Any airplane the President happens to be in, whether the President is doing wing-walking on an old Sopwith Camel or lounging drunk in the back of a Gulfstream jet, is known as Air Force One. But there’s really only one Air Force One known to most people, the specially modified Boeing 747 normally used to fly the President around. There’s a new one in development as we speak, and President Trump revealed what he wants the new livery to be during an ABC News interview released today.
Trump claims he designed the new look himself, which might explain why it’s essentially the same color scheme as his own private jet, or a nearly identical copy of the US Airways livery from the 1990s. The dark blue has been moved from the top to the bottom of the plane, though, and, let’s be fair, the colors are red, white, and blue, which do have some significance to the United States, if my research is accurate. And a whole bunch of other countries, as well.
Here’s a clip from the interview with George Stephanopoulos where he proudly displays what he claims are his own designs:
In that interview, Trump says it’s a still a 747, but it’s “a much bigger plane,” with a “bigger wingspan.” What it appears that he means by this is that the plane is a Boeing 747-8, the largest variant of the 747, and that it’s larger than the current just, a Boeing 747-400, which was the largest variant available when it was first being put together in the 1980s.
The former seller of mail-order steaks sold through electronics stores and now leader of the free world also mentioned that he got “$1.6 billion off the price.” This savings didn’t come from hard-nosed dealmaking between Trump and Boeing, but rather happened because the two new Air Force One planes are technically being bought used.
The Air Force found a pair of 747-8s that had been ordered by now-bankrupt Russian airline Transaero, but had never been delivered, and have been in storage in the desert. These technically pre-owned but undelivered planes were bought by the Air Force and are being transformed into the new Air Force One jets.
There were some variants shown of the livery, which mostly seemed to be about whether the engine nacelles were painted blue or white, and the presence or absence of a gray line on there somewhere; I can’t really tell from these screengrabs.
The new livery for the planes is pretty tame and conventional, really. It seems bland and expected enough that it’s unlikely to cause too much controversy on its own, though the previous Air Force One livery, which was designed by Studebaker Avanti designer Raymond Loewy, is quite well-loved, even after 57 years of service, since the Kennedy Administration.
Personally, I’m going to miss the old Air Force One look, but I’m kind of a sucker for Loewy designs, even when they get a little weird. It’s possible the old design may stay, though, since the House Armed Services Committee passed an amendment that would insure Congress has approval for any changes to Air Force One’s design.
And besides, this jet won’t get into service until 2024, at the earliest. That’s plenty of time for the next President to change it right on back.