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Boeing VC-25 (Air Force One)

Presidential Air Transport Aircraft

Boeing VC-25 (Air Force One)

Presidential Air Transport Aircraft


The Boeing VC-25 aircraft is only designated as Air Force One when the president is officially aboard.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1990
STATUS: Active, In-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Boeing Airplane Company - USA
OPERATORS: United States of America

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Boeing VC-25A (Air Force One) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 26
LENGTH: 231.96 feet (70.7 meters)
WIDTH: 195.54 feet (59.6 meters)
HEIGHT: 63.32 feet (19.3 meters)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 826,403 pounds (374,850 kilograms)
ENGINE: 4 x General Electric CF6-80C2B1 jet engines developing 56,700 pounds of thrust each engine.
SPEED (MAX): 629 miles-per-hour (1013 kilometers-per-hour; 547 knots)
RANGE: 7,798 miles (12,550 kilometers; 6,776 nautical miles)
CEILING: 45,098 feet (13,746 meters; 8.54 miles)



Series Model Variants
• VC-25 - USAF designation for modified Boeing 747-200B aircraft.
• VC-25A - Base Model; two examples with tail numbers 28000 and 29000 in use.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Boeing VC-25 (Air Force One) Presidential Air Transport Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 7/12/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
The VC-25 is used to usher the President of the United States and his staff on various journeys around the globe. The VC-25 is essentially a highly-modified Boeing 747-200B series model featuring state-of-the-art communications and air defense measures consistent with protecting a high ranking head of state. Two Boeing 747-200B's were converted to this VC-25 status and operate with tail numbers 28000 and 29000 respectively. Both aircraft are flown simultaneously for security and logistical reasons. It should be noted that this aircraft - or any USAF aircraft for that matter - is not officially designated as "Air Force One" until the president is onboard. John F. Kennedy's VC-137 was the first presidential aircraft to be popularly known as "Air Force One".

The idea of an aircraft dedicated to transporting the President of the United States began in 1944 with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the lovingly named "Sacred Cow" - a converted C-54 transport aircraft. President Harry S. Truman followed in his DC-6 Liftmaster series, this covering 1947 through 1953. President Dwight D. Eisenhower operated from the Columbine's II and III between 1953 and 1961. President John F. Kennedy traveled in his VC-137, a converted Boeing 707 model series.

Kennedy's VC-137 (tail number 26000) was based on a USAF C-137C model which in turn was based on the Boeing 707. This aircraft gained more significance in becoming the aircraft used to transport Kennedy's body back from Dallas, Texas in 1963. The aircraft served as the official office to which Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States following Kennedy's assassination at the hands of Lee Harvey Oswald. Today, this very aircraft resides at the United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. The aircraft exhibit details the event complete with text and pictures showing the swearing in and the area of the aft portion of the interior cabin modified to fit the coffin of John F. Kennedy for the trip back to Washington, D.C. Interestingly enough, the same aircraft transported the body of President Lyndon B. Johnson back to Texas for final rest. President Richard M. Nixon utilized VC-137 on his historic visits to China and the Soviet Union.

VC-25 (as VC-25A) arrived in 1990 with tail number 28000 (27000 served Nixon, Ford and Carter). Its first flight was in transporting President George Bush senior on September 6th 1990. The aircraft was officially introduced on December 8th, 1990. A second VC-25A (tail number 29000) was commissioned afterwards - introduced on December 23rd, 1990 - making up the full fleet of Air Force Ones on call. VC-25 with tail number 29000 was deployed for the first time on March 26th, 1991. These two VC-25's are still in operational service with the United States Air Force and they are intended to serve for quite some time longer.

Boeing VC-25 (Air Force One) (Cont'd)

Presidential Air Transport Aircraft

Boeing VC-25 (Air Force One) (Cont'd)

Presidential Air Transport Aircraft

The VC-25 differs from existing passenger Boeing 747's mostly in an internal way. The aircraft features a self-contained baggage loader, capability for in-flight refueling and front and rear "air-stairs". Additionally, cutting edge technology is spared at no expense in the navigation, real-time communications and electronic systems used throughout the design. The aircraft features a slew of anti-missile functionality that is held classified. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 furthered the communications capabilities of the design to a degree, evolving the VC-25 even further based on this "new world order". The interior furnishings are also consistent with the level of government and combine the comforts of a working office and the White House in a self-contained mobile platform.

The main galley can serve up to 100 persons at a given time while the crew has access to their own smaller galley as well as a lounge area. Passengers are also offered up six lavatories and full disabled access. Some 102 total passengers can be carried aboard with these consisting of a mix of guests, media personnel, security and Secret Service and presidential staffers.

The president has full access to his own in-flight office and the executive suite which contains the stateroom and comforts such as a shower, lavatory and dressing room. In addition, a conference room doubles as a dining room for family and close staff. Air Force One is also stocked with medical equipment to address minor injuries and situations.

Power for the VC-25 is supplied by four massive General Electric series CF6-80C2B1 engines delivering upwards of 56,700lbs of thrust each engine. The aircraft flies higher and faster than her commercial counterparts, yielding a top speed of 630 miles per hour and a ceiling of 45,100 feet. Range is also an important factor in a presidential transport and VC-25 does not disappoint, supplying an in-flight distance capability of up to 7,800 statute miles. With the in-flight refueling capability, this distance becomes essentially unlimited.

The pair of VC-25's are held in a special unmarked hanger at Andrews Air Force Base under intense security. The aircraft is thoroughly inspected, cleaned and waxed before every flight and must be ready at a moment's notice. Events on September 11th, 2001, exacerbated the need for the President to be in full communications with his people on the ground and the American people as well as add a defensive tool against any possible enemy attacks directly targeting the President. Pilots and crewmembers of Air Force One are carefully selected for their service to the president, a service that is deemed an honor to all with most holding their respective positions for years and even decades in some cases.


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 750mph
Lo: 375mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (629mph).

    Graph average of 562.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the Boeing VC-25A (Air Force One)'s operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.