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What Would Happen if Trump Chose His Personal Plane Over Air Force One

Donald Trump is an unusual president-elect for many different reasons. On January 20, he will make history as the only president never to have previously held political office or served in the military. And he will also be the first president to arrive in office with his own plane.

The presidential plane was first instated as a perk in 1943, while Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office. (Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to ever ride in a plane, but he didn’t manage to hitch a flight until after he had left office.)

The term “Air Force One” did not come about until 1953. That year, an Eastern Airlines commercial flight (Flight 8610) was flying in the same airspace as the plane carrying President Dwight D. Eisenhower (Air Force 8610). To avoid any future call sign confusion, the air force decided that the presidential plane would be referred to as “Air Force One” from then on.

Air Force One does not actually refer to a specific plane, but rather whichever plane happens to be carrying the President of the United States of America at that time. There are currently two Boeing 747-200s which serve as presidential aircraft—whichever one the president is on at the time gets the name.

Donald Trump with family (Trump)
Donald Trump with family (Trump)

Next year, the presidential planes are due to be replaced. The current 747-200s will be retired and a Boeing 747-8 will take their place. It will produce less carbon emissionsthan the outgoing planes, which went into service in 1990. It is also capable of flying faster and further, and is expected to serve as the presidential plane for the next 30 years.

Whether or not President Trump decides to use the new plane next year remains to be seen. Air Force One will be decidedly less luxe than Trump’s current Boeing 757.

Trump refers to his personal plane as “T-Bird” although others have nicknamed it “Trump Force One.” Earlier this year, Trump referred to the 757 as his “favorite flying toy” in an interview.

The plane is powered by two Rolls-Royce RB211 turbofan engines—a feature Trump was apparently very keen on installing. The 757 is not known for being particularly fuel efficient. In aviation circles, it’s practically the equivalent of a hot rod. It is capable of reaching up to 500 miles per hour. (

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