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What is Air Force One?

Air Force One
is the designation of any airplane that serves the President of the United States government. The same planes are used by the vice-president but are called Air Force Two when he is aboard. The presidential fleet consists of two customized Boeing 747-200B aircraft (military designation VC-25A) called SAM 28000 and 29000.
The name Air Force One was established after an incident in 1953, when Eastern Airlines flight 8610 crossed paths with the president's plane, then called Air Force 8610, although the Air Force One name was not made official until 1962. Visit the Air Force One department of the White House Gift Shop, Est. 1946 because we add new gifts and collectibles each month for you to remember your service to America in government, military, or diplomatic service as well as for patriotic Americans and Friends of America who desire unique pieces from the only original White House Gift Shop, Est. 1946 by permanent presidential order.

First Presidential Aircraft: Guess Where II and Sacred Cow

The first aircraft configured for presidential use was a C-87A (Liberator Express) called Guess Where II, but concerns about the C-87 safety record relegated it to use by senior members of the White House staff, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on her goodwill tour of Latin America.

In its place, a Douglas C-54 Skymaster (VC-54C) was configured for the president and nicknamed Sacred Cow. It had a sleeping area, radio telephone, and an elevator to raise President Franklin Roosevelt into it in his wheelchair (but FDR used the plane only once). This airplane is now housed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

The Sacred Cow Becomes Independence under President Truman

In 1947, President Truman replaced the Sacred Cow with a Douglas DC-6 Liftmaster (VC-118) named Independence after his hometown. Its nose was painted to look like a bald eagle. Its aft fuselage was converted into a stateroom. And the main cabin could seat 24 passengers or could be made up into 12 sleeper berths. This airplane is now housed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

President Eisenhower's Columbine II and III and Aero Commanders

In addition to the Independence, Eisenhower used two Lockheed C-121 Super Constellations (VC-121E) called Columbine II and Columbine III and two small Aero Commanders.

President Eisenhower's SAM: Special Air Mission 970, 971, and 972

In 1958, Eisenhower added three additional aircraft into the executive branch service. These were Boeing 707 (VC-137) aircraft designated SAM 970, 971, and 972. These were the first presidential jet aircraft.

President John F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson: Special Air Mission 26000 and 27000

During the Kennedy administration, SAM 26000, a Boeing 707 (VC-137) went into presidential service. Influential industrial designer Raymond Loewy designed the new livery (the exterior color scheme) and the interiors. President Johnson took the oath of office on board SAM 26000, and the airplane continued to serve presidents up to Bill Clinton until 1998. It was replaced as the primary executive aircraft in 1972 by SAM 27000, another VC-137, which served until 2001. This airplane is now housed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

Special Air Mission 28000 and 29000

In 1990, the two Boeing 747 (VC-25A) aircraft used today were delivered, having been ordered by President Ronald Reagan. The same livery was used, but the interiors were selected by Mrs. Reagan.

A new Air Force One is scheduled to go into service in 2017 with Boeing 747-8 and Boeing 787 as possible candidates.

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Air Force One Deluxe Gift Box Air Force One Deluxe Gift Box
Regular Price: $275.00
Air Force One Deluxe Gift Box Air Force One Deluxe Gift Box
Regular Price: $100.00