Air Force One is the air traffic control call sign of any U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States (it is a common misconception that "Air Force One" refers to a single airplane). Since 1990, the presidential fleet has consisted of two specifically configured, highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft—tail numbers 28000 and 29000—with Air Force designation VC-25A. While these planes are only referred to as "Air Force One" while the president is on board, the term is commonly used to describe either of two aircraft normally used and maintained by the U.S. Air Force solely for the president.
The VC-25A is capable of flying 12 600 km (7,800 miles)—roughly one-third the distance around the world—without refueling and can accommodate more than 70 passengers. Before these planes entered service, two Boeing 707-320B-type aircraft—tail numbers 26000 and 27000—had operated as Air Force One starting in 1962. The Air Force designation for these aircraft was VC-137. Since its inception, Air Force One has become a symbol of presidential power and prestige.
By kjfitz @ 2006-03-23 17:44:25