Over the past few years the US has been negotiating with Boeing over replacements for Air Force One. Last year the US formally ordered two 747-8s to replace the current 747 – 200s, which are expected to be delivered in 2024.
At first glance, before diving into what the new version of Air Force One will be, it’s best to look at its past history and what planes they have used before.
The very first Air Force One was a Douglas Dolphin Amphibian in 1933 and was used by Franklin Roosevelt until the start of World War Two.
U.S coast Guard RD-2 in June, 1932
Thereafter, a Boeing 314 flying boat was employed, called the Dixie Clipper. Thus, the president was required to cover a flight of over 5500 miles between the USA and Africa.
Boeing 314 Clipper
A variety of different aircraft were used until under John F. Kennedy, where a Boeing 707 jet was built specifically for the purpose of ferrying. It can be argued that was a classic, a sweeping, timeless, beautiful piece of jet-age designed by Raymond Loewy, the greatest industrial brand-designer in history. According to Loewy, Kennedy chose a red-and-gold design from the initial concept sketches presented to him at the White House but asked for it to be rendered in blue, which was his favourite colour. Furthermore, Loewy recalled that Kennedy also choose the Caslon typeface which resembles the one used in the heading of the Declaration of Independence. The new Air Force One enter in service in autumn 1962.
Livery design for Air Force One in 1962, Raymond Loewy.
It is widely believed that the current Air Force One is iconic and has a unique paint job that is instantly recognizable anywhere in the world. Also, it is very interesting to know that the current Boeing 747s have been in use for nearly three decades. However, U.S. President Donald Trump has revealed his plans to change the livery on Air Force One jets from blue and white palette to a more patriotic paint scheme of red, white and blue. Furthermore, the livery might change dramatically, as it is not just the colours that will be changing in the plane. According to the White House, the new model comes with several modifications, including a presidential suite, medical operating room and a fully stocked kitchen which can feed 100 people at a time.
It is important to mention that the new Air Force One livery introduced by President Trump has raised controversy. First of all, is broadly believed that additional paint can add weight to the plane, additional fixtures inside the plane can also add cost and delays to the delivery of the plane. Secondly, it has more than a passing resemblance to an historic British Airways livery, known as the Landor Livery.
New livery introduced by Trump vs British Airways 747 in Landor livery
From my point of view the old one is preferred. It is classic and has stood the test of time over decades. The light blue reflects the air force. Additionally, I like how the blue on the old design feels like it has motion and dynamism by swooshing across the fuselage from the nose and to the tail. However, the new Air Force One is not scheduled to arrive until 2024, so we have still time to enjoy the baby blue and white one as it ferries the president around the world.