2007 $4.60 Air Force One
City: Washington, DC
Decades earlier, Theodore Roosevelt became the first US president to fly in an airplane. The flight came after his time as president, on October 11, 1910. On that occasion, he rode in an airplane piloted by Arch Hoxsey at a county fair in St. Louis.
The US Army Air Forces didn’t want the president to have to rely on commercial airlines for his travel, so they ordered a C-87A military aircraft be converted for his use. But the plane had a questionable safety record and the president never used it, though some of the people in his cabinet would use it.
After Roosevelt’s death, Harry Truman replaced the presidential aircraft with a C-118 Liftmaster named Independence (after his Missouri hometown). The Independence had a distinctive bald eagle head painted on the nose.
Then in 1953, two planes nearly collided over New York City. One was Eastern Airlines flight 8610 and the other was Air Force flight 8610. Because they had the same call sign, they entered the same airspace and nearly collided. After this incident, it was decided that the president’s plane should have its own unique call sign, Air Force One.
During Ronald Reagan’s administration, two Boeing 747s were ordered to replace the older 707s in use at the time. The newer aircraft are considered traveling White Houses. If there were an attack on the US, the President could remain airborne and continue his duties.
Eisenhower’s administration also marked the first time helicopters were used to transport the president. He needed a faster way to reach his summer home in Pennsylvania and Air Force One couldn’t land at the White House or his summer home. The first presidential helicopter was a Sikorsky UH-34 Seahorse. Up until 1976, the Marine Corps and the US Army shared the responsibility of presidential helicopter transport. Since then, the Marines have solely handled this, which is why it’s called Marine One.