The new Air Force One plane may get delivered a year late

Air Force One
Air Force One.

  • The upgraded VC-25B planes meant to serve as the next Air Force One aircraft may not arrive until 2025.
  • Air Force officials said this week that Boeing has told the service it needs to tack on an additional 12 months “beyond their original schedule.”
  • The Air Force is reviewing the company’s request to delay the delivery by at least a year, officials said.
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Boeing Co. is behind schedule on two new Air Force One aircraft, which could mean the upgraded VC-25B planes will not be delivered until 2025, according to service officials.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, Darlene Costello, principal deputy assistant secretary for Air Force acquisition, technology and logistics, revealed that the service is reviewing the aerospace and defense company’s request to delay the delivery by at least a year.

The aircraft were originally scheduled for delivery at the end of 2024.

Boeing has told the service it needs to tack on an additional 12 months “beyond their original schedule,” Costello told lawmakers, adding that the service must agree to the new terms.

“As soon as we get the updated schedule, we’ll determine if we have to adjust our baseline or schedule,” Costello said.

To make up for unforeseen costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Boeing said it may ask the service to pay more for the planes. The original $3.9 billion deal for the modified 747-8 airliners was set in 2018. The company has not asked for additional funding yet, Costello said; a dollar amount was not disclosed.

Air Force One
Air Force One.

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Connecticut, expressed concern that the delivery delay might also create unforeseen costs to keep the current VC-25A aircraft – introduced in 1990 – flying longer.

“We may need to put in one more maintenance cycle for that aircraft, depending on the timing,” Costello replied.

Lt. Gen. Duke Richardson, the Air Force military deputy for acquisition, earlier this year acknowledged that the new Air Force One aircraft would be late because of a dispute with one of the suppliers remaking the aircraft’s interior.

“Boeing is working hard. They’ve got another supplier identified, [and] we’re going to transfer as much of the work on the interiors as possible,” Richardson said during the annual McAleese conference in May.

Boeing in April canceled its contract with GDC Technics, a Texas-based company, to redesign the state-of-the-art “flying White House,” stating that GDC failed to “meet contractual obligations” regarding work deadlines.

The subcontractor then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and claimed Boeing was responsible for the program’s mismanagement, according to court documents filed in San Antonio and reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Boeing estimates GDC’s delays and problems related to the pandemic cost it $318 million in building the VC-25Bs, the company said in an earnings call in April.

Boeing began modifying the aircraft last year. The planes were originally ordered for the Russian airline company Transaero in 2013, DefenseOne reported in 2017. The company never delivered the jets to the now-defunct airline and instead put them in storage.

The aircraft passed its critical design review last spring, according to Defense News.

Air Force Two C-32
A C-32 frequently used as Air Force Two.

The Air Force One news comes after the service shelved plans to replace another high-profile executive aircraft: its small fleet of C-32s, or enhanced Boeing 757s, typically used to transport VIPs such as the vice president.

While the C-32 will remain in the fleet, the Air Force will not pursue investment in the airframe beyond already planned modifications, according to the service’s fiscal 2022 budget request. DefenseOne was first to note the service put off purchasing another Air Force Two aircraft.

“The C-32 Executive Transport Recapitalization program was intended to replace the aging C-32A aircraft fleet,” according to its Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Budget Item Justification.

Instead, remaining funding for the C-32 program was recently “applied to the evaluation and maturation of advanced high speed transport scale aircraft,” the budget request states.

The Pentagon last year awarded three companies contracts to begin prototyping a supersonic aircraft that could someday carry the president and other officials around the world in half the time. But until then, the C-32 – flying since 1998 – will press on, officials have said.

– Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at oriana.pawlyk@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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Donald Trump Jr. shared a mocking video that showed Biden falling after getting struck in the head by the former president’s golf ball

donald trump jr.
Donald Trump Jr. speaks Wednesday, January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC, prior to the deadly insurrection at the US Capitol.

  • Donald Trump Jr. mocked President Joe Biden for falling on the steps of Air Force One on Friday.
  • Biden stumbled three times and fell once as he ascended the steps to board the plane.
  • Trump Jr. posted to Twitter a video showing his father striking Biden with a golf ball and causing him to fall.
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Donald Trump Jr. shared a video on Twitter mocking President Joe Biden’s three stumbles on Friday.

The video showed former President Donald Trump taking a shot on the golf course – one of his favorite pastimes. The golf ball Trump hit flew into the greenery and came back in another frame, striking Biden in the head and knocking him down on the steps of Air Force One.

“It wasn’t the wind folks,” Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter.

Biden slipped twice as he climbed up the steps Friday. The third time, he stumbled and fell down.

At the top of the steps, Biden, 78, looked back and waved before boarding the plane.

Biden’s age and history of foot injuries led to reporters asking questions about his health after the three stumbles.

White House communications staff members told reported that Biden is unharmed and doing well.

“It’s pretty windy outside,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “It’s very windy. I almost fell coming up the steps myself. He is doing 100% fine.”

Trump Jr.’s tweet was met with backlash from Twitter users, including some celebrities and journalists.

“Does every member of the trump family have the intellect of an angry kindergartener?” one user wrote in response to his post. Another user said they reported the tweet and cited it as “disrespectful.”

Trump Jr.’s tweet did not violate Twitter policies, according to The Hill, which cited a spokesperson from the social media platform.

Weeks after winning the 2020 presidential election, Biden fractured his foot while playing with his dog Major.

Kevin O’Connor, Biden’s doctor, said in a statement that a scan “confirmed hairline (small) fractures of President-elect Biden’s lateral and intermediate cuneiform bones, which are in the mid-foot.”

At the time, O’Connor said that “it is anticipated that he will likely require a walking boot for several weeks.”

Biden, 78, is the country’s oldest president. During his campaign against Trump, Biden vehemently denied having any issues with his health. He and his campaign dismissed all health concerns, as well as released a medical report last year from Biden’s doctor. The report said Biden is “healthy” and “vigorous.”

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A man broke into the Air Force One base and walked aboard a plane unnoticed until his ‘mouse ears’ cap gave him away

biden air force one
US President Joe Biden steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on February 8, 2021.

  • A man who broke into the Air Force One base last month was caught partly because of his cap.
  • The intruder wore a cap that seemed to resemble “mouse ears,” according to officials.
  • An Air Force investigation concluded that the security failure was due to “human error.”
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In a rare security breach, a man broke into Joint Base Andrews last month and went unnoticed for about five hours until his strange headpiece that appeared to resemble “mouse ears” blew his cover, several news outlets reported Thursday.

The 36-year-old trespasser from Maryland, whose name has not been disclosed, was unarmed and wore “a bright red or pink cap that partially covered his ears and had distinctive balls on top that looked a little like mouse ears,” according to an Air Force investigation of the February 4 incident reported by The Associated Press.

An employee at the base saw the man on the flight line and was suspicious of the intruder partly because of his cap, and notified security, according to AP. The Air Force report blamed the unusual security failure on “human error.”

The Air Force first reported the security breach last month and released its investigation on Thursday. Military officials handed him over to local law enforcement at the time because he had two outstanding warrants.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Sami Said said that a “distracted” security guard had let the unauthorized man drive through an entrance gate and onto the military base located in Maryland, which is home to the presidential aircraft, Air Force One.

Afterward, the intruder slipped past another fence and entered the flight line, walked aboard a parked plane and stayed for a few minutes then left. He was stopped and arrested as he walked back on the flight line toward the security gate, AP reported.

The man went aboard a C-40 aircraft assigned to the 89th Airlift Wing, sometimes referred to as the “President’s Wing,” which is used by senior military and government officials. He never got close to the highly-protected Air Force One, officials said.

The report concluded that the intruder was “simply wandering” and did not harm anyone nor have plans to meet anyone. He told officials that he came to the base “because he wanted to see airplanes,” the report said.

The White House did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

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Trump offered Kim Jong Un a ride home on Air Force One after their second summit, new series reveals

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea, June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet at the Korean Demilitarized Zone in Panmunjom, South Korea, on June 30, 2019.

  • Trump offered Kim Jong Un a ride home on Air Force One, a new BBC series has revealed.
  • The two had met for their second negotiations in Vietnam in 2019, which eventually broke down.
  • Trump said he could get Kim home in two hours, but the former declined the invitation.
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Former President Donald Trump offered North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a ride home on Air Force One after the two met for a second time at a summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2019, a new BBC documentary has revealed.

The three-part series, titled “Trump Takes On the World,” discloses new details about how Trump and Kim negotiated North Korea’s nuclear program, which eventually ended without a deal. 

Trump, who had left the meeting abruptly, told the press at the time: “Sometimes you just have to walk.”

But the former president didn’t leave without making an unusual offer first.

“President Trump offered Kim a lift home on Air Force One,” Matthew Pottinger, the top Asia expert on Trump’s National Security Council, told the BBC.

“The president knew that Kim had arrived on a multi-day train ride through China into Hanoi and the president said: ‘I can get you home in two hours if you want.’ It was a gracious gesture,” he added.

Kim declined the offer, according to Pottinger.

Trump Air Force One
US President Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign rally at MBS International Airport in Freeland, Michigan on September 10, 2020.

The BBC series also includes an interview with Trump’s former national security advisor John Bolton, who was present at the summit.

Bolton said that as they drove to the meeting, Trump was confident that he could forge a deal once he was in the room with Kim.

“Trump obviously thought he had a new best friend in Kim Jong Un,” Bolton, who has since fallen out with Trump, said, according to the Sunday Times. “Trump thought that US-North Korea relations were great because he and Kim were buddies. It’s a very dangerous perception.”

Kim and Trump ended up meeting for a third and last time in the Korean demilitarized zone three months later but there was no further progress.

The pair had a complicated relationship during Trump’s four years as president.

Trump had called North Korea’s leader a “Little Rocket Man” and made threats of “fire and fury” but later suggested they were very good friends, and even described him as “a very smart guy,” according to the BBC.

“Trump Takes on the World,” directed by Tim Stirzaker, will be broadcast on BBC2 on Wednesday.

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says that Biden ‘has not spent a moment thinking about the color scheme of Air Force One’

Air Force One
Air Force One.

  • Jen Psaki said that President Biden has not spent time thinking about the color scheme of Air Force One.
  • Newer VC-25B planes will replace the current VC-25A planes that operate as Air Force One.
  • The current light blue color scheme was designed by John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that President Joe Biden has not spent time thinking about the color scheme of Air Force One.

The color scheme of the VC-25B, which will replace the current VC-25A planes that operate as Air Force One, had been a pet project of former President Donald Trump, who wanted to change the light blue color scheme with a red, white, and blue scheme.

 

“We are certainly aware of the White House military unit’s proposal that has been submitted to them about reconsidering the color scheme of Air Force One,” Psaki said during a press briefing. “I can confirm for you here that the President has not spent a moment thinking about the color scheme of Air Force One or anything in the house or any article of anything.”

Read more: The ultimate guide to Biden’s White House staff

She added: “No one is going to submit a decision memo to him on that particular topic, but certainly we’re aware of the proposal, and as there are any updates, we’re happy to provide them to you.”

Last February, the Air Force asked for $800.9 million for the current fiscal year to remove the old planes for the new VC-25B planes.

The current color scheme was designed by President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

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Trump is planning to sneak away to Florida instead of attending the Biden inauguration, FAA data reveals

trump air force one
President Donald Trump boarding Air Force One.

  • President Donald Trump appears to be heading south to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida instead of attending Joe Biden’s inauguration. 
  • The Federal Aviation Administration issued temporary flight restrictions over the private club for January 20, indicating the president’s arrival.
  • One of Trump’s final tweets confirmed suspicions that he wouldn’t be at the Biden inauguration. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump appears to be traveling to a warmer climate instead of attending the inauguration of Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Flight restrictions were just issued for the skies above Palm Beach, Florida by the Federal Aviation Administration for January 20, indicating the president will head south on his last day in office and skip the traditional Capitol send-off by choppering out of Washington on Marine One. 

Palm Beach is home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago private club; it’s become the winter White House during his administration – and his frequent retreat spot. Trump has spent 133 days at the club, according to an NBC News tracker, and has held summits there with world leaders there including Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump changed his address to Palm Beach in October 2019, the New York Times reported, and is said to be moving there permanently following his time in office

Read more: GOP kicks Trump to curb after deadly Capitol insurrection, leaving the president to fend for himself during his historic 2nd impeachment

The move is in line with one of the president’s final tweets from his personal Twitter account, where he stated in no uncertain terms that he would not be attending Biden’s inauguration. 

“To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,” Trump said in a now-hidden tweet. (Twitter suspended the president’s personal account on January 8 after the Capitol riots.)

The White House did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for confirmation of the president’s travel plans.

Protecting the president while traveling

The FAA issues what it calls temporary flight restrictions whenever the president and vice president leave Washington. Pilots are typically not allowed to fly within a few miles of the president’s location without authorization when the restrictions are in place. 

The new restrictions start at 10:45 a.m. on January 20, at which point pilots won’t be able to fly within 10 nautical miles and 18,000 feet of Palm Beach International Airport. The restrictions will expire at noon, when the president’s term ends. Mar-a-Lago sits mere feet from the approach path to the airport’s easterly runways. 

A separate flight restriction was issued for the skies directly above Mar-a-Lago, but they’re less stringent. From 11:30 a.m. on January 20 until 12:30 p.m. on January 21, pilots won’t be able to fly within 3 nautical miles and 3,000 feet of the club.

Local flight schools near Palm Beach have been languishing under the presidential airspace restrictions as general aviation aircraft on training flights are typically prohibited from operating within the restricted airspace or departing from airports below. Flight schools lose an estimated $30,000 on weekends when President Trump visits and $50,000 on long weekends, according to the Aircraft Owner’s and Pilot’s Association. 

Trump’s visits to Palm Beach became so frequent that the federal government began reimbursing flight schools for lost revenue. Aid in the amount of $3.5 million was included in a 2019 spending bill for general aviation operators affected by the president’s travels.

Trump has rarely left the White House in January, barring a few trips to Georgia on the campaign trail for Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, and a final visit to Texas.  A rare weekend trip to Camp David was planned for just two days after the US Capitol Building riots, a White House official confirmed to Insider, but the trip was later scrubbed. 

And while the transition of power will be peaceful, the president may not be going silently aboard Air Force One into his post-political life. A departure ceremony is reportedly being planned at Andrews Air Force Base for Trump, according to USA Today, with as much pomp and circumstance as the series finale of a television show. 

A color guard and 21-gun salute are on the agenda, USA Today reported.

Vice President Mike Pence, who had sparred with Trump in the days surrounding the Electoral College certification, is said to be attending the inauguration

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