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Air Force One and Siblings

by Ankur Deo

Do you know Air Force One, the call-sign of the aircraft when the President of the United States of America is on-board?

Credit: Public Domain

Harry S. Truman flew in the Douglas VC-18, John F. Kennedy had a modified Boeing 707, while Donald J. Trump travels in the Boeing VC-25 (a military version of the 747-200B) and plans to switch to the 747-8. Additionally, the President has his private Boeing 757.

But do you know how other world leaders travel? Let’s take a look.

Germany – Airbus A340-313

Airbus A340-313X VIP, © Benedikt Lang/Flickr

The President of Germany alongside the Federal Chancellor uses former Lufthansa Airbus A340-313s. The aircraft will be soon replaced by three brand-new Airbus A350s with the missile defence system. The first unit has already arrived in Hamburg, ready for conversion into a VIP arrangement. While the current presidential aircraft is named after a German statesman Konrad Adenauer, the luxurious Airbus A350 is known as the Regierungsflieger (Government Aviator).

Lithuania – Alenia C-27J Spartan

Alenia C-27J Spartan, © Steve Lynes

The President of Lithuania travels on-board the Alenia C-27J Spartan. The C-27J is a military transport aircraft of Italian origin. The transporter has two powerful Rolls-Royce turboprop engines and the maximum speed of 325 knots (374 mph; 602 km/h). Furthermore, it can bring up to 60 soldiers on-board.

Brazil – Airbus A319 VC-1A

Brazilian Air Force One, © Isac Nóbrega

When the President of Brazil travels on domestic routes, his aircraft’s call-sign is Força Aérea 01, while on international flights – Brazilian Air Force 01. The primary aircraft serving as the Brazilian Air Force One is the modified Airbus A319 VC-1A. The aircraft is named after a Brazilian aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont. The luxurious VC-1A is equipped with a satellite communication system, radar warning receiver as well as anti-aircraft missile protection system.

South Africa – Boeing 737-7ED

South African Air Force Boeing 737-700 BBJ, © Aero Icarus/Flickr

Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa, flies around the world in a Boeing Business Jet. His Boeing 737-7ED is called Inkwazi, which means “Fish Eagle”, seats 18 passengers and cruises at nearly 460 knots.

India – Boeing 777-300

Air India One is usually one of the Boeing 777-300s with extended range.

Air India Boeing 777, © Ray Jennings/Flickr

The aircraft is owned by Air India, with the Indian Air Force operating it. 777-3s has recently replaced 747-400s, which have been carrying the President and the Prime Minister of India on-board for over twenty years. 

United Kingdom – Airbus A330 Voyager

British Royal Family and members of the Government travel in the refitted tanker, Airbus A330 Voyager. The converted VIP A330 took its first flight in 2016 when former Prime Minister David Cameron attended the 2016 NATO conference in Warsaw, Poland.

Royal Air Force A330 MRTT The Voyager, © Nicky Boogaard/Flickr

Although you might never get a chance to fly in one, which aircraft would be your presidential choice? Let us know in the comments!

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