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Directorate continues to support Presidential travel

MINNEAPOLIS  --  Air Force One lifts off from here April 26th.  Principal differences between the VC-25A and the standard Boeing 747, other than the number of passengers carried, are the electronic and communications equipment aboard Air Force One, its interior configuration and furnishings, self-contained baggage loader, front and aft air-stairs, and the capability for in-flight refueling. These aircraft are flown by the presidential aircrew, maintained by the presidential maintenance branch, and are assigned to Air Mobility Command's 89th Airlift Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, Md.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeremy Mashek)

MINNEAPOLIS -- Air Force One lifts off from here April 26th. Principal differences between the VC-25A and the standard Boeing 747, other than the number of passengers carried, are the electronic and communications equipment aboard Air Force One, its interior configuration and furnishings, self-contained baggage loader, front and aft air-stairs, and the capability for in-flight refueling. These aircraft are flown by the presidential aircrew, maintained by the presidential maintenance branch, and are assigned to Air Mobility Command's 89th Airlift Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jeremy Mashek)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla., – When President Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan last November to spend time with U.S. troops over the Thanksgiving holiday, a directorate from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center played a key role in ensuring both VC-25A aircraft, more commonly known as Air Force One, were available for flight.

As one of the most visible symbols of the United States and Office of the President, Air Force One provides the President with safe, reliable transportation and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology that allows the commander-in-chief to fulfill the functions of his job anywhere in the world.

Members of the Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate ensure the aircraft meet standards for presidential travel and Federal Aviation Administration rules for continued airworthiness.

The directorate’s Commercial Derivative Aircraft Division (CDAD) located at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., works closely with partners at Boeing and the Presidential Airlift Group (PAG) – which operates the aircraft – located at Joint Base Andrews, Md., to ensure at least one VC-25A is readily available to meet the President’s mission needs.

In the months prior to the Thanksgiving trip, the CDAD team spearheaded an initiative to ensure both aircraft were available through calendar year 2020, unaware of any specific tasking but rather answering the need of the PAG to have the two VC-25As available for use.

The goal for the CDAD team is to work quickly and efficiently. The team was able to complete a number of inspections and resolve mandatory maintenance requirements in order to deliver the aircraft to the PAG. And because the PAG had two VC-25As available, they were able to execute the surprise Afghanistan trip flawlessly.

 “It was a lot of work in a short amount of time,” said Col. Brian Bracy, the Senior Materiel Leader for the division. “But our team, led by Dave Horn, as well as our partners at Boeing, and the PAG did a brilliant job addressing airworthiness directives and managing the maintenance schedule. Ultimately our focus is on ensuring the aircraft are ready to support the President.”

Along with supporting VC-25A, the directorate is responsible for updating and managing a variety of other aircraft used by senior White House, U.S. State Department and U.S. Department of Defense officials, including the E-4B, C-32, C-37, C-40, C-12, C-21, RC-26, and C-208.

Of note, the CDAD team just awarded a contract to acquire two C-37Bs, slated for delivery in 2021.

“Our motto is ‘Pride of the Nation,’ and that’s what our team feels every day,” said Bracy. “Our aircraft are the most important aircraft that fly in the national airspace, and our goal is to ensure the folks that use the plane are getting the best that the Air Force and DOD have to offer.”