On Friday, the US Air Force presented a new color scheme for the upcoming Air Force One aircraft, abandoning the deeper red, white, and blue that outgoing President Donald Trump had chosen to favor a more contemporary take on the president’s traditional look.
However, the color scheme abandons Trump’s original plans for Air Force One, which included a deep red line along the middle and a dark blue underbelly.
It was verified that Trump’s desired color scheme had been rejected the previous year due to the need for additional engineering, which would have increased the cost and lengthened the aircraft’s already lengthy construction process.
The Air Force claimed that the dark blue paint threatened to overheat complex electronic components on board and would have necessitated further FAA qualification tests.
Instead, the so-called “Next Air Force One” will have, with one minor exception, the majority of the same colors as the aircraft it is replacing.
According to early renderings from CNN, the aircraft’s engines and nose will be darker than its current robin’s egg blue.
The overall architecture of Air Force One hasn’t changed much in the 60 years since President John F. Kennedy occupied the White House.
The Air Force claims that President Joe Biden was required to decide on the new livery for Boeing to carry out engineering, certification planning, and other tasks for the VC-25B aircraft, a modified 747-8i.
These actions will occur while Boeing is also altering and testing the fleet of two aircraft now being built.
The delivery of the first VC-25B is anticipated for 2027, followed by the second in 2028. According to the Air Force, the newly chosen paint job and its implementation won’t raise the program’s cost.
In 2018, Boeing and the administration of then-President Trump agreed to produce the two new aircraft. Trump requested that the planes be completed by 2021, but the project has had several setbacks.
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As he announced the agreement in 2018, Trump praised his choice to use a patriotic color scheme.
“Air Force One is going to be incredible,” Trump told CBS then. “It’s going to be the top of the line, the top in the world. And it’s going to be red, white and blue, which I think is appropriate.”
The Covid-19 pandemic, labor scarcity, and tight design deadlines were some of the causes that contributed to the project’s delays.
Boeing CEO David Calhoun stated last year that the $3.9 billion contract Boeing signed to build the planes was a mistake for the company, given the losses it incurred, and that the deal proved to be a regrettable one for the airline builder after running into some issues while building the planes.
According to him, Boeing “a very unique set of risks that Boeing probably shouldn’t have taken” in the 2018 agreement with the Air Force.
The former president approached the Air Force One contract in an unusually hands-on manner, given his reputation as a dealmaker. He met with Boeing’s top executives in the White House to finalize the agreement.