The Strange Features Of The First President Plane Air Force One

Grace Higgins | July 17th, 2020

Known as Air Force One, the sleek blue and white plane is known everywhere in the world as the plane that flies the President of The United States of America around. Without a doubt, it has become one of the most recognizable places on the whole planet. Of course, the model you are probably familiar with seeing today is not the first president plane, it is the sibling of the Boeing VC-137B which was the very first plane built to power presidential travel.

Unlike the current Air Force One that has a lot of additional features, and is pretty much custom made. The first plane used by the Presidents as a command center was pretty much a standard Boeing 707. Of course, it did have some custom quirks, but they were mostly down to the Presidents that flew in the plane and not actually by design.

The most surprising secret was VC-137B had spying capabilities, but President Eisenhower didn’t even know! The plan was originally built to take him to the Soviet Union for diplomatic discussions in the 1960s. The CIA thought it was the perfect cover to spy on the USSR at the same time so added in surveillance tools. In the end, the trip never happened because weeks before the meetings Soviet military shot down an American U-2 spy plane causing complete diplomatic breakdown and heightening tensions.

President Johnson loved his dogs so much that he took them everywhere, taking his beagles everywhere as he always was traveling from nation to nation. His dogs were not great at sitting patiently and would always howl if they were faced with a door. So Johnson ordered doggie doors to be put into Air Force One, meaning his dogs would regularly come and go from the conference room.

He was also fidgety with room temperature always demanding the captain to turn up the room temperature or to turn it down. The crew got so annoyed by having to change the temperature every 10 minutes that in the end, they put fake temperature control on his seat. President Johnson stopped complaining about room temperature and everyone was happy.

The only other big changes happened when President Kennedy took office, the First Lady Jackie Kennedy was not impressed with the military decor and advised it needed to be updated. As a result, the french designed Raymond Loewy was called in to create a beautiful blue, white and metallic paint scheme. The design is still used in the current President Air Force One today.

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