13 Things You Didn’t Know About Air Force One

Air Force One
Air Force One Interior

Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign of a United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. This plane is a crucial form of transportation for the President of the United States. As such, it holds many secrets that aren’t common knowledge.

Here are 13 things you didn’t know about Air Force One

1. Air Force One

Air Force One
Air Force One

Popular belief is that Air Force One is the name of a specific plane, but actually it’s just a reference to any plane the president travels on. It’s called Air Force One to avoid any confusion over which plane flying in that area is carrying the president. If the president boards an army aircraft, it’s called Army One.

2. It’s a symbol of presidency.

Air Force One
Air Force One – Barack Obama

The customized Boeing 747s the President uses are specially designed to be symbols of the presidency. They are made to look intimidating and to be noticed anywhere they go.

3. No need to stop.

Air Force One
Air Force One

Air Force One can go anywhere in the world without needing to stop to refuel. How is this possible, you may ask? Fuel planes will fly over to Air Force One’s location and refuel the plane in the air.

4. It’s a mobile command center.

These planes are equipped with some pretty cool technology. For example, it has electronic counter measures that can jam radar, ejecting flares to distract missiles, and has secure communications equipment. If necessary, Air Force One has everything it needs to become a mobile command center if the United States were to ever be attacked.

5. Go fast and high.

Air Force One
Inside of Air Force One

These aircraft have a top speed of about 700 mph and can fly up to 45,100 feet in the air. By comparison, most commercial flights can only reach about 41,000 feet.

6. A large plane needs a large tank.

Air Force One
Air Force One

When it’s time to visit other countries, the president needs a plane that has no problem flying long distances. This is why Air Force One comes equipped with a massive fuel tank that can carry up to 203,000 liters (over 53,000 gallons!) of fuel.

7. Air Force One is like a flying house.

Air Force One
Air Force One Flying House

These planes have three floors that offer up to a total of 4,000 square feet of floor space. Inside you’ll find a bedroom, bathroom, high tech office, living room, conference room, kitchen, gym, and a mini hospital.

8. Living quarters for guests.

Air Force One senior advisors
Air Force One Barack Obama with senior advisors

It’s not all about the president, however. Air Force One also has living quarters for White House staff and guests. This typically includes senior advisors, Secret Service agents, and press.

9. Video conferencing.

Air Force One video conferencing
Air Force One video conferencing

George W. Bush boarded Air Force One shortly after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Because of this, he was unable to address the nation. Soon after this incident, the military upgraded Air Force One with video conferencing capabilities.

10. Cleanest plane in the world.

Air Force One Bathroom
Air Force One Bathroom

Every inch of this jumbo jet is hand-washed and waxed before every flight. You read that right, it’s hand-washed. The plane’s maintenance team also hand-checks the engine and all of the operational devices before flight.

11. Every flight is considered a crucial military operation.

Every time the President gets in an aircraft, the military considers it a crucial military operation. As such, security inspects everything from the plane to the runway. When everything is ready, the helicopter Marine One escorts the President from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base. If any planes are seen in the vicinity of the base, they’ll be shot down.

12. Enough to feed 100 people.

Air Force One
Air Force One

Air Force One has two fully stocked kitchens, capable of feeding up to 100 people. To keep the kitchens stocked, the Air Force crew must go on undercover grocery shopping missions at random supermarkets. This is to prevent any possibility of poisoning the President.

13. The President’s limousine gets its own plane.

Before the President takes off, several cargo planes will be loaded up with the President’s motorcade. Once loaded, the cargo planes will leave before Air Force One takes off. This way, once Air Force One touches down, the President will have immediate access to the Presidential motorcade.


  1. “These aircrafts have a top speed of about 700 mph and can fly up to 45,100 feet in the air. By comparison, most commercial flights can only reach about 30,000 feet.”

    The plural of “aircraft” is “aircraft” not “aircrafts”

    Commercial aircraft can fly to (on average ) 39,000 or 41,000 feet

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