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Air Force OneThe Boeing VC-25 is the designation of a United States Air Force passenger transportation aircraft, a military version of the Boeing 747 airliner.


The A-model (VC-25A) is the only variant of the VC-25.

The VC-25 is most famous for its role as Air Force One, the call sign of any U.S. Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. The two aircraft currently in U.S. service are highly modified versions of Boeing's 747-200B, with tail numbers 28000 and 29000. Although the Air Force One designation technically applies to the aircraft only while the President is aboard, the term is commonly applied to the VC-25s more generally. They often operate in conjunction with Marine One helicopters that ferry the President to airports in circumstances where a vehicle motorcade would be inappropriate.

By 1985, the pair of Boeing 707-based VC-137s used as the Presidential aircraft had been in service for 23 and 13 years respectively, and the USAF began searching for an eventual replacement. The Request for Proposal issued stated that the aircraft to be selected should have at least three engines and an unrefueled range of at least 6,000 miles (9,700 km). Both Boeing with its 747 and McDonnell Douglas with the DC-10 were in competition to be selected, with the Boeing entry eventually selected. The fabrication of the current 747s began during the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981–1989). Reagan ordered two identical Boeing 747s to replace the Boeing 707s that he used for transport

The VC-25s were completed in 1986 and first flew in 1987. The interior designs were created by First Lady Nancy Reagan, who used designs reminiscent of the American Southwest. Problems with interior wiring for communication systems delayed delivery of the two aircraft until 1990, during the administration of George H.W. Bush.

While the VC-25 has three decks, like a regular Boeing 747, its 4,000 square feet (370 m²) of floor space has been reconfigured for presidential duties. Its lowest deck is mostly cargo space, carrying luggage and the onboard food supply.

The main passenger area is on the second floor or main deck. There are three entrances on board, two on the lower and one on the main deck. Typically the president boards and deplanes from the front, main deck entrance via an airstair, while journalists and other passengers enter at the lower rear door. Facilities for the press and other passengers are configured like an ordinary airliner's first-class cabin.

These aircraft are expected to be replaced as they have become less cost-effective to operate. The USAF Air Mobility Command is looking into possible replacements and press coverage suggested that the USAF would consider the Boeing 747-8 and the Airbus A380 from the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS). On January 7, 2009, the USAF Materiel Command issued a new Sources Sought notice for a replacement aircraft to enter service by 2017 with an additional two aircraft to follow in 2019 and 2021. As of January 2009, Boeing is the only aircraft manufacturer interested in supplying the replacement aircraft, and is reported to be exploring a 787 option also. On January 28, 2009, EADS North America confirmed the company will not respond to the US Air Force notice, as assembling only three planes in the US would not make financial sense.

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