NEW DELHI: Partly dipped in blue, carrying an unmatched aura that evokes awe and wonder wherever it goes, ‘Air Force One’, the Presidential aircraft of the United States of America is a star in its own right.
The 70-meter-long customized aircraft, proudly emblazoned with the words ‘United States of America’ across its shining body, has come to symbolize American Presidency over time.
The aircraft, also called the ‘Flying White House’, enjoys a celebrity status even without the President on board, going by the media attention it hogs throughout the world.
While technically, ‘Air Force One’ is the official radio call sign used for a United States Air Force aircraft when the President is aboard, two customized Boeing 747-200B Jumbos have essentially come to represent its enduring image.
The call sign was created after a 1953 incident in which a flight, carrying then President Dwight D Eisenhower, entered the same airspace as a commercial airline flight using a similar call sign.
The aircraft is highly secure considering the technology involved that makes it immune even to electromagnetic interference that may arise out of a nuclear explosion.
The in-built Directional Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) system also enables the aircraft to deflect an incoming missile through a variety of jamming processes disturbing the path of the missile.
In fact, during the September 11, 2001 attacks, the highly advanced security features of the aircraft had prompted a security official, Paul Germaine, to say, “The best thing was to get airborne”.
The flying wonder had served as a bunker for the then President George W Bush in his flight from Sarasota, Florida to Andrews Air Force Base, with at one point it being the only airborne aircraft in entire North America on that fateful day.–PTI