Air Force One is instantly recognisable — both as the aeroplane of the President of the United States and as a flying symbol of American military and economy might. With its hand-polished blue, white, and silver livery, it boldly proclaims the arrival of the powerful man in the world.
What many people don’t know is that there isn’t one, but two nearly identical Boeing jets that serve as the official transport of the President. Normally, the planes are referred to by their tail numbers — 28000 and 29000 — but when the Commander and Chief steps on board, they take on the call sign “Air Force One”. In fact, Presidential aeroplanes didn’t begin using the Air Force One designation until 1959.
The President’s pair of Boeing VC-25A jets are operated by the Presidential Airlift Group out of Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. While the current Boeing 747-based planes have been in service for more than two decades, they’re simply the latest in a long-line of flying White Houses.
Here’s a look back at the history America’s presidential aeroplanes.