President Joe Biden decided to forego President Trump’s aesthetic alterations to Air Force One, opting to stick with a more traditional theme.
The Air Force unveiled the new paint design for the President’s ride, noting that the colors Biden chose have adorned the aircraft since the ’60s when JFK introduced blue/white pattern we all know today. So really, it is an old paint design.
Basically, the changes boil down to a lighter shade of blue, versus Trump’s darker, more bold blue. “The light blue on VC-25B is a slightly deeper, more modern tone than VC-25A’s robin’s egg blue,” the Air Force said. “Additionally, the VC-25B engines will use the darker blue from the cockpit area vice the VC-25A’s robin’s egg blue.”
Aviation experts say the current jets’ light blue underside serves as camouflage for when it is in the air, as it helps the planes blend in with the sky.
The new Boeing-manufactured AF1 planes will also come without polished metal for the first time, given the change in modern skin alloys. The Air Force also insists that the new planes come with slight tweaks that make them more efficient and effective. But the new paint job is the most obvious change to the naked eye.
When Trump was in office, he also tried to implement a bold new color scheme based on the nation’s flag, but the Air Force couldn’t pull it off.
“The Air Force previously displayed a red, white, and blue livery for the VC-25B because it had been publicly expressed as a preferred livery in 2019. A thermal study later concluded the dark blue in the design would require additional Federal Aviation Administration qualification testing for several commercial components due to the added heat in certain environments.”
Boeing agreed to build the new Air Force One aircrafts in a $3.9 billion deal back in 2018
In 2021, during construction of the new Air Force One, Boeing made headlines when inspectors found empty liquor bottles inside the cabin of the aircraft. A Boeing spokesperson told media at the time that it was a “personnel matter,” and the company has said it’s working to improve quality and manufacturing operations.
Boeing said it considers Air Force One “effectively an airborne seat of government” and the “highest national priority” on par with defense programs like ballistic missiles. The government will take delivery of the planes in 2025, assuming no further setbacks arise.
The current planes – two identical VC-25As – were introduced by former President George HW Bush in 1990, and are nearing the end of their service life. And did you know, the government assigns the call sign ‘Air Force One’ to any plane carrying a serving president; not necessarily the primary aircraft itself? As short hand, observers usually describe the VC-25Bs using the same nickname because presidents use them so frequently; but any aircraft (commercial, private, or otherwise) would inherit the call sign if the President came aboard.