The tidbits about Air Force 1 range from President Bill Clinton playing jazz music while in flight, President Gerald Ford smuggling Coors beer from Colorado, and the President George H.W. Bush banning broccoli from being served in its two kitchens (that’s right, two kitchens on board!).
There’s a Mini-Hospital on the Plane
If the President (or any passenger for that matter) is injured or sick, Air Force One is decked out with a complete medical suite. Doctor? Check. Operating room? Check. Now that’s top-notch medical care.
Source: White House
There Are Three Levels and 4,000 Square Feet
The President’s gonna need to stretch his or her legs once in a while. That’s why it’s convenient that Air Force One has 4,000 square feet of floor space. Not only that, but there are three levels to the plane, making it a triple-decker in the sky.
Source: White House
It’s Sometimes Accompanied by a 747 “Doomsday Plane”
In the event of a zombie apocalypse, meteor strike, or even nuclear warfare, the President of the United States has major backup. E-4B is the military codename for the “doomsday plane” that is constantly on alert. The plane can stay in the air for days and can outpace an explosion of nukes.
Source: ABC News
It Can Go 650 Miles Per Hour
Though it’s usually going around 580 miles per hour, the top speed for Air Force One is 650. Many contest that it’s gone up to 700, but top speed is somewhere between 630 and 700 mph. Hopefully there are some airsickness bags in at least one of the two kitchens.
It Can Refuel in the Air
In-flight refueling is a rare commodity that Richard Branson would probably love to introduce to Virgin. But this is a special feature of the one and only Air Force One, which can refuel itself up to 35,000 feet in the air.
Source: Daily Mail
It Can Survive the Blast of a Nuke
In the event of a nuclear attack, Air Force One is not a bad place to be if you can get in. That’s because the plane’s actual body is designed and secured to withstand the blast of a nuke from the ground, rendering the aircraft a bomb shelter in the sky.
Source: Business Insider
With Two Kitchens, 100 People Can Be Fed
You’ve probably seen the tiny kitchen in the back of a regular plane (the one where the stewardess can barely grab your mini-Coke out of the mini-fridge). On Air Force One, there are two legitimately sized kitchens that can legitimately serve 100 people healthy and hearty meals.
Source: India TV News
It Has 85 Phones
During take-off, your phone should be turned off. That’s the usual protocol for commercial flights, but Air Force One is not anti-phone. In fact, it has 85 of them. You know, in case 84 are being used.
Source: NY Daily News
Ford’s Administration Smuggled Coors Beer
Coors Beer used to be harder to get than you might imagine – it was only available in 11 western states. That’s why President Gerald Ford and his entire administration would load Coors onto Air Force One. Though the flights were not based around the beer pickup, staffers would indeed bring it from out west, specifically Colorado, and fly it back to Washington DC.
Source: NY Times
In 1959, It Was a Equipped as a Spy Plane
The Cold War meant all bets were off for American national security, which is the mentality that led CIA director Allen Dulles to turn Air Force One into a spy plane. The year was 1959 and, for a short time, cameras were secretly installed in the plane’s wheel wells that were so powerful they could read license plates from 29,000 feet above.
It’s a Mobile Command Center During Terrorist Attacks
If there is another 9/11, Air Force One is equipped in a variety of ways. Besides its physical capabilities and self-preservation, the President can use the plane as a command center and fly his office through the sky if the White House isn’t safe.
Air Traffic’s Got Nothin’ on This Plane
Air Force One gets priority over every other plane in the sky and AF1 pilots don’t have to worry about the amount of air traffic. In fact, air traffic at commercial airports is usually halted when AF1 takes off or lands. A lot of the time, the plane lands at military airports so it doesn’t mess with usual air traffic.
Source: Politicians Are People Too
Reagan Had it Stocked with Jelly Beans
While President Bush made sure broccoli was never on Air Force One, Reagan made sure jelly beans were always on board. During both his terms as President in the ’80s, Ronald Reagan kept jelly beans in a jar in both the Oval Office and his aerial office, Air Force One.
Almost 100 People Can Be on Board
While the kitchen can technically feed 100 people, that doesn’t mean 100 people can be on the plane at once. However, it can get pretty close. 26 crew members and 70 passengers (that’s 96 total for all you Mathletes) can fit on Air Force One… comfortably.
Source: How Stuff Works
There’s Assigned Seating
Every White House administration has its own rules about who can sit where. Still, seating is always assigned on Air Force One. Nearly half of the seats are reserved for the press pool and for Secret Service agents.
Source: Power Game: How Washington Works
Over $660 Million Was Spent on Initial Production
Building a plane is expensive. Building Air Force One is outrageously expensive. In its initial production alone, the “flying White House” cost $660 million and the Air Force helped pay down the bill in $140 million payments.
Source: LA Times
Bush Approved the Creation of the Department of Homeland Security During a Flight
Historical decisions have been made aboard Air Force One. On one flight to Berlin in 2002, President George W. Bush approved details of a proposal that created the Department of Homeland Security, a brand new department of the United States government that still exists to this day.
Clinton Used to Blast Jazz on Board
Given all the crazy amenities of Air Force One, one might expect a DJ to be on board, too. While this isn’t the case, President Bill Clinton made sure to play whatever tunes he wanted during long flights, the saxophonist would rock out to jazz music at an extremely high volume because of his hearing issues.
It Costs $56K an Hour to Operate
AF1 boasts an hourly rate most employees would gladly accept. To operate the plane, it costs $56,000 an hour.
Source: Daily News
Its Range Is Limitless
Part of the benefits of aerial refueling is that Air Force One has the capacity to go anywhere. Having unlimited range grants Air Force One unique power and could lend itself to a heckuva flight around the world.
Almost 240 Miles of Wire Run Through the Plane
Air Force One has more electronics inside it than your local Best Buy. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but nearly 240 miles of wire run through the plane. This equipment is responsible for all of the phones, screens, and communication devices that make Air Force One so intricate and powerful.
Source: Washington Post
There’s Always a Doctor on Board
“Is there a doctor in the house?” Since Air Force One is more decked out than most houses, the answer is “yes.” Every single time the President decides to hop a flight, an MD is on board as well. Hopefully the President has enough to cover the doc’s co-pay.
Bush Sr. Banned Broccoli from AF1
While there might be enemies banned from flying on Air Force One, it was the first President Bush who imposed a ban on the real enemy: broccoli. As his chefs knew, Bush Sr. hated the vegetable more than most people hate anything, so he made a rule that it could never be served in the White House or on Air Force One.
Source: Washington Post
Journalists Used to Watch Fargo on Board
While Air Force One probably hovered over Fargo, ND once in a while, the movie Fargo was played countless times on board. During Clinton’s 1996 bid for reelection, the press corps, and even President Clinton himself, regularly watched the Coen Brothers film, leading famed presidential journalist Helen Thomas to declare it “the record-holder of Longest Playing Film Aboard Air Force One.”
Source: Front Row at The White House
Clinton Got a Haircut on Board, Keeping LAX Passengers Waiting
President Bill Clinton was criticized heavily in 1993 when he got a haircut on Air Force One while it sat on the runway. The engine was running and LAX, one of the country’s busiest airports, scrambled to make sure their commuter flights didn’t land or take off until the President’s hair was adequately snipped.
Source: NY Times