Presidential Planes

Air force one
Air Force one

On this day back in 1969, the Boeing 747 made its debut. Probably the most famous 747 in the world is Air Force One. There are two 747’s (or VC-25 as the Air Force calls them) in service. Actually, any fixed wing aircraft carrying the President of the United States is called Air Force One, regardless of the make and model. When traveling by helicopter, the president travels on Marine One, as the US Marine Corps oversees the fleet of choppers.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to use an airplane for travel. His cousin Franklin Roosevelt was the first president to have a military plane designated for his use when the Army Air Corps became concerned about the security of the president on commercial flights. President Truman used a C-54 Skymaster named Sacred Cow as his presidential plane. Sacred Cow was first used by Roosevelt during the Yalta Conference in 1945. Truman replaced Sacred Cow in 1947 with a C-118 Liftmaster named Independence, after his hometown in Missouri. The Independence was also the first presidential plane with distinctive markings painted on it, with a bald eagle on the nose. The term Air Force One was first used in 1953 with President Eisenhower when the plane transporting the president had the same call sign as an Eastern Airlines commercial flight while both were using the same airspace. Eisenhower used Lockheed Constellations (C-121) named Columbine I and Columbine II after the state flower of Colorado, which was his wife Mamie’s adopted home state. Eisenhower was the first president to use jet aircraft, with the addition of a Boeing 707 (VC-137) to the fleet in 1958. Kennedy also used a modified long haul 707 Stratoliner during his presidency which remained in service until 1998. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush took possession of the first 747 Air Force One.

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