US President’s plane .. “Holy Cow” before it became “Air Force One”

Whenever the US president boardes a plane, whatever it is, it necessarily bears the name of the radio signal “Air Force One”.

This has been at least since the 1950s, before which was the standard procedure for the U.S. Air Force to identify aircraft with the number written on the tail.

This resulted in a misidentification during radio communications between the Washington Tower of Richmond Air Traffic Control, Air Force One and an Eastern Airlines flight, which received the same flight / tail number.

Officials later realized that using the tail number could lead to accidents and Air Force One has since been renamed Air Force One.

And “Air Force One” is not a single aircraft, any aircraft can receive the radio signal and be known as “Air Force One” once boarded by the President of the United States of America.

Until the president’s departure, the aircraft, regardless of size, make or model, will stay with the “Air Force One” call sign.

When the plane holds the vice president of the United States of America, the call sign is “Air Force Two”.

With the emergence of the United States of America as a superpower on the international stage, “Air Force One” has become a iconic aircraft, and Hollywood has recognized this fact and produced many films that bear that name.

It has been almost 80 years since the first presidential flight to the US and Air Force One has come a long way since then.

As we look back on 2024, when the new Air Force One (said to cost more than $ 5 million) goes into service, AeroTime, a website specializing in aviation issues, takes a look at the history of Air Force One on US celebrities. in history, Air Force One. The predecessor of the Boeing 747 icon.

Theodore Roosevelt (1909-1901)

Practically, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt did not officially travel as President of the United States, but he was the first president to travel abroad while still in office.

In the early twentieth century, the method used was train travel and if the president was asked to leave the country, he had to sail. The crossing of the Atlantic in the early twentieth century lasted about five days.

So presidents always avoided travel at the time to stay near government headquarters, but in 1906 Roosevelt had to inspect works on the Panama Canal. He embarked on a 17-day voyage to South America aboard the 16,000-ton warship, the USS Louisiana.

With this trip, Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to travel abroad while in office.

Franklin Roosevelt (1945 -1933)

Franklin Roosevelt was the first American president to fly in 1943. At the time, Franklin Roosevelt needed to join other allied leaders, including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in a secret conference in Casablanca, Morocco.

Franklin Roosevelt avoided navigation, the usual mode of transportation at the time, as the journey lasted at least a week.

The president traveled on the Boeing Clipper commercial flying boat, and although the aircraft was not designed for presidential use, he inspired the government to create an aircraft intended to fly the president.

Holy cow

The choice fell on the modified Douglas VC-54C Skymaster aircraft for President’s air transport.

It was a replica of the B-24 bomber, with a top speed of 245 miles per hour and a range of 3,600 miles.

The aircraft was designed with a lower door, which was beneficial to President Franklin Roosevelt, whose legs were permanently paralyzed in 1921 after contracting polio.

The bottom door made it easier for Secret Service agents to lift the president, who was in a wheelchair, into the plane.

Finally, a specially designed runway was attached to the plane so that Roosevelt could easily board and leave the plane in his wheelchair.

Subsequently, a special elevator was designed to lift the wheelchair in and out of the aircraft and placed in the rear of it so that the president could be lifted directly at the entrance to his on-board office.

And the elevator was not the only function on the first presidential plane, but it was also equipped with a conference room, bulletproof windows, a private bathroom next to the president’s seat, an electric fridge and even a rollaway bed.

The plane was officially dubbed the “White House Flight,” because of its size and the way it was stored so much, while the press describes it as a “sacred cow.”

The Holy Cow made its first flight in February 1945, when President Roosevelt attended the Yalta Conference in Crimea.

Unfortunately, it was his first and last flight in Air Force One, where he died months later from a hemorrhagic stroke.

Harry Truman (1945 – 1953)

The 33rd President of the United States, Harry Truman, inherited the Holy Cow. But in 1947, Douglas Aircraft Corporation released a newer model airplane to replace the old Flying White House.

Instead of being called out by the press, the presidential pilot and the president’s office chose the name “Independence,” after Truman’s hometown, Missouri.

The plane had a large front hall, which could be converted into a bedroom and had space for 25 other passengers, as well as a fully equipped kitchen, ensuring that food could be prepared for everyone, and there was a speed of 320 miles per hour. and a distance of 4,400 miles.

Dwight Eisenhower (1961 – 1953)

In January 1953, Dwight Eisenhower was elected the 34th President of the United States. Instead of inheriting Air Force One from the previous administration, Eisenhower chose a new Air Force One and crew.

Eisenhower, who was a private pilot and commander-in-chief of Allied Powers in Europe during World War II, chose a Lockheed C-121 constellation with the tail number 8610, a top speed of 376 miles per hour and a range of 5,800 miles. . and named it “Columbine”, after the Colorado state flower. The birthplace of the first lady.

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