Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

USAF Seeks Air Force One Replacement

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the get-off-my-plane dept.

Transportation 640

Tyketto writes "The United States Air Force has taken the first public step in the search for a replacement of the Boeing VC-25, also known as Air Force One, saying it is no longer cost effective to operate and modernize the two 19-year-old VC-25s, which are converted Boeing 747-200s. Airbus has already submitted data for the A380, and while Boeing has had the Air Force One contract for nearly 50 years, delays with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Boeing 747-8, as well as the KC-X Tanker competition, may see the USAF looking to Europe for its next presidential aircraft."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Air Force One replacement (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398353)

It is actually surprising how much is involved in transporting the POTUS. Last time the POTUS was in town [utah.edu] there was a considerable presence that travelled around with him and Air Force One is only a small part of that traveling circus. While the current VC-25 are starting to show their age, one does wonder just what sort of requirements creep are involved. It used to be that simple transport would be acceptable and in actuality, the 737 makes for a wonderful government transport in the C-40 [utah.edu] and in fact the current 747 design (though modified since) has been in place since just 1990. In some ways the 747-8 does simplify some systems, making maintenance easier and cheaper as well as possessing more efficient engines, but just playing an opposing advocate, do we really need a 747-8 or an A380? My bias would be yes for a number of reasons, but I also think it is reasonable to ask some harder questions about what is actually required.

Re:Air Force One replacement (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398571)

While your post has enough buzzwords to garner the Insightful tag from clueless mods, your use of the term POTUS and the link with the 'in town' reference only earns you the Douche tag.

Re:Air Force One replacement (0, Offtopic)

BWJones (18351) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398671)

I suppose your comment is from the "Hey! You kids... Get off my lawn!" category. Especially seeing as how you have invoked "douche" in your last couple of posts. Is that your word of the day? :-)

Seriously though, POTUS is an accurate description I suppose given that you can replace 9 syllables with 2 when one is talking. It also saves space and effort when typing.

Re:Air Force One replacement (5, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398591)

I'm sure it receives a lot of special modifications. Here's what they do to protect a C130 from a heat seeking missile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmZDdvKAUOg [youtube.com]
I'd imagine the onboard "electronic warfare" package is also substantial.

Re:Air Force One replacement (1, Funny)

ewanm89 (1052822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398795)

Well Air Force One is suppose to be the ultimate warfare command center in the sky. Able to control the whole of the US armed forces and override any media coverage if needed. I think flares are just the tip of the ice berg so to speak.

Is an A380 big enough? (4, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398601)

Presidents tend to have pretty big egos, so maybe the space is needed.

On the other hand, the Senate scolded the American Big Three for their corporate jets. Maybe the Air Force should be a better role model, and go for something smaller.

I was thinking of something like this: http://www.jamesbondmm.co.uk/vehicles/little-nellie?id=002 [jamesbondmm.co.uk]

The President could have some real fun with that, and it would add teeth to his domestic and foreign policy.

Re:Air Force One replacement (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398711)

1.21 niggawatts? 1.21 niggawatts!
There is only one thing that can generate 1.21 niggawatts...A nigger.
Unfortunately you don't know when or where one will steal your bike.

not scope creep - capability creep (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398743)

The scope hasn't changed. It's always been to transport the absolute maximum possible with absolute safety, total reliability, highest possible speed and lowest cost.

However, that's not a practical proposition and does contain some mutually contradictory requirements. The good news is that as aircraft get bigger, faster, more reliable and flexible the gap between the "do everything" that's being asked for is getting closer to what can be achieved.

First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Defector!!! (49874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398359)

Post

Re:First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398397)

What is really sad is that your one letter post, "post" was a full minute behind the actual first post complete with content, links and relevance. Come on now, cut it out because this first post stuff is just lame.

Re:First Post! (2, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398769)

So long as there are message boards, there will be "First Post!!!" messages in second and third position on them.

I'm sure there's a name for this law, "Law of first moron" seems appropriate.

I have to ask (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398363)

Why can't they just buy a new 747? I'm not saying it's the best choice if they need a bigger plane, but it is a solution.

Re:I have to ask (4, Interesting)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398433)

Why does the President need a bigger plane, anyway?

I would say he needs the smallest plane that can fly over the Pacific. Or the plane that can land on the shortest runway possible. I think, especially with this new President coming in to office ten days from now, there will be more trips to developing countries. Countries that do not have the runway, airport, and infrastructure that the Western world has. Sure, other arrangements can be made, but there would be nothing like having Air Force One fly into their country. Think of the PR. I think it shows more respect, too; which is something our Government needs to do.

Re:I have to ask (3, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398481)

Be realistic. Why does the United States care about a third world, impoverished nation?

Re:I have to ask (4, Funny)

k_187 (61692) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398543)

Because Bono says we're supposed to.

Re:I have to ask (0, Troll)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398667)

Ah yes, the lead man for the worlds most successful mediocre band. I saw him try to sing backup vocals for Leonard Cohen. It was embarrassing. No range, his voice was cracking like crazy and he was flatting and sharping all over the place. He sells well, though, so he must have good marketers...

Re:I have to ask (1)

Hawkeye05 (1056362) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398553)

I'd say one of These [wikipedia.org] actually if you want something that looks bad-ass. Maybe not as Air Force One, but as a shorter range transport perhaps a replacement for Marine One [wikipedia.org] something that's faster and still has VTOL capability.

Re:I have to ask (3, Funny)

mad flyer (589291) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398613)

Hey, it's illegal to make threats against the president of the USA...

Or did they finally fix the V22 ?

Re:I have to ask (1)

NouberNou (1105915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398701)

That thing is a deathtrap... Just because it looks cool doesn't mean its a good thing.

Also there is no way that thing could land at the White House.

Re:I have to ask (0, Troll)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398573)

Why does the President need a bigger plane, anyway?

Why, so that we can appreciate the magnificence of the federal government of the USA, of course. It takes a 747 to contain a sufficient quantity of underlings and sycophants to enable the president to believe that he's capable of ruling the world.

-jcr

Re:I have to ask (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398623)

If the president flies into a country, he does it on Air Force One. It doesn't matter if it is a freaking two-seater.

Presumably, there is usually some need for a larger transport.

Re:I have to ask (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398435)

Well, the 747 they have now is no longer being build.
If they want to stay in the same size category, they either need to get an A380, or go for the new 747-8 model, which, however, is currently subject to delays, too. It was supposed to be in the air this year, I think, but it's not likely to fly before mid-2010, so first deliveries are still further off.

That said - they're putting out a RFP now, they want to get their planes in 2017 or so, so the 747-8 should be fine. I prefer the A380 but I agree - A380 as Air Force One: no way.

Re:I have to ask (1, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398495)

Why can't they just buy a new 747? I'm not saying it's the best choice if they need a bigger plane, but it is a solution.

I'd ask the opposite: why do they need a 747 in the first place? It sure looks impressive (maybe that's the answer), but does the president really have to take five hundred people along anywhere he goes?

Re:I have to ask (5, Interesting)

bds1986 (1268378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398555)

It doesn't carry that many people. The aircraft may fly the President around, but it also has the job of being a flying command post. It's full of communication equipment to keep in constant contact with the military and civilian government, conference rooms, living facilities, supplies, weapons (in case they have to land in an unsecured location), electronic defense measures, and other classified stuff we can only imagine. It's also hardened against EMP.

Hence the reason they can't just buy one off of American Airlines and change the paint job.

Re:I have to ask (4, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398599)

Hence the reason they can't just buy one off of American Airlines and change the paint job.

Yet the Queen of the UK or the British Prime Minister can fly using scheduled air travel?

Re:I have to ask (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398689)

I guess I missed the meeting where the queen was given control of the military and nuclear weapons in case of a war.

Agree with it or not, and/or like it or not, at this stage in history the U.S. President has the greatest responsibility in world right now and assuring his safety in case of emergencies is pretty much a bigger deal than seeing if a purely ceremonial queen is flying on British Airways business class.

Re:I have to ask (1)

bds1986 (1268378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398731)

The Queen and the PM aren't head of the largest superpower in the world, in charge of one of the largest nuclear weapons stockpiles (I'm aware of the Vanguard class subs but they pale in comparison to what the Americans have). In any case, Blair wanted an equivalent to Air Force One ("Blair Force One"), and there is an RAF squadron charged with moving PM and Queen around, although in an aircraft less flash than the VC-25. Last I heard Brown was thinking about axing both but hadn't decided. Source.

Re:I have to ask (4, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398607)

Please do not use phrases like "military and civilian government." There is one government, and the military is a component of it.

Saying "military and civilian government" is the thin edge of a wedge, IMO, toward considering it acceptable that there would be a military not attached to the office of the executive. If you were so inclined, you should explore situations in history in which that has happened.

And we, the electorate who put into office the civilian government, are responsible for the military actions taken during their administration.

Re:I have to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398765)

I agree with your post. There's far too much noise happening that appears to split a wedge between the military and the civilian side of government. I'm especially concerned about the apparent militarization of the civilian police.

However, it's good to point out that the military has, in many cases, separated communications, and a different legal code from civilian law. I didn't know that until a friend mentioned that even the FCC does not regulate military radios. If you're in the Army, you don't break a state law, it's the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

I think we'd have has less issue with it if the OP had stated "military, and civilian goverment"

Re:I have to ask (2, Funny)

bds1986 (1268378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398827)

Grammatical error on my part, I'm not looking to start a junta. As the other AC poster mentioned, it should have been "military, and the civilian government".

Re:I have to ask (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398651)

The aircraft may fly the President around, but it also has the job of being a flying command post.

And a get-away vehicle.

Re:I have to ask (1)

RulerOf (975607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398691)

weapons (in case they have to land in an unsecured location)

Unless this changed after 9/11, there is no secret gun locker on Air Force One. That gun locker was made up as a plot device for Air Force One. [imdb.com]

Re:I have to ask (1)

bds1986 (1268378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398763)

I'm aware of the plot device, but I'm sure I read somewhere else that there is a supply of weapons on board. Wikipedia claims:

All small arms and ammunition stores not under the physical possession of the Secret Service on board the VC-25s are stowed and secured in separate locked compartments each with a different locking mechanism by the Secret Service for added security.

So it sounds like there is some weapons storage. Unfortunately I can't find an original source though.

Re:I have to ask (1, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398647)

Oddly, most of the people come in on C-130s and a C-5 about a week ahead of time. The 747 is just for show (and media I guess, but seriously, they can't find their own transport?) It's all about the extra side-space that that the hump provides for displaying the presidential seal.

I would definitely support the president using a smaller, more agile plane. Especially as, as an added bonus, no self-important congress snobs would be able to credibly demand anything larger than what the president himself uses.

Re:I have to ask (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398775)

It's not one 747. Last time "W" visited the UK, it took 3 (yes three) jumbos to haul him and his entourage from the USA.

I'd say the number of people who go on the trip is mainly a function of ego. Apart from the staff and security, you really don't need to carry journalists around, too. They could easily fly themselves, however it is a nice treat to use to reward the people who write nice things about El Presidente.

I would hazard a guess and say that they had more waiting, on standby, just in case one of them broke or they needed to do something different in a hurry - such as deal with a medical emergency.

Re:I have to ask (5, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398523)

I think the problem is the huge amount of customization that they have to perform on any commercial aircraft to meet the requirements of Air Force One. Besides communications and emissions security, they have to be able to fly around in the middle of a nuclear war, without landing, for extended periods of time. Everything would have to be shielded against EMP. I read that the engines have extra oil tanks, so that they don't run out of lubricating oil during extended flights. They can refuel in air. They have countermeasures against surface-to-air missiles.

Sold as preowned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398365)

Will the two current ones be sold as certified pre-owned?

Re:Sold as preowned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398443)

Didn't they just go in to service barely seven years ago for Shrub?

The Register reported on this yesterday, where it is said that because the 747-200 is no longer used in commercial fleets it makes buying replacement and spare parts more expensive. Why didn't they think about that eight/nine years ago?

(And would you want _anything_ that was pre-owned by W?)

Re:Sold as preowned? (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398745)

Didn't they just go in to service barely seven years ago for Shrub?

No, they went into service under Bush41 in 1990. Didn't you bother to read the summary at least? "19-year-old VC-25s". 2009 - 19 = 1990.

Buy European? No chance. (4, Insightful)

Elanthius (525620) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398385)

Oh please! No matter what the cost, no matter what the delay, no matter what they'll never look outside America to replace Air Force One.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398401)

I agree. I also don't think Obama is going to offend his union constituency by flying on a non-US-made aircraft.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (2, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398515)

It probably won't be entirely foreign made given the state of things today. Airplanes these days are made by many people with one main contractor and lots of subcontractors even for the high end military ones. In the case of the KC-X, Northop Grumman was a subcontractor. If Airbus was chosen, I can see some concessions being made that parts of it will be made here in the US, maybe even finally assembly.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398771)

If Airbus was chosen, I can see some concessions being made that parts of it will be made here in the US, maybe even finally assembly.

Doubtful. The EU isn't going to allow a heavily subsidized project like the A380 to be summarily outsourced to the US to any degree simply to sell two of them to the US Air Force.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (5, Informative)

drxenos (573895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398409)

You're wrong. The helicopter replacing Marine One is European. Why wouldn't they do the same for Air Force One?

Re:Buy European? No chance. (2, Insightful)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398537)

Because people actually know that AF1 is a Boeing plane. No average american flies on helicopters so they don't know what they are but thousands fly on airliners every day.

That aside, I think the biggest thing they need is a 787 or 777, which are big planes if you've been in one (I have been in both).

Re:Buy European? No chance. (1)

drxenos (573895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398641)

I would argue that the average American does not know or care what kind of plane it is.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (2, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398803)

They would if Fox News made a big deal about it.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398805)

On the flip side if it came out that the US is buying a European plane rather than a US made plane I'd be at least somewhat upset. The only way a European substitute would make sense is if the operating cost was at least 33% less than the Boeing equivalent.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (5, Insightful)

icebrain (944107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398697)

I doubt you'll see the President flying on any twin-engine aircraft outside North America, due to redundancy concerns. The chance of an engine failure on a modern twin is actually somewhat lower than that of a four-engine jet, but with the twin you have to divert to the nearest airport. The quad can keep going on three engines. This isn't a problem for airliners, but the potential security nightmare of AF1 making an unplanned diversion to a foreign airfield would pretty much rule out a twin for overseas flights. Remember, too, that there's a greater-than-normal chance this aircraft will be shot at; seems to me four engines might give it more survivability.

Also remember that this aircraft needs to have all of the C3I gear the President might possibly need, plus support staff and all that. It pretty much narrows it down to the A380 or 747-8. I'm thinking 747 myself; not due to "buy American" concerns (though that will certainly play a part) but rather airport accessibility. The 747 can operate out of more airfields than the A380.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (5, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398823)

You're wrong. The helicopter replacing Marine One is European. Why wouldn't they do the same for Air Force One?

Incorrect. The VH-71 Kestrel is based on the US101 airframe, which is a derivative of the European EH101, but it's a joint venture between Lockheed-Martin and AgustaWestland and it's being built here in the US by Bell Helicopter.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398459)

Besides the general uproar it would cause for Air Force One not to be contracted to an American company, Boeing is masterful at compensating for its operational incompetence with its political cunning.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (1)

drxenos (573895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398497)

What does the prime contractor have to do with it? Marine One is contracted to an American company, but the Aircraft is built by a European company.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398513)

If Obama wants to send a strong signal that he is taking Europe serious again he might just do it. And besides, about half of the A380 is built in the US anyway...

Re:Buy European? No chance. (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398833)

What parts of the A380 are made in the US? I was under the assumption that the airframe and engines were made in Europe, as well as being designed there. That's pretty much 100% of it.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (4, Funny)

Clueless Moron (548336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398589)

How about Russian? Nothing would say badass as showing up in an An-225 Mriya [youtube.com]

More practical reasons against it... (1)

voss (52565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398627)

1) The A380 is too damn big for most non-international airports

If the 747-8 isnt ready, they can always order the 747-400ER. Also a slightly smaller option would be the 777-300ER

In any event, Its not likely the airforce would use an unproven state of the art aircraft. When the current AF1 was bought the 747-200 series had been in production for almost 20 years.

Re:More practical reasons against it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398761)

1) The A380 is too damn big for most non-international airports

When was the last time AF1 pulled up to a gate? Most airports that can handle a 747 or the president himself would cope fine with an A380

Re:Buy European? No chance. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398629)

Why wouldn't they look outside the US?

Most of the computer components in our freaking nuclear missiles come from japan and other east asian nations because nobody in the US has the facilities to produce them.

When you consider the national security implications should these nations decide to sever trade in a time of war, it makes air force one look petty.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398815)

The little black bits inside missiles aren't supposed to be a symbol of Americanism. AF1 is.

When AF1 touches down you're supposed to think "America is in town!" (hurrah!)

So I'm with OP - Hell will freeze over before AF1 is non-Boeing.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398653)

Oh please! No matter what the cost, no matter what the delay, no matter what they'll never look outside America to replace Air Force One.

Oh but they will. They'll look to Airbus to provide a cheaper replacement. They'll leak or even announce that Airbus have won the contract.

Then Congress will investigate the procurement process, find a small flaw, little more will be said and Boeing will eventually build the aircraft.

Airbus are too convenient as away to keep the Boeing price in check. Of course it's unlikely they'll ever win the contract. It's like Toyota building the presidential limo.

Re:Buy European? No chance. (0, Troll)

ozamosi (615254) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398779)

Being European, I would strongly advice against buying an Airbus.

Trust me. You do not want to go French. You do not want to have to contact the French for support.

There's one thing that's worse, though: going half French, half German. You do not want to rely on something half built by French, who, due to them being French, won't speak anything but French, and half built by Germans, who due to being German will speak German, as well as English that really is as poor as Hollywood says it is when they make fun of the Germans.

It always comforts me to fly Boeing, when I know that the engineers could at least explain to each other what they were doing.

Why not? The helos are european (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398807)

The helicopters used by the prez are european (Augusta/Westland models) which they fly over to the US in kit form, just so they can be assembled by american workers.

19 isn't THAT old (2, Interesting)

Leebert (1694) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398393)

I'm not the type to question the USAF, but the cost effectiveness thing seems odd to me. 19 years is middle-aged for most jet airliners, where it isn't beyond reasonable to find 35 year old airliners still in operation. And I expect that the VC-25s see quite a bit less operational time than your average airliner.

I guess it is true that at the speed the government moves, if they issue an RFP today, it won't go into operation for 5 years anyhow... :)

Re:19 isn't THAT old (4, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398449)

I suspect that, as with fighters, the electronics and defensive systems are what is driving the replacement. Being able to fly the old bird until the new one is built eliminates the downtime of rebuilding the old aircraft.

Re:19 isn't THAT old (4, Interesting)

thesandbender (911391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398567)

Air Force one isn't flown like a normal passenger jet. One key difference is they always land with enough fuel to take off and get to a safe location (preferably a US or friendly military base). Landing overweight like this is extremely stressful on the plane's airframe. That's why you see commercial jets dump or burn off fuel before an emergency landing. Another problem is that, since there are only 2 and both have to be available 24-7, upgrading them is really not possible. For example, if they were to re-engine them they would have to pull one off the line and spend months doing the refit and testing.

Re:19 isn't THAT old (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398749)

Another problem is that, since there are only 2 and both have to be available 24-7, upgrading them is really not possible. For example, if they were to re-engine them they would have to pull one off the line and spend months doing the refit and testing.

The expression 'why buy one when you can buy two for twice the price' led me to cynically think:
"Well the solution to that problem is simple, buy three."

Then I RTFA

The USAF posted a request for information for market sources that can provide three widebody aircraft to replace two, 19-year-old VC-25s, which are converted Boeing 747-200s.

::facepalm::

Re:19 isn't THAT old (1, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398829)

>"That's why you see commercial jets dump or burn off fuel before an emergency landing."

I thought it was because fuel burns with a hot flame and kills people...

Re:19 isn't THAT old (1)

bds1986 (1268378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398587)

I guess it is true that at the speed the government moves, if they issue an RFP today, it won't go into operation for 5 years anyhow... :)

The RFP from USAF Material Command requested an in-service date of 2017. And that's assuming it goes smoothly.

What makes Air Force One (3, Informative)

Clueless Moron (548336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398415)

Technically, "Air Force One" is the call of any aircraft that has the US President onboard. He could get into a Cessna 172 and it would use that callsign.

The aircraft in TFA do not call themselves "Air Force One" when the prez is not aboard. I guess they just use their tail numbers then?

Re:What makes Air Force One (5, Informative)

jschen (1249578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398521)

Actually, Air Force One is the call sign only if the aircraft is an Air Force aircraft. Other potential names include Navy One (for example, when Bush landed on an aircraft carrier), Marine One, and Army One (for obvious reasons). If not flown by the armed services, the call sign would be Executive One. And yes, when not flying the president or the vice president (Air Force Two in that case), the planes would be referred to simply by tail numbers.

Re:What makes Air Force One (0, Troll)

Clueless Moron (548336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398717)

If not flown by the armed services, the call sign would be Executive One

Interesting. So "Executive One" is what a Cessna 172 carrying the president would use?

Perhaps they should simplify the whole affair and just use "Terrorist Target One" for whatever the president is in.

(I keed, I keed!)

Re:What makes Air Force One (5, Interesting)

SoundGuyNoise (864550) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398569)

When Nixon left office, the plane he took off on was Air Force One. When he landed, the plane had the tail number call sign. The call sign changed when Ford was sworn in. The White House made special accommodations with the FAA ahead of time to change the call sign mid-flight.

We're Americans, for gods sake... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398423)

Why should we buy A380s for our head of state?

When the head of state travels, he represents the country. What would it say about the US aircraft industry if he travelled in a foreign airliner?

It doesn't matter if the foreign airliner is better. This is a principle thing. For instance, if there was one head of state who needed to travel fast and high, it was the US President, but we didn't buy a Concorde when that came out. Because it wasn't American.

I can't see why Airbus would want to do any work bidding for this contract. The only reason for asking them is to get Boeing to lower its price.

Re:We're Americans, for gods sake... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398557)

You went to the Moon with Nazi technology, so why won't you put the POTUS on an Europear air craft?

Even if it's second best, buy American! (5, Insightful)

afc_wimbledon (1052878) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398583)

I'm not saying Airbus is better than Boeing, but if you protect your industries from competition like this, you will end up with inferior products and services, and failing domestic industries.

Re:Even if it's second best, buy American! (2, Insightful)

lee1026 (876806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398751)

quite frankly, one plane every 20 or so years is not going permit any company to be lazy.

Re:We're Americans, for gods sake... (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398619)

Well, he didn't get a Concorde because, while it can fly faster and higher than a 747, it is *very* small compared to the jumbo, so has no room for all the advisors, radars, communication equipment, etc etc, and also requires considerably more fuel stops than a 747, so it is either hobbled anyway by having to fly near to (or between) tanker aircraft, or it has to keep landing.

No, there's far more sensible reasons not to use a Concorde as a flying command station that doubles as an airtaxi, and none of them are "it's not made by America!".

Re:We're Americans, for gods sake... (1, Troll)

Detritus (11846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398677)

I've heard rumors that many government procurement managers are really pissed off at Boeing, and are more than willing to consider alternatives.

Change (2, Funny)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398491)

Obama's giving us change alright. He buys a new plane, we get to keep the change.

Re:Change (-1, Offtopic)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398577)

Oh, you're going to modify your constitution too, just like Russia?

Putin/Obama, life-time dictators of the new world. (or, at least past 2017)

Re:Change (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398733)

You realize this request has gone out during the BUSH administration, right? For all we know, Obama's very first act could be to scuttle plans for a new plane.

Cessna (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398499)

I'm thinking the choice will be a Cessna. They're always trying to keep a brother down.

Re:Cessna (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398707)

Better specify. Cessna has a big product line. Not everything is as affordable as the 172.

A380? (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398541)

I came in here to make the obvious A380 joke, but I see the summary got their way ahead of me... Next I think I will check the article, see if it makes the same bold suggestion... Of course, checking the article flies in the face of tradition as well. Would that increase or decrease the irony though?

Ah, such tough choices on a saturday afternoon ;-)

A380 is not likely (1, Interesting)

stox (131684) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398545)

It won't fit at most airports due to its dimensions. I suspect that would be too limiting for Air Force One.

Re:A380 is not likely (1)

vally_manea (911530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398755)

Judging by what you are saying nobody should buy the A380 because it cannot land on most airports yet to quote from the wikipedia page [wikipedia.org]

The A380 can land or take off on any runway that can accommodate a Boeing 747

Re:A380 is not likely (5, Informative)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398777)

It won't fit at most airports due to its dimensions. I suspect that would be too limiting for Air Force One.

The problem with A380s is with jetways for boarding and disembarking. As Air Force One doesn't use jetways - they use the tarmac stairs - that's not a problem.

Any runway that can take a 747 can take an A380, even if the terminal can't handle the dual deck.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airbus_A380#Ground_operations [wikipedia.org]

Whatever the USAF eventually buys for a tanker ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26398563)

is probably what is going to be the basis for what is used for the presidential jet. Operations and maintenance are the name of the game. You do have to wonder how restricted an A380 would be in terms of airport support. Those things are ginormous and not any old airport will do.

European replacement a possibility (1)

hachete (473378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398593)

Why not? Northrop Grumman and Airbus got the tanker deal. They could easily retool a couple of those for Airforce One. After all Marine One is scheduled to be of BAE/Augusta origins license built by Lockheed. All deals signed under a Republican administration; and license-building keeps the unions and pork-barrellers happy. You get the technology and keep the manufacturing base, and the europeans spend the money on the insanely long lead-times these projects always have. Win all round if you ask me.

Re:European replacement a possibility (1)

PortWineBoy (587071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398789)

They lost that deal as soon as they made it. It's effectively dead.

Gee, what are the odds? (1)

koelpien (639319) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398595)

Gee, what are the odds that the plane used to fly around the POTUS is going to be made in Europe by a European company and not made here in America by Americans? Hmmm...

Europe? Don't be ridiculous (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398693)

If the Air Force even thought about buying Airbus aircraft for AF1, there would be a great political hue and cry from Congress and much of the population. See the recent aerial tanker competition.

Since Boeing is the only domestic producer of airliners, this effectively gives them a no-bid contract, though with the all-important appearance of letting the Europeans have a chance.

Re:Europe? Don't be ridiculous (1)

PortWineBoy (587071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398781)

That's exactly right. There is as much chance of the Air Force buying an "Airbus Air Force One" as I do of getting a chance to fly it.

Thought... (0, Troll)

bright-light (870480) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398699)

Why doesn't the Government put out a new RFI for a new aircraft specially designed for the President? Make it one of Obama's "Get to work" plans? We'll spend about $30Billion to design the new aircraft, and it will be the future of all aircraft pushing every limit... it will give us new technologies, it will push innovation to the edge! It will travel at Mach 17! It will be able to get the president to any location in under 2 hours! Yea while we are at it, it will also deliver peace to the mid-east! Ok, I'm better now... put the order in for 2 747-8F's and call it a day.

See display of all of the old Air Force One planes (5, Interesting)

daves (23318) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398719)

For anyone in the Dayton Ohio area, the Air Force One display at the Air Force Museum [af.mil] near Wright Patterson is recommended. They have all of the old planes [wikipedia.org] their, complete with FDR's Sacred Cow, with custom wheelchair elevator, and Kennedy's plane.

No longer cost effective? (1)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398729)

How can they tell? Seriously. With no profit or loss function, rationale economic calculation is no longer possible. If they want more money, they steal it. There's no Excel spreadsheet running a scenario if X number of consumers buy Y number of widgets, the President can fly around in a palace for Z number of dollars, and increase sales.

Re:No longer cost effective? (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398811)

If the current operating budget for flying your current plane is X, and the operating budget and amortized costs of switching to a new plane is Y, and X is greater than Y, then continuing to fly the X plane incurs an ongoing opportunity cost of X-Y. If the plane you're flying has an opportunity cost associated with it, it's no longer the most cost effective plane to fly, is it?

Why not get WallMart to sell them a new Aircraft (0, Flamebait)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398783)

They want a new Air Plane?

Go to WallMart and order one made in China.

The United states is only good at manufacturing 2 things.

Weapons and Slot Machines.

Will not be the A380 (0, Redundant)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398837)

The A380 is too big and heavy for the vast majority of runways in the world. They would be very limited as to which airports it could fly to.

While it would be "coooooool" and "totally rad" to have that monster painted up in Air Force One colors, it's just not going to happen. It'll be the 747-8 or 777-3 series.

Sell It to Bill Clinton (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26398839)

Bill Clinton obviously misses Air Force One something fierce. His foundation's got $billions to spend, and our government needs the extra cash. We should sell it to him (with the nuke football dock ripped out, of course). Otherwise the Air Force is gonna have to hold a bake sale to buy the new one.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?