Bruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5083 posts, RR: 14 Posted (11 years 8 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 15483 times:
Probably most people who aspire to be pilots want to see themselves flying up high in a 747, but isn't AF1 the "ultimate 747"? How do you get to be a pilot for AF1? Are they chosen from Air Force pilots? How do Air Force pilots get practice on the type? I know they have "heavies" such as the KC10 in the Air Force fleet but I dont think there are other 747s. How would you go from being a regular Air force flyer to a 747? That would be probably the ultimate flying job in my opinion, to be in command of the worlds most sophisticated plane carrying the world's most powerful leader.
In the articles I read about President Bush's trip they mention Capt. Tillman and also the fact that Bush was riding jumpseat for the landing, but they never mention the F/O and F/E.
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
Kaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12932 posts, RR: 34
Reply 2, posted (11 years 8 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 15403 times:
The pilot of AF1 is either a Brig General or a colonel; all crewmembers would be highly experienced, "top of the class" fliers, no doubt carefully vetted as well.
I don't know where they take them from (i.e. what part of the air force) but I would imagine some come from the E4B fleet at Offutt AFB in Nebraska, where they would have plenty of 747 experience. Others would come from other transport fleets, such as KC10s/KC135s.
B747Skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (11 years 8 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 15077 times:
Most current and past pilots of AF1 have previous 747 experience with the E-4 (Offutt is correct)... Be aware that they also do their own training using some airline simulators in the USA, but I believe I am not at liberty to say where... I do not think that "Top Gun" is much preparation to handle a 747... Would that be nice, fly a 747 the same way as a FA-18...
In the old days of the AF1 when they were 707, pilots trained in Kansas City 707 simulators with TWA back then... I understand they later went to the AA Academy at DFW for simulator training. I used to know a AF1 pilot in the days of President Reagan, then a 707...
The two AF1 airplanes are essentially same as the 747-200, but there are quite a few differences as well... The E-4s have a lot of differences with civilian 747 (i.e. electrical system) ... less so with AF1 airplanes...
I realise your interest in AF1 but many of you mix opinions and politics... and fortunately, for me, that is outside of my aviation interest. Flying this aircraft with the President aboard is always a special mission, and many of these flights are not "advertized"... Besides, these airplanes fly occasionally without the President aboard, therefore their call sign is not "Air Force One"...
Rjpieces From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (11 years 8 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 14908 times:
I imagine there must be a hanful of pilots. The president hops all over the country, especially during election season. And they must have pilots on standby 24/7 in case the President needs to leave town fast.
N766UA From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 8593 posts, RR: 23
Reply 10, posted (11 years 8 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 14866 times:
Calling the pilot in command a "Captain" on AF1 is quite an insult, actually. They're either generals or full colonels and come from the very top of the transport pilot pool. For fighter pilots, the Thunderbirds are the very top. For transport pilots, it doesn't get any better than AF1.
Ben From Switzerland, joined Aug 1999, 1391 posts, RR: 48
Reply 11, posted (11 years 8 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 14787 times:
It didn't sound like the pilot of Air Force One had ever been to an airport like Heathrow before. That was from hearing the radio exchange between him and Heathrow Director last week on Bush's visit to London.
I guess that when they operate to most airports, the "skies are cleared" for them. Not so at Heathrow. AF1 had minimum separation from other arrivals, the only difference being that it landed on a different (parallel) runway, closer to it's final parking place.
When I saw the BBC live coverage they said "the skies around Heathrow have been cleared for this arrival" ... well the recording says otherwise.
Bucky707 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 1030 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (11 years 8 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 14685 times:
There are indeed a handful of pilots who fly AF1, as you have to have extra's for long missions, if someone is sick, etc. The title of Presidential Pilot usually goes to the commander of the Presidential Support Group. Currently he is a Lt Col.
B747Skipper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (11 years 8 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 14572 times:
Air Force 1 pilots rank generally as Lt.Col or Col., occasionally Major...
Generally the one flying the 747 are colonels...
Maybe the ones flying the Gulfstream or 757 are majors, could be captains...
Generals generally "do not fly" except special circumstances...
Captain is a rank/title used in the airlines.
Proper name would be "Commander" or "Aircraft Commander" for the position.
If the Navy had a 747 pilot assigned to fly 747, he could be a captain...
Captain in the Navy is the equivalent rank of a Colonel...
EMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 20, posted (11 years 8 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 14207 times:
In order to become part of the 89th Airlift Wing, 'THEY' call you...you DON'T call them. You need to be top's in your class, tops for your scores and reviews. From the Aircraft Commander of the VC-25 down to the mechanics that work on them, all are Best of the Best of the Best.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
Pilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3153 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (11 years 8 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 14193 times:
To answer an above question, Clinton used the 757 all the time. A couple of his visits to STL utilized it. The Secret Service guys that come into my FBO when high ranking officials are in town say Bush doesn't like the 757 because it's too small. Of course some airports can't handle a 747's weight. Most cabinet members fly on the Air Force Gulfstreams.