Military Aviation

RAF pilot to become first non-American to fly Air Force One

The plans represent the symbolic culmination of a four-decades-old and deep-rooted exchange programme between the USAF and RAF founded on trust.

A Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot could become the first non-American to fly the VC-25 Air Force One, the aircraft aimed to provide air transport for the President of the United States. The plans represent the “symbolic culmination of a four-decades-old and deep-rooted exchange programme between the USAF and RAF founded on trust”, a senior source said on Nov. 8 to the Express.

The presidential air transport fleet consists of two specially configured Boeing 747 with the Air Force designation VC-25. When the president is aboard either aircraft, or any Air Force aircraft, the radio call sign is “Air Force One.”

Principal differences between Air Force One and the standard Boeing 747 include state-of-the-art navigation, electronic and communications equipment; its interior configuration and furnishings; self-contained baggage loader; and front and aft airstairs. The “flying Oval Office” has 4,000 square feet (371 square meters) of interior floor space with presidential living quarters, office areas, work and rest areas for staff, press and crews, and two galleys that can serve 100 at one sitting.

The aircraft are part of 89th Airlift Wing, based at Andrews Air Force Base in Camp Springs, Maryland.

Sources say the officer, who has not been named, will begin his attachment by flying or co-piloting some of the other aircraft in the “presidential” fleet (that includes not only VC-25s but also converted Boeing 757s, Boeing 737s and Gulfstreams) before being placed on the reserve list for Air Force One.

The presidential aircraft carry two reserve pilots on board at all times, in case the flight crew become incapacitated and apart from Air Force One, a presidential visit may involve a Boeing 757 to carry journalists and a C-17 Globemaster transport plane tasked with flying the president’s motorcade.

“This plan has been in the pipeline for a long time and now it appears that the green light has been given on both sides of the pond,” the source said.

“The Wing Commander chosen for this job has previously served a number of years in the US as an so is well acquainted with how the US Air Force operates

“The exchange programme has grown considerably in both scope and depth since 1971. This really is a symbolic culmination of a four-decades-old and deep-rooted exchange programme between the USAF and RAF founded on trust.

“It will mark an historic moment for the RAF, which celebrated its centenary two years ago,“ the source concluded.

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: U.S. Air Force

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.

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