Military Aviation

Conversion of First Boeing 747-8 into VC-25B Air Force One has started

The US Air Force announced that the conversion of the first of two Boeing 747-8 aircraft into VC-25B has started on Feb. 25, 2020.

The US Air Force (USAF) announced that the conversion of the first of two Boeing 747-8 aircraft into VC-25B has started on Feb. 25, 2020.

VC-25B, the next “Air Force One,” is a program to design, modify, test, and deliver two aircraft replacing the current VC-25A and will serve as a flying White House for the next thirty years. 
Known everywhere by the call sign “Air Force One” when the President is on board, the VC-25B will ensure safe, secure, worldwide transport of the President. While airborne the President can execute the duties of Commander in Chief, Head of State, and Chief Executive.  The program is managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Presidential & Executive Airlift Directorate. 

The first step of the modification is to include an internal airstairs into the aircraft. This requires strengthening the forward and aft lower lobes of the aircraft.

As explained by Daryl Mayer, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) Public Affairs explains in the article VC-25B begins modification to create the next “Air Force One”, following ferry flights in spring 2019 to the Boeing modification facility, Boeing prepared the two aircraft for modification start by removing the commercial interiors, engines, auxiliary power units, and numerous secondary system components.  Additionally, Boeing placed a sophisticated jacking and crib mechanism under each aircraft to reduce structural stress for the initial modification phases.
“Air Force One is a symbol of our nation that is instantly recognizable worldwide,” said Brig. Gen. Ryan Britton, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Presidential & Executive Airlift.  “This is an exciting time as we take the initial steps to create these unique aircraft that the team and I brag are the most important aircraft in the world.”
The VC-25B modifications to the 747-8 aircraft will include electrical power upgrades, a mission communication system, a medical facility, executive interior, and autonomous ground operations capabilities.  The work is being performed at a Boeing facility in San Antonio, Texas.  

As pointed out by Air Force Magazine, while the modification process does not detail the new livery of the aircraft, Pentagon budget documents and models seen at the White House show the aircraft painted red, white, and blue instead of the signature light blue and white that has been on Air Force One for decades.

The new aircraft are expected to begin operations in 2024.

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. Boeing VC-25A, 89th Airlift Wing, SAM 29000 “Air Force One”

Photo credit: Boeing

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

View Comments

  • I hope that proposed paint scheme is never used. The red/white/blue livery makes AF1 look like a commercial airliner. Tradition, history, and recognition should mean something.

Recent Posts

Airline captain explains why arguments between pilots and ATCs are more frequent at New York JFK than in other airports

Arguments between pilots and ATCs Pilots and air traffic controllers (ATCs) don’t usually argue, but… Read More

3 hours ago

SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3 spy plane’s titanium parts made in summer corroded while those made in winter didn’t. Here’s why.

The Blackbird The SR-71, unofficially known as the “Blackbird,” was a long-range, Mach 3+, strategic… Read More

1 day ago

When a B-52 pitched up and collided with a KC-135 over Palomares: the story of the most famous Broken Arrow accident

Operation Chrome Dome Operation Chrome Dome was Strategic Air Command's unprecedented nuclear deterrence operation, a… Read More

1 day ago

B-52H crew earn award for skillfully recovering at 1,200 feet after 4 engines flamed out on one side

B-52H crew earn Air Force Global Strike Command General Curtis E. LeMay award The Air… Read More

2 days ago