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Nat Geo Special Examines New Air Force One

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The replacement aircraft, based on the 747-8, the latest and final passenger version of the four-engine jumbo jet, are due to enter service in 2024; but before then, the two aircraft are in the process of a massive remanufacturing that will convert them from standard passenger aircraft into the Flying White House. (www.ainonline.com) 更多...

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Bernie20910
Bernie20910 26
"As a result of the fully-digital cockpit, which will consolidate all of the various system controls including defense, the on-duty flight deck crew on the next Air Force One will be reduced from four to two."

Am I wrong to be having reservations about the ability of just two flight officers to handle that workload, no matter the improvements of the systems? I do not doubt that these are some superbly trained and qualified aviators, but I also do not doubt that in the event things go south I'd want the guy/gal handling aircraft defense to not also be running checklists for some other issue.
JSandi
James Sandiford 11
AF1 always flies with more than one crew even on short domestic trips.
MKanzler
Mark Kanzler 3
They are setup to be autonomous for up to 72 hours in case of unforeseen circumstances. They have small weapons (M-16 type) on board - probably other handheld weapons like grenade launchers, I'd imagine.

They have to be prepared if someone attempts to hold the airplane hostage, or if they get stuck somewhere for other reasons.
yatesd
yatesd 8
That is the job of the USAF Ravens. They protect the aircraft. The Secret Service protects the President. Ravens guard the aircraft literally all the time...even now when it is in build phase. When a VC-25 goes into depot, Ravens go with it. Raven duty is hard work, with frequent travel. The time spent at depot is more stable and often viewed as a break. Learned all this in my 3 years at Andrews.
BrucePryde
Bruce Pryde 4
Haven't heard anybody talking about the USAF Ravens in a long time. Extremely fascinating job, one of those branches of the military that doesn't get enough recognition for their behind the scenes work. Hats of to them!
alexa320
alex hidveghy 1
Yes, they are always there, 24/7, no matter where the aircraft is parked. Over the past few years, I’ve seen them at least a half dozen times at my airport.....
w7psk
Ricky Scott 3
When I was working on the Current AF1 747s in Wichita security was a bear in and out every day. We got checked going in and going out twice by the AF security teams.
carpetshoe
carpetshoe 8
Perhaps this will be downvoted but when the premier air-superiority jets of the USAF have digital everything cockpits, it would seem that the US armed forces have the capability to shield from hostile intrusions. The only question then is whether unintentional bugs will lead to problems. However, one should not forget that the additional options of digital systems and the reduced workload brings its own benefits. As such, after careful examination I expect modern technology was found to be an overall improvement. As for the 2 vs 4 argument, I wonder whether it was determined that 4 decision makers increased the time needed to coordinate opinions. As such, 2 pilots might simplify the job as thus be simpler. In addition, one should not forget that these pilots are perhaps some of the best one can find anywhere. In addition and correct me if Im wrong but routine communications workloads from speaking with other airborne aviators, centers and towers is greatly reduced as everything/everyone is moved out of the area when AF1 comes through. Perhaps the only question to me is whether the USAF will add a secret option to remotely pilot the airplane in case of incapacity. I wonder I wonder... this could be the basis for a next blockbuster film, I suppose.
tlillis4
Thomas Lillis IV 8
No, I think your reservations are sound. This is the one aircraft where you want redundancy. The idea of two on the flight deck brings to mind the crash of the Smolensk air crash where unforeseen circumstances, bad weather and an overburdened pilot led to tragedy. Modern air crashes are always a concatenation of multiple factors - why invite one on Air Force One?

I'm also not keen on the "All digital flight deck". While fine for flying in airspace of the developed world it seems, again, and invitation for trouble. However well they harden the electronics it's hard to argue that vacuum based gauges are immune to EMP, interference or digital hacking.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 6
As said, there are always more than one flight crew available to fly the plane. They'll hold duty times down, likely more strict than the FAA requires for 121 operators.

In all, there are over a couple dozen people who staff the aircraft in flight from security and communications down to galley workers.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 5
It appears previous VC-25s had a navigator station. There's a fourth position that may be manned by a senior enlisted person. That's uncertain.
mmccook
Michael McCook 4
I believe the current basic cockpit crew of 4 is actually two pilots and 2 flight engineers, which is the minimum USAF cockpit crew for aircraft requiring a flight engineer. Since the -8 does not require an FE, only two pilots are necessary. The crews will be augmented when required. This is industry standard, including military.
LeanderWilliams
Leander Williams 3
Since Air Force One often flies internationally, is there a relief crew aboard?
mmccook
Michael McCook 2
I would say, considering the uniqueness of their missions, they would probably always carry a relief crew for contingency plans. Although, that would only be a guess.
LeanderWilliams
Leander Williams 1
I would like that would be the case, but who knows. The four-man cockpit crew would have solved that. I have heard that a lot of pilots started their careers as flight engineers. Plus, with all that sophisticated self-defense equipment someone needs to handle that while the pilot performs evasive maneuvers.
bigkahuna400
bigkahuna400 25
I hope they remove and go back to the old livery on the plane. The one planned is just plane ugly and wont match any other Air Force planes out there. My vote is to use the existing paint scheme and NOT the dark blue.
Somchaifrohman
Robert Drumm 7
I like the variant design (linked at end) that is the Kennedy era blue & white, with the presidential seal on the tail. Tradional yet distinctive, especially between the older VC-25A's and the new VC-25B's.

The Trump livery looks like a cross between US Airways and the final TWA livery.

Air Force One needs to be instantly recognizable (as it is now), not just another airliner.

Link:
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Y_JkwtpRFdg/XQWyrGt7qUI/AAAAAAAAAes/lqcEZPfb4gMYIRiTQuFD7-yQBYdliL3NACLcBGAs/s1600/AirForceOneLoewyVariation.png
LeanderWilliams
Leander Williams 0
It's a wonder he did put his name on it.
kevinkeswick
Kevin Keswick 18
I agree! The iconic "Air Force One" livery is a big part of what makes this plane such a special gleaming symbol of America wherever it lands in the world. It was created by the great father of Industrial design, Raymond Lowey with heavy input from Jackie Kennedy who, as we know, had impeccable taste and pedigree. It is reminiscent of the Kennedy "Camelot" era and I don't see how it can be improved upon. The proposed new livery by Trump is completely uninspiring. Saying the current livery is "outdated" is like saying the American Flag is "outdated"
sanfranjoe
Joe Owen 3
Amen. You said it all correctly. Glad to see credit given to Raymond Lowey.
charlie02vy
Charlie Roberts 2
Go back to original silver of the Connie.
RetiredCaptain
Jasper Buck 4
Amen, I still like the polished metal livery look. The Lockheed VC-121E “Columbine III” (a Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation) was (and still is) all polished aluminum with red/white/blue prop tips. A nice look. Not sure what an all polished aluminum 747-8 would look like.

Best
charlie02vy
Charlie Roberts 4
Well, when NWA existed, they look pretty sharp.
dwight666
D Chambers 2
A while back, American Airlines was mainly (nearly-all) aluminum. Then they got a bunch of consultants involved. Horrid, boring colors today. Promotions and bonuses to the executives. Sigh....
mike6334
Michael Altieri 2
Always liked the polished AL fuselage. Back in the day I heard that they saves 100’s of pounds by not applying paint.
srobak
srobak 1
I am guessing you were admiring them from the cool comfort of a white United or Delta jet? Because those of us sitting at the gate in a polished plane roasted our cashews off from the time we boarded until the time we exited - even on sunny winter days.
birtsjoe
Joe Birts 1
Don't think you spend much time sitting at the gate on AF1.
alexa320
alex hidveghy 2
For that matter, AF1 never sits at a gate! Special parking area with a security boundary, 24/7.
aurodoc
aurodoc 1
The new paint job looks like the old US Air livery.
MKanzler
Mark Kanzler 1
The polished livery uses different skin material (I think it was called Alclad?)
It uses the high strength aluminum of painted aircraft wit a coating of a different alloy which corrodes slower and polishes out easier.
paulfharris
Paul F Harris 1
I read somewhere the colour will include red instead of blue?
srobak
srobak 5
No. It will be red white and blue. https://www.airforcemag.com/app/uploads/2020/04/Air-Force-1-Test-2-900x600.png
carpetshoe
carpetshoe 2
I doubt it. Read: https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/01/25/with-new-air-force-one-planes-still-bare-it-will-be-up-to-biden-to-choose-between-the-jets-classic-livery-or-a-fresh-paint-scheme/

As for choices, there are a few interesting 'fresh' designs such as:

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Y_JkwtpRFdg/XQWyrGt7qUI/AAAAAAAAAes/lqcEZPfb4gMYIRiTQuFD7-yQBYdliL3NACLcBGAs/s1600/AirForceOneLoewyVariation.png

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ekb_ibr-1JU/XlvDIeJvpCI/AAAAAAAAA98/U9nYwBCNq2YSH2o41Qy1yjQEfJ628_AtQCPcBGAYYCw/s1600/air-force-one-livery-design-update.png
srobak
srobak -5
The first one is not at all a fresh design. Takes more than a crest on the tail to call something like that fresh.

The second isn't even a consideration. It will be considered a reflection of America's systemic white supremacy problem.

To that effect - expect all majority white-painted commercial aircraft to receive new, diverse paintjobs in the coming 2 years to help stop the racist nature of our country, science be damned as to why white is beneficial for aircraft.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
White reflects light compared to other colors, which would help to heat up an aircraft, no matter the altitude.
alexa320
alex hidveghy 2
It’s called albedo. That’s why it’s better to have a white or silver car in the desert, not black or a dark color......same reasoning. White reflects most whereas black will retain heat for longer.
srobak
srobak 0
people downvoting my comment. that's hysterical.... they blame me for the ridiculous anti-white culture that his risen this past year. Really? I am just reporting on the state of the society in their hatorade towards all things white.... if you don't like it - then you be the change. I am doing my part.

For those who are truly inept - my previous reply was dripping sarcasm. Let's be a little less dense than the paint on the plane, eh?
crazycatz20
crazycatz cooke 1
Personally, I love the old livery, but it looked way better on the 707 than it does on the 747. besides, the old livery is a bit outdated.
srobak
srobak -2
Personally I think it should be in the colors of our flag - red white and blue, like in the one proposed by 45. Maybe not in the exact design that he has proposed, but as it is literally the flying symbol of America it should fly this country's colors, and quite proudly so.
BrucePryde
Bruce Pryde 1
What 45 had picked out was a dark navy blue that looks black from a distance. He was trying to replicate the colors of his Trump aircraft. Not as long I'm still breathing. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
srobak
srobak 0
Even in the natgeo report they said it was the blue of the starfield from the flag
popsbob
Bob Alexander 5
Wish I known about this before it was aired, instead of 4 days AFTER it aired!
srobak
srobak 7
It's nat geo. It will air 50 times in the coming month.
rowettd
Dale Rowett 4
Looks like you can stream it. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/tv/movies-and-specials/the-new-air-force-one-flying-fortress
SmittySmithsonite
SmittySmithsonite 1
Hate how they make you sign up for a TV provider if you don't have one. I'm always jumping through hoops it seems ...
srobak
srobak 3
if you don't have one then how would you watch it in the first place? They want to make sure you have paid for the subscription to the channel - be it through your provider or via their app & stream service. It's not free.
SmittySmithsonite
SmittySmithsonite 2
Streaming right from the NatGeo site, like Dale posted. Or on YouTube - plenty of TV shows on there.
yatesd
yatesd 2
If you have Youtube TV, it is available on demand.
BrucePryde
Bruce Pryde 1
That's how I get it.
LeanderWilliams
Leander Williams 1
I found this... It says you can watch online. I am going over to check it out.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/tv/movies-and-specials/the-new-air-force-one-flying-fortress
johdgui
Johnathan Guif 6
That's a sad thing to hear. " the latest and final passenger version of the four-engine jumbo jet."
baingm
Gary Bain 3
I like this one. Very classy and representative of the country and flag.
ReverendLee
ReverendLee 11
I would not fret about the paint scheme. There is no way that the current administration is going to allow the 45th president's redesign to go forward. The order is not complete, and the paint has not been applied. I would expect that the DoD will receive a "revised" design recommendation. Because, let's face it, the 45th president had awful, gaudy, disgustingly boorish taste. The classic JFK livery shall remain.
sanfranjoe
Joe Owen 4
Boy, you got that next-to-last sentence absolutely correct.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

alexa320
alex hidveghy 5
Hardly! We are back to being a democracy again, don’t you know? There was an election last November which firmly rejected Putin’s friend! And he’s the Communist, remember?

Some like to re-write history.....Stalin was good at that.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 2
If Trump was Putin's friend as you say, then why was Russia's military buzzing US Navy warships or flying dangerously around US Air Force aircraft? Why did we have the need to send interceptors to escort the Tu-95 Bear" bombers that encroached on US airspace? Funny how that works between "friends."
srobak
srobak -1
Lol... You've clearly been smoking too much of your own product.
alexa320
alex hidveghy 0
Sorry, I don’t smoke! That’s for the rubes....
srobak
srobak -1
Well then you've been drinking too much of the Kool-Aid. there's no other excuse for being so 180 degrees completely out of phase with reality.
alexa320
alex hidveghy 2
I also don’t drink! Try harder, you might succeed. Eventually.
jwerner761
James Werner 2
Would have been nice to see this in Flight Aware BEFORE the National Geographic Special aired (four days before this publication).
srobak
srobak 2
It's nat Geo. It will be on 50 more times by the end of the month
OldMarmot
OldMarmot 2
So we reduce the flight crew from four to two, and increase the communications crew from three to four. Interesting priority choices.
srobak
srobak 0
almost a direct reflection of society at large - increasing reliance and integration of silly platforms like FB into _everything_ in our lives, while reducing the amount of real-live people, things and events we interact with.
yatesd
yatesd 3
The comm operators do far more than maintain internet. One thing learned during 9/11 was how quickly comms get overloaded. Systems like HF-GCSS showed their relevance. The change directly reflects the lessons learned. You need more crew to monitor and keep the President in contact at all times.
coghland
Denis Coghlan 2
Just a small poìnt.

The call sign 'Air Force One' is used by whichever aircraft the POTUS is flying in.

When the POTUS changes to another aircraft, even if it's a privately owned Cessna, the call sign follows him!
srobak
srobak 0
well known - but the presidential 747's are also commonly referred to as AF1 - just as most offshore powerboats are called "cigarette boats" - even though they are manufactured by a myriad of companies other than Cigarette.
VMGR352
Robert Jennings 2
Having worked on/contributed to one of the comms packages for Air Force One, immediately after 9/11; for the record, there's a specific reason for paint on the 25A's and 25B's.
baingm
Gary Bain 1
Did you get the link? I don't see it. It was the second link in Martin Adams' post.
MKanzler
Mark Kanzler 1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alclad
LeanderWilliams
Leander Williams 1
I missed that Nat Geo special. Does anyone know if it is streaming on their website or YouTube?
srobak
srobak 1
It will be on 50 more times before the end of the month
SmittySmithsonite
SmittySmithsonite 0
It's on their site, but if you don't have cable, or satellite TV, or don't subscribe to something like Hulu, you can't watch. I haven't searched YouTube yet, however.
bdarnell
bdarnell 1
Broken link - www.ainonline.com redirected you too many times.
bigkahuna400
bigkahuna400 1
Link is no good
watersw1
Bill Waters -6
Too bad smokey joe biden will never see it!
srobak
srobak 1
He can just executive order it
carpetshoe
carpetshoe 0
I don't think I've ever heard of the term "cranked wings". Do they mean pitch-variable wings a la FA/14 or do they mean 'raked' wingtips a la 777/787 ?

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

xmitr
Don Whyte 2
Maybe if it landed on your head it wouldn't be damaged.
KineticRider
Randy Marco 1
I know that "FREE Market" repugnanism is working so well for you in Texasss... no water, heat etc.

Yep, Idiots CAN'T be fixed.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 4
Yet Cali can rely on neighboring states for power, and can't keep from having rolling brown-outs, even if they tell residents about it ahead of time. Go figure.
tongo
Dan Grelinger 1
I whole-heartedly agree with your final comment!
SmittySmithsonite
SmittySmithsonite -2
The entire heating infrastructure failed there, however, nothing failed as badly as the green energy everyone was forced to subsidize. Had power companies been able to hold onto the untold millions the government forced them to spend on green energy, the grid wouldn't have failed. Green power will come in time, but you can't ram it down everyone's throat. Right now it's a losing proposition. The irony of helicopters burning 100 gallons of fossil fuels per hour, spraying fossil-fuel-derived anti-icing agents on windmill blades is not lost on me, at least.
RECOR10
RECOR10 2
Oh, you and all your facty facts...you must take notice of what is important here...the only important thing is how the weak-minded idiot liberals FEEL.
RECOR10
RECOR10 -1
Wait, want GREEN energy what failed in TX? Oh, yes, it is...pesky facts. Oil was burning quite well!
alexa320
alex hidveghy -1
No, that honor will go to your hero, trump! But not in a plane crash. he loves lawsuits, right? But not having to defend them when he usually caves and settles! Once a grifter, always a grifter....
RECOR10
RECOR10 -7
We ask all new patients if they have ever had to sue a doctor...say yes, find another doctor. We also check staff for past employment law issues...we don't hire them either. You know, settling is lower cost than defending, and the courts can not protect the sue happy idiots in the real world. People see lawsuits as nothing more than easy money and higher revenue than public aid.
srobak
srobak 9
By law you cannot ask either of those questions. I hope your facility gets stripped of it's licenses.
RECOR10
RECOR10 0
Um, yes - we can. PUBLIC RECORD, Facebook is a killer resource for who to NOT hire. Voting records are also PUBLIC. And, free for all to access....so, there you ahve it. I seriously fired a guy for saying he voted for Biden (plus he was within his 90 days).
srobak
srobak 1
Public record and asking people something are 2 different things. Just like you cannot ask the ethnicity nor age of someone when they apply for a job - but you can clearly tell both when they are sitting in front of you during an interview..

That being said - Cancel Culture by any side of the political fence is a major problem. Your direct contributing to it is shooting yourself in the foot and will only further the divide. This is starkly contrast to conservative ideals.

That being said - anyone who decides the fate of another's professional status (other than within politics itself) based on their political position has no business in managing a businesses business....ss.... ss... sussusudio. It is a personal matter and so long as it does not affect or impact the business - it is flatly unethical to cause penalty & harm against an individual for it. It also opens the individual acting in such a manner up for personal liability - and it should.

This has long been the position held by constitutionalists, conservatives and even far-right leaning. You & your company's position to the contrary is not only unethical, but also hypocritical - and you have lost any basis for calling foul when the left does it.

You lead to the path of righteousness and true equality by rising to a higher level and setting the example - not by sinking to the bullying tactics of whackadoo extremism the left likes to employ.
KennyFlys
Ken Lane -6
Then Trump accomplished this with taxpayers' money...

https://www.businessinsider.com/air-force-one-pentagon-52-billion-2019-8
MKanzler
Mark Kanzler 2
So, do you think he should have done a GoFundMe or something?
How do you think Presidential transportation is paid for?
KennyFlys
Ken Lane 0
I didn't say free. He got the cost reduced, saving taxpayers' money.

Geeze, if you had read the piece you'd learn that.
BrucePryde
Bruce Pryde -2
If Trump said it happened....it didn't. Guess what, he lies.
WhiteKnight77
WhiteKnight77 1
All politicians lie. Where have you been?
srobak
srobak 2
Let's not forget that the original cost difference between O's order and T's was nearly 3 billion (as indicated in your linked article) - with O's being higher. That was _just_ for the airframes. Not the mods.

If anyone thinks the mods and tech that was going to inside O's purchase was not going to double or even triple the cost - or that suddenly the costs of such tech was somehow going to go down while still being bleeding edge - they are delusional and have no business in the aero or tech industries

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