In October 1910, Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to fly in a plane, but it was his distant cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt who was the first president to fly in a plane while in office. It was also FDR who in 1944 directed that a Presidential Pilot Office be established to provide air transportation for the commander in chief. Over the course of the next 20 years, various propeller-driven aircraft handled the job of flying the president where he needed to go. In 1962, the first jet--a Boeing 707--was purchased for this purpose, and became the first Air Force One.
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On May 1, 1960, an American U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union, deepening the Cold War antagonism between the two superpowers.
Orville Wright and his elder brother, Wilbur, were the inventors of the world's first successful airplane.
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The Flying White House
Because of its incredible array of amenities--from first-class food to high-speed internet and video-conferencing--incredible comfort and top-notch security, Air Force One is known as the "Flying White House." The Air Force One team makes sure that the president--"Passenger Number One"--is not only safe and comfortable, but fully able to meet the demands of the office at any altitude.
Today's Air Force One
Model: A VC-25 jet, a military version of the Boeing 747-200B Entered service: 1990
Home base: Andrews Air Force Base, Suitland, Maryland (about 11 miles southeast of Washington, D.C.)
Commander: Colonel Mark Tillman, Presidential Airlift Group, U.S. Air Force
Size: Six stories high, 231 feet, 10 inches long
Wing span: 195 feet, 8 inches
Speed: 630 miles per hour (near supersonic speed, much more powerful than a typical 747)
Interior floor space: 4,000 square feet
Range: About 14 hours in the air; 7,800 statute miles
Defenses: Infrared-missile and radar-jamming technology, along with a host of other top-secret aerial defenses and electronic countermeasures
Amenities: Executive suite for the president; two fully functional kitchens with a full-scale electric range that can churn out 100 meals at a time; workstations; fax and copy machines; broadband internet access; satellite video, dozens of secure phone lines, soundproof-able conference room
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