911: President George W. Bush aboard Air Force One, 09/11/2001.
Original Caption: President George W. Bush and his staff look out the windows of Air Force One at their F-16 escort Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, while en route to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. Pictured from left are: Andy Card, White House Chief of Staff; Ari Fleischer, Press Secretary; Blake Gottesman, Personal Aide to the President; Karl Rove, Senior Adviser; Deborah Loewer, Director of White House Situation Room, and Dan Bartlett, Deputy Assistant to the President. ..U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: P7081-09..Created By: President (2001-2009 : Bush). Office of Management and Administration. Office of White House Management. Photography Office. (01/20/2001 - 01/20/2009)..From:: Photographs Related to the George W. Bush Administration, compiled 01/20/2001 - 01/20/2009..Production Date: 09/11/2001..Persistent URL: arcweb.archives.gov/arc/action/ExternalIdSearch?id=5997232 ( http://arcweb.archives.gov/arc/action/ExternalIdSearch?id=5997232 ) ..Repository: George W. Bush Library (Lewisville, TX)..Access Restrictions: Unrestricted.Use Restrictions: Unrestricted
On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States. Over the next 50 days and nearly 50,000 images later, White House photographers would capture the horror and heroism, the courage and compassion surrounding those attacks. From a Florida second-grade classroom to a ceremonial first pitch, these moments in time reflect the resounding resolution and resiliency of a president. President George W. Bush began his schedule that day at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. Participating in a second-grade reading demonstration, he was informed by his Chief of Staff that “America is under attack.” As events unfolded in New York City, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania, President Bush directed the nation’s response from Air Force One as he flew from Sarasota to Barksdale Air Force Base to Offutt Air Force Base and returned to Washington, DC, where he addressed the nation from the Oval Office.
Technically, Air Force One is used to describe any Air Force aircraft carrying the President — but since the middle of the 20th century, it has been standard practice to refer to specific planes that are equipped to transport the Commander-in-Chief. Today, this name refers to one of two highly customized Boeing 747-200B series aircraft, which carry the tail codes 28000 and 29000. The Air Force designation for the aircraft is VC-25A. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to fly in an aircraft while in office. President Harry S. Truman replaced VC-54C in 1947 with a modified C-118 Liftmaster, calling it the Independence after his Missouri hometown. President Eisenhower introduced four propeller-driven aircraft to presidential service. This group included two Lockheed C-121 Constellations, aircraft Columbine II (VC-121A 48-610) and Columbine III (VC-121E 53-7885). They were named by First Lady Mamie Eisenhower for the columbine, official state flower of her adopted home state of Colorado. In 1959, the Air Force added the first of Boeing 707-120 jet aircraft—VC-137s, designated SAM (Special Air Missions) 970, 971 and 972. In 1962, the U.S. Air Force purchased a Boeing C-137 Stratoliner, a modified long-range Boeing 707—Special Air Mission (SAM) 26000. SAM 26000 was in service from 1962 to 1998, serving Presidents John Kennedy to Bill Clinton. During the Johnson Administration, the United States Air Force acquired a Beechcraft King Air B90 which was designated VC-6A. The aircraft was used to transport President Johnson between Bergstrom Air Force Base and his family ranch near Johnson City, Texas, and was used at least once to transport the President to Princeton, New Jersey. It was referred to as Lady Bird's airplane and later in its service life featured a basic color scheme similar to civilian aircraft. When the President was aboard, the aircraft used the call sign Air Force One. In December 1972 VC-137, Special Air Mission 27000 was added to the fleet while SAM 26000 was kept as a backup until it was finally retired. Richard Nixon was the first president to use SAM 27000; the newer aircraft served every president until it was replaced by two VC-25A aircraft (SAM 28000 and 29000) in 1990 when Reagan Administration ordered two identical 747s to replace the aging 707s he used. as of 2019, the VC-25As are to be replaced.