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Bruce
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The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 3:11 am

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
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Vimanav
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 3:13 am

In the Nat Geo programme the other day, I heard them say that the Commander of AF1 is a Top Gun...

rgds//Vimanav
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kaitak
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 3:15 am

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.
 
futureualpilot
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 3:21 am

I believe they originally fly tranbsports, then they transfer top one squadron where they are then picked from that squadron to fly AF1.

Im not sure though but I remember hearing something like that.
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airbazar
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 4:18 am

Lets not associate AF1 with the 747. AF1 is whatever airplane the president is in, not necessarily the 747. So I'd say they come from all different backgrounds  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
 
B747-437B
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 4:25 am

How do Air Force pilots get practice on the type?

I believe that USAF has a contract that gives them 747 and 757 simulator time at the United Airlines training facility in Denver.
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
Guest

RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 4:30 am

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...
xxx
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...
xxx
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...
xxx
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"...
xxx
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PIA777
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 4:41 am

They pick the best of the best out of the Air Force to fly AF1. Probably someone who has been in the Air Force for a long time and has ALOT of experience.

-PIA777
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hawkeye2
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 4:46 am

This page gives the requirements and the selection process:

http://www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/alf-tank/89th%20Airlift%20Wing/89AW.htm
 
rjpieces
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 4:55 am

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.
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
 
N766UA
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 5:06 am

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.
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ben
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 5:34 am

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.

Was very interesting to hear...
 
bucky707
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 5:56 am

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.
 
AA717driver
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AA CFO Resignation...

Sun Nov 30, 2003 6:01 am

I believe you have to be in the SAM Squadron and from there(in a very rigorous and competitive process, I'd imagine) the 747 folks are selected...

When (other than in the past when a President was sneaking around with his mistress...Oops, I retract the statement Big grin) has the President flown on anything smaller than the 747?TC
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Guest

RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 6:15 am

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...
xxx
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...
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
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zona8
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 6:31 am

"has the President flown on anything smaller than the 747"

-Yes, he uses a 757 actually quite often.
 
rjpieces
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RE: AA A300's To Hawaii

Sun Nov 30, 2003 6:43 am

I believe that when he came to New York City after 9/11 he took the C-32.
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jayspilot
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 6:44 am

I believe the 89th air wing which is the wing of the Air Force that is in charge of executive transport has several types of airplanes. They fly 747.737.757.707.GV.Lear35s. and still DC9's.
 
rjpieces
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 6:50 am

I know the Navy still has DC-9s. I don't think the 89th does though.
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
 
cgagn
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 6:56 am

I'm sure I read somewhere that AF1 is a -200 with the cockpit and engines of a -400. Is that correct?
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EMBQA
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 7:23 am

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.
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Bruce
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 7:24 am

the website refered to by Hawkeye2 is excellent. among the prerequisites -

NO FIGHTERS OR BOMBERS

so i guess that eliminates the "top gun" folks

AIRLIFT OR TANKER MWS AIRCRAFT COMMANDER

here is where I think the commander of a KC10 could get a promotion......

2000 total hours minimum, 2500 highly desired

and this assignment to the 89th AW is a "special duty assignment with a four year controlled tour"

bruce
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pilotpip
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 7:26 am

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.
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MD11LuxuryLinr
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 7:55 am

..."I'm sure I read somewhere that AF1 is a -200 with the cockpit and engines of a -400. Is that correct? "..

The engines, yes, the cockpit, nope. I too have seen that Discovery Channel program. They showed the cockpit a couple times and it wasn't glass..
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keesje
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Sun Nov 30, 2003 8:02 am

B747skipper, did you fly the AF1 ?

rgds keesje
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jhooper
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 1:17 pm

I kind of wonder myself why they exclude fighter and bomber types....
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
 
Guest

RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 2:00 pm

Hola Keesje -
xxx
No, I did not fly AF-1, but I flew the E-4Bs from Offut AB when I was in USAFR until 1991... The E-4 could be AF-1, if the President would have come on board in a wartime situation, or a conflict. When the 747 got selected to be the VC-25 to replace the 707s, they indeed obtained a lot of data from our E-4 operation, and I understand, after I retired, that some pilots assigned to fly the VC-25 initially, flew a few missions in these E-4s to get accustomed to the aircraft... Cockpit is basically the same... engines as well.
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
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mirrodie
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 2:11 pm

I have always known that any plane the President is on is called AIR FORCE ONE.

BUt does that hold true for the Helicopters as well?

One of my old Soccer team mates is a Marine. We are both 28 years old but back when Clinton was in office, he was the chopper pilot for Clinton.

So he was relatively young as a pilot for him.
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B747-437B
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 2:15 pm

BUt does that hold true for the Helicopters as well?

The USMC helicopter that transports the President is termed "MARINE ONE".
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 2:21 pm

To state again: The "owner" of the aircraft determines what it's called. When the president is onboard a USMC aircraft, the VH-3D, for instance it's termed Marine One. When the president is onboard a USAF, a VC-25 for instance, it's Air Force One. Similarly, if the president was onboard a USA aircraft it'd be Army One, and if the president were onboard a USN aircraft (such as the S-3B he took onboard the Abraham Lincoln ) it's termed Navy One.
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NWA
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 2:59 pm

No, its marine one. the airforce does not fly his heli.
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AASilverbird
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 3:22 pm

What is an aircraft called when the VP is travelling? Is it Air Force 2?
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 3:35 pm

Correct, AASilverbird. Air Force Two is any USAF aircraft with the VP aboard. Just as Air Force One is usually the VC-25, Air Force Two is usually a VC-32, the USAF's modified 757-200.
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USAFHummer
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 3:46 pm

I wonder what would happen should a president ever fly in a civilian aircraft for whatever reason (eg Nixon on UA 55 in 1973)...no special callsign then?

Greg
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 3:50 pm

In a civilian aircraft, the special callsign is Exec One, I believe.
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FA4UA
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 4:04 pm

OK, so how does one become a flight attendant on any of these planes? They've gotta have them aboard! Are they Secret Service members who serve food to the press or what?

fa4ua
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garnetpalmetto
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 4:09 pm

If memory serves, in the case of Air Force One and Air Force Two, the "flight attendants" are generally USAF stewards who are generally NCOs and are also members of the 89th Airlift Wing
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JMChladek
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 5:03 pm

With all the KC-135 Tankers, KC-10s and large transports in the USAF inventory, there are plenty of potential VC-25 pilots out there in the talent pool. I believe that the VC-25 might have a cockpit closer to that of a 747-400, but it does have as far as I know a flight engineer station and a custom made navigator station. As for E-4s, Offutt has a couple and Andrews has one. The Offutt E-4s are used these days mainly for communications relays in places devastated by natural disaster, such as what Hurricane Andrew did to Homestead in 1991, but they still can be used during that other grim event should it ever happen and are flown regularly around here in the Omaha sky (probably for stick time and training more then anything). As for the E-4 at Andrews, I understand it gets used for pilot stick time and air refueling practice as flight crews don't want to risk scratching the paint on the VC-25s.

As for other Andrews VIP birds used for Air Force one, Clinton did also utilize a DC-9 (C-9B?) a lot for trips to Martha's Vineyard and he also utilized it for his ONLY trip to Nebraska as president back in 2000.
 
noelg
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 6:41 pm

I guess that when they operate to most airports, the "skies are cleared" for them.

AF1 flew into and out of MCO when I was there, FOX 35 said nothing was permitted into the airspace around the time, but there were still aircraft on approach as the president climbed out!
 
ben
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 8:37 pm

AF1 flew into and out of MCO when I was there, FOX 35 said nothing was permitted into the airspace around the time, but there were still aircraft on approach as the president climbed out!

Yeah, the only thing that is 'clear' is that sometimes the media like to sensationalise these things.
 
elwood64151
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 11:09 pm

In the Nat Geo programme the other day, I heard them say that the Commander of AF1 is a Top Gun...

I don't know who Nat Geo is, but he's wrong. First of all, Top Gun is the Navy fighter pilot school. Second, the people flying the VC-25 (the President's version of the E-4B, the Air Force's version of the 747) are transport pilots.

Jhooper:

They exclude bomber pilots because, with the exception of the B-52, there isn't anything in the inventory that is nearly equivalent. The B-2 is much smaller and has severely different characteristics (no rudder! omg!!), and the B-1 has a totally different flight profile. Almost all the other bombers in the inventory are nearer to fighters in their characteristics. And I'm sure the B-52 cockpit is quite different from a 747.

Garnetpalmetto:

I believe you're mistaken. I could be wrong, but I believe a civilian aircraft would be called Air Force One. But the Secret Service would have a Heart Attack if he were on a civi.



There is some "clearing" of the skies around AF1. Aircraft are not allowed to be within a certain distance, stuff like that. When people do it in other countries, they do it as a courtesy, not by edict as done here.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 11:20 pm

I stand by my assertion that it would be Exec One. The designator prior to "One" indicates who is operating the aircraft and, as a civilian airliner is hardly property of the US Air Force thus it could not be Air Force One. After looking up several other threads on a.net to determine if my memory was faulty it would seem it is Exec One

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/military/read.main/12320/
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wannabe
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Mon Dec 01, 2003 11:34 pm

Back in 1996 (I think) I was visiting a relative who worked at the Pan Am training center in Miami. While there, I was introduced (and had lunch with) the pilot of the Vice Presidents plane. He was there training for a flight Russia that was taking either George Schultz or VP George Bush there for a summit meeting, and had to practice flying very precise routes. Pan Am was, at the time, supplying all of the training for the AF1 crews. I don't remember his name, but he was about 1 year from retirement and looking to get a job at Pan Am. I hope for his benefit he didn't get it.
 
AA717driver
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AA CFO Resignation...

Mon Dec 01, 2003 11:50 pm

At altitude I believe AF1 is given normal separation. I've passed it a couple of times over the middle of the country. I know they don't use "econ" cruise speed Big grin In the 757, we got passed by AF2 when it was a C9. They must have been bumping up against the barber pole!TC
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airjampanam
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Tue Dec 02, 2003 12:02 am

FA4UA
Garnetpalmetto is correct, I have a friend who flew with the Vice President.
He was a NCO in the Air Force based at Andrews Air Force Base.
Have quite a few souvenirs as well... playing cards, match books etc with the seal.
 Smile
shhhhhhhhhh
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na
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Tue Dec 02, 2003 12:21 am

Someone mentioned the National Geographic AF1 film(video). How is it? It´s quite costly to buy as a DVD here, same price as the latest cinema hits.
 
Likesplanes
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Tue Dec 02, 2003 2:05 am

Just what exactly is the "SAM" squadron? In the National Geographic show on flying the Presidential 747's, they mention about when Nixon took his last flight home on the old 707 just after leaving office, and mention that they were listening on the plane to his successor being sworn in. After the swearing in ceremony, the pilot got on the mike and requested that the call sign of the 707 be switched to SAM 27000. Can someone out there explain what SAM means in this instance? I hope this is not off topic, since SAM was mentioned in a previous reply.
Thanks.
 
JayDavis
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Tue Dec 02, 2003 2:05 am

What is the color scheme of those 747's that fly around OMA doing training missions? Any shots of them on this site?

One time Dick Cheney came into DAL and I was there to photograph it. I was expecting a 757 and it was a DC-9 instead. Just recently, President Bush came to DAL and we got some great shots of it! The weather was absolutely beautiful that day. Haven't got my slides back from the lab yet though.


Jay
 
garnetpalmetto
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Tue Dec 02, 2003 2:08 am

In this case, "SAM" would stand for "Special Air Mission."
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Lindy
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RE: The Captain Of Air Force One

Tue Dec 02, 2003 2:24 am

The "AF1" 747 was doing touch & go couple of times earlier this year at BWI.

Rafal
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