The current “Air Force One” fleet consists of two Boeing 747’s: SAM 28000 and SAM 29000.
Fully fueled, the current Air Force One can fly halfway around the world.
A plane can only use the call sign “Air Force One” if it is a military aircraft attached to the 89th Military Air Wing AND only when the President of the United States is on board.
On August 8, 1974, President and Mrs. Nixon were returning to California after the President had announced his resignation from office. The Nixons were about halfway home when, at noon in Washington, D.C., Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office as the 38th President of the United States. The pilot, Col. Ralph Albertazzie, immediately radioed Kansas City Air Traffic Control to report that “Air Force One” was now “SAM 27000.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to fly on official business. He flew aboard a Boeing 314 Dixie Clipper seaplane in 1943 to meet secretly with Winston Churchill in Casablanca, Morocco.
President Kennedy was the first president to use the call sign “Air Force One” publicly. Air Force One was the Secret Service code name for the aircraft and Kennedy liked it so well that he told his staff and the White House press corps to make the reference known to the public.
The Air Force One color scheme of white, silver, gold, and several shades of blue, was selected by former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
For every official trip, a C 141 Starlifter cargo plan flies ahead of Air Force One, transporting the President’s official motorcade (armored limousines) for use at his destination.
An aide who travels with the President is responsible for maintaining custody of “the football”—the secure briefcase that contains the nuclear launch codes. When the President is in the air, an Air Force officer guards the case. When the President is on the ground, an Army officer guards the case.
President Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office on Air Force One, November 22, 1963, after the assassination of President Kennedy