This article is for quizzes on Monday January 16th...

Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign for a United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. In common parlance the term describes those Air Force aircraft designed, built, and used to transport the president. The presidential aircraft is a prominent symbol of the American presidency and its power.

The idea of designating specific military aircraft to transport the President arose in 1943, when officials of the United States Army Air Forces, the predecessor to the U.S. Air Force, became concerned over the reliance on commercial airlines to transport the president. A C-87 Liberator Express was reconfigured for use as a presidential transport, but the Secret Service rejected it because of its safety record. A C-54 Skymaster was then converted for presidential use; this aircraft, dubbed the Sacred Cow, carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Yalta Conference in February 1945 and was subsequently used for another two years by President Harry S. Truman.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to fly in an aircraft while in office. The first aircraft obtained specifically for presidential travel was a Douglas Dolphin amphibian delivered in 1933 which was designated RD-2 by the US Navy and based at the Naval base at Anacostia D.C. The Dolphin was modified with luxury upholstery for four passengers and a small separate sleeping compartment. The aircraft remained in service as a presidential transport from 1933 until 1939.
There are no reports, however, on whether the president actually flew in the aircraft. During World War II, Roosevelt traveled on the Dixie Clipper, a Pan Am-crewed Boeing 314 flying boat to the 1943 Casablanca Conference in Morocco, a flight that covered 5,500 miles (8,890 km) in three legs. The threat from the German submarines throughout the Battle of the Atlantic made air travel the preferred method of VIP transatlantic transportation.

The "Air Force One" call sign was created after a 1953 incident during which a Lockheed Constellation named Columbine II, carrying President Dwight D. Eisenhower, entered the same airspace as a commercial airline flight using the same call sign.

A number of aircraft types have been used as Air Force One since the creation of the presidential fleet, starting with two Lockheed Constellations in the late 1950s: Columbine II and Columbine III. It also has included two Boeing 707s, introduced in the 1960s and 1970s; since 1990, the presidential fleet has comprised two Boeing VC-25As, which are specifically configured, highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft. The Air Force plans to procure the Boeing 747-8 for the next version of Air Force One.

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