Now, on to the future, the Boeing VC-25B. The current prime Air Force One aircraft, the Boeing VC-25As, are getting to be old and technically very behind the times. The 89th Airlift Wing has been using these two airplane for thirty years now. They were based on the Boeing 747-200 airliners, an earlier design of the 747 that have long since been removed from use by the airlines. By today’s standards, they are quite in-efficient and expensive to operate.
It was determined that the best replacement for the old 747-200 would be the much improved Boeing 747-8i. They would be highly modified versions of the airliner. They will have two doors
with retractable airstairs to allow the aircraft to emplane passengers and crew without needing to rely on ground-based staircases. Additional modifications will be done to the aircraft environmental controls, electrical power, water management, fuel system and engines.
Boeing was already building tow 747-8i aircraft for the Russian airline Transaero. As Boeing was finishing the basic construction of these airplanes, Transaero went bankrupt. Boeing flew the two airplanes to the Southern California Logistics Airport in the Mojave desert for storage. In February, 2018, the White House announced that the US Air Force had come to an agreement to purchase these airplanes.
The two 747-8i airliners were flown to Boeing’s facilities in San Antonio, Texas, were they will be modified into the VC-25B Presidential aircraft. They are scheduled to be delivered in 2024.
There has been some talk by the President and others about having a new “Air Force One” paint scheme. Boeing has the new design on their website, but nothing has been determined officially as when I am writing this, February, 2020. If the paint scheme changes, I will change it on the painting! It will actually be fairly easy to do!