Air Force One: President's Plane Returns To Him After 18-Month Long Tune-Up

Margaret Minnicks

According to CNN, President Barack Obama's Air Force One was returned to him on Monday after an 18-month long tune-up. There was nothing wrong with the plane, but the lengthy process was for normal cosmetic and preventive maintenance.

There are two identical planes. While one Air Force One was being tuned up, the president used the other Air Force One. Both planes are Boeing 747-200 models that meet the security and logistical needs of the president and his flying staff. The aircraft the president has been using for the past 18 months is now headed to Texas for similar maintenance.

"Both planes will reach the end of their 30-year service life in 2017, and the U.S. Air Force has set aside $1.65 billion between 2015 and 2019 for two replacement planes."

Air Force One might look like a typical Boeing 747, but the presidential plane was specially modified by the U.S. Air Force to operate as a fully functional and secure flying White House.

There are many interesting things to know about Air Force One. For instance, the president's plane can be refueled while in the air. That means it can stay airborne indefinitely. The fuel cap is well disguised by a good paint job on the nose of the plane.

The U.S. Air Force has eight official presidential pilots on staff. The plane can fly 7,800 miles fully-fueled at a top speed of 630 miles per hour.


The plane is equipped with an encrypted telecommunications system so that the president can pick up any of the plane's 87 phones and talk securely to anyone in the world from the sky.

The plane has 4,000 square feet of floor space, including three decks. The spacious presidential quarters include a living area with beds, a private bathroom and shower, a Situation Room, and presidential office. The president's office is so large, he can use a mobile treadmill on long flights.

Two kitchen galleys are equipped to feed up to 100 people. There is a supply of groceries on hand so chefs can prepare whatever the president wants to eat.

A medical doctor always travel with the president when he flies. The plane has a full-stocked medical facility that can be used as an operating room, if necessary. The facility has a pharmacy, medical tools, operating table, and equipment. An extra reserve of the president's blood type is stored in the medical center.


There are some secret details about the plane's defense capabilities, but it is no surprise that Air Force One is a military aircraft with the ability to function as a de facto bunker in the event of a nuclear attack. The plane also has a special electronic defense system that can jam enemy radar.

Wherever the president travels, his specially-crafted limo, dubbed the "Beast," goes ahead of Air Force One to receive the president when he lands. The American-made Cadillac limo goes in a military cargo plane to be in place on the tarmac when the president arrives.

On Monday, ABC Reporter Jonathan Karl tweeted from aboard the newly tuned-up Air Force One.

"#Obama has flown 1.1 million miles on Air Force One, or 2364 hours in the air. That's equivalent of 98 days on the plane! #AF1 @WNTonight."