represent secured lines while white telephones represent unsecured lines. The President has the capability to launch a nuclear attack while onboard Air Force One.
12) Each flight is staffed by a doctor and nurse who have the ability to perform medical care in a separate medical office on the plane that has an operating table, emergency medical supplies, defibrillator, blood supplies and a small pharmacy.
13) It costs over $100,000 per hour to operate Air Force One.
14) In the cockpit there is not only a pilot and co-pilot, there is also an engineer and navigator.
15) Air Force One uses it’s own retractable staircase so it doesn’t have to rely on steps in an airport that could potentially be sabotaged.