National Geographic Channel has just premiered a new documentary special called "The New Air Force One: Flying Fortress" about the brand-new $5.3 billion Boeing 747 that's about to go into service for President Joe Biden.
The program is available on the Nat Geo TV app, through your television provider's VOD options or you can buy a digital copy via iTunes, Amazon or Google Play.
The new plane replaces one that had flown three decades of presidential missions, serving as the airborne White House as it carried five presidents around the world. Replacing a piece of proprietary and highly classified technology like Air Force One requires intense planning, so the development and retrofitting of this plane took years of work.
Of course, no documentary is going to be allowed to give us all of the very best classified intel, but the show does reveal many of the technological improvements that a new plane allowed. We've got a clip that reveals upgrades to the plane's engine.
Then-President Donald Trump makes an appearance talking about the old plane before we learn about the challenges of keeping a pair of 30-year-old Air Force Ones in service. (Yep, there's a spare.)
Some readers will remember that Trump thought the new planes were too expensive and threatened to cancel the order when he took office. After a pair of new planes became available after a Russian airline went bankrupt and couldn't take delivery, Trump describes how his administration swooped in and bought them at a discount.
The new plane design is a knockout. Think about the technological advances we've seen since the current model launched and how many improvements are available for the new generation of flying fortresses.
The Air Force may not have a more important job than maintaining and flying Air Force One (and its backup). The new plane should make that job a lot easier and give our presidents a far more comfortable ride.
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