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Guest jabberthecat

OT - Air Force 1 spotted by British Airways pilot - question...

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From some reports a British Airways pilot asked whether he had justseen AF1. AF1 responded, "No, we are a Gulf Stream 5". British replied "Oh" ( apparently knowingly ended the inquiry ).So...where could this have happened ? leaving the east coast of the US ?And do you think that the AF1 pilot instinctvly knew to claim he was a plane that couldn't have been mistaken with a 747 so as to signal the British pilot to clam up?Pretty facinating from a flight logistics standpoint.- Myles

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I would agree ATC wouldn't confirm AF1. Below is one description I found...I am curious where in the flight AF1 would have been within visual distance to a BA airliner. And did the BA pilot know to keep quite as soon as he essentially told he didn't "see" what he "saw" or did he just second quess himself?- Myles"At one point during the 10-1/2-hour flight, the stealth mission was almost revealed when the pilot of a British Airways jetliner spotted the presidential plane with its distinctive blue and gold paint design. On the open radio, the pilot asked, "Did I just see Air Force One?" After moments of silence, the Air Force One pilot responded over the radio by identifying himself as a much smaller aircraft: "Gulf Stream Five." "Oh," replied the British pilot, who apparently decided to bite his tongue. "Here is another one ... "BAGHDAD, Nov. 27 -- As Air Force One headed under a false call sign for its unannounced landing in Iraq on Thursday, the Boeing 747 passed within sight of a British Airways pilot who radioed, "Did I just see Air Force One?" "Gulfstream 5," replied Bush's pilot, Col. Mark Tillman. As one of Bush's aides recounted, the British Airways pilot seemed to sense that he was in on a secret and replied archly, "Oh." "

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The flight in question was Pres. Bush's secrect thanksgivings day visit to the troops in baghdad. At the time of departure, this trip was only known to a few people that needed to know. His parents didn't even know he was going, they showed up at the white house for thanksgiving dinner only to find him gone. The pilots could not let anyone know who they really were because of extremly high risk destination so their only option was to distract the BA pilots by stating their false callsign in hope that the BA pilots would catch on not to say anything. To show further that this trip was top secret, upon arrival into baghdad airport the tower didn't even know it was AF1 coming and the AF1 crew made the approach and landing without any lights on so that ground attacks would be voided. Also the troops that he had dinner with were shocked to see Pres. Bush standing in front of their eyes because NO ONE knew about the trip. This was the first time a US president has been inside Iraq.

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Just to clear this up: `Air Force One` is ANY US Air Force aircraft that is carrying the US President. The callsign applies from the moment he steps aboard to the moment he leaves. It's not applied to an individual aircraft.Same thing applies to Royal Flight aircraft for the Queen and members of the Royal Family here in the UK. Not sure whether the Prime Minister gets that distinction of a specific callsign.Allcott

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Allcott, to add to what you are saying, and you are correct, "Marine 1" is his Helicopter, used to fly in and out of the white house, Obviously it's designated "Marine 1" Because it's a USMC Aircraft.

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Thanks for that. Out of interest, does the same thing apply to the US Navy?Navy One?Allcott

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As a lowly PPL, if you make a radio call and falsify your callsign, of which a/c type is a part, then you are breaking the rules. Though, I guess when you`re the President you can change the rules! At least Bush had the b0110cks to go to Iraq, considering his usual trick of scampering away to hide at Offutt AFB when the going gets interesting, although a choreographed chest-puffing excercise doesn`t really let him get to see how much the average "liberated" local hates his guts!Oops, politics.

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Allcott, I'd assume so. Perhaps NAVY 1 was the callsign he used when He landed on that carrier to announce the end of the war. (Sounds funny, but It's not a joke)Can anyone confirm/correct?

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Yes that is correct, it was designated Navy 1. Any US military aircraft he is on get the desiganation "1". If he flys on an Army UH60 for example, it would be Army 1 etc, etc.....

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Any airplane with the President in it is designated as the respective service's "One". So if he flies on an Army Helicopter or aircraft, it becomes "ARMY 1", if he's on a Coast Guard aircraft it becomes "COAST GUARD 1", and it even applies to other government agencies like NASA and US Customs. Even though NASA, the Coast Guard, and US Customs all have a plane already designated as their "One" bird.

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The most important thing to rememember that the use of this call sign is NOT required. It is used for flight safety, and sometimes using the "fill-in-the-blank ONE" callsign would not be on the best side of safety.Like this particular trip, and if say he was somewhere and needed to be imediatly evacuated, and he hops on his shiny white unmarked VC-37(Gulfstream V) thats hidden off in a hangar at a different airport than the VC-25 is at, I dought seriously that "Air Force One" would be used.Also, since "Air Force One" was not the callsign used on the this trip, answering yes to the BA pilot would be falsifing a callsign.

:-outta

There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness".- unknown
"My daddy gives me up, to fight for you"- a US Military Members Child

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As an aside on this, the habit has spread. The actual 747 that was shot down by the Soviet AF as KAL007 was specially equipped with additional radio and nav equipment, and often served as "KAF-1". (Korea does not have a 'dedicated' KAF-1) Capt Chon, in fact, was also a KAFR Colonel who was the 'first choice' pilot of the same plane when it flew as KAF-1. (KAF-1 pilots are almost always reservists, as regular KAF officers don't get much 747 experience)Richard

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Good point Super Bee, if he wasn`t using the AF1 callsign then yes, he would be lying if he identified himself as AF1. Presumably though the flight did have a callsign of some description, at least for the international parts of the flight?

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When Bush landed in a Navy S-3 Viking on an aircraft carrier earlier in the year, that aircrafts callsign was indeed "Navy 1". Eric

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>>At least Bush had the b0110cks to go to Iraq, considering his>usual trick of scampering away to hide at Offutt AFB when the>going gets interesting, although a choreographed chest-puffing>excercise doesn`t really let him get to see how much the>average "liberated" local hates his guts!>>Oops, politics. Yeh I think he also had the gutts or b011ocks, to join the army when it was his turn ooops more politics :-)

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Wouldn't have a clue as to what actual callsign used, but I would bet going to Baghdad in a VC-25(B742) They probably used the a call sign used by the normal USAF trash haulers going into there. That way if anyone listening to traffic wouldn't be the wiser. "Ahh, just another C-5". I can't remember for sure but Navy aircraft in transent from Japan to Diego Garcia normally use a set callsign word and the number used would be the aircraft of the day. IE first aircraft would be "callsign-1", second would be "callsign-2" etc... Not sure if Air Force uses same callsign or not. What I can't remember, if there was a "set" callsign going from Dodge(Diego) up into the Gulf.

:-outta

There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness".- unknown
"My daddy gives me up, to fight for you"- a US Military Members Child

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That would make a lot of sense, fit into to all the routine traffic. That must have been one hell of a security exercise, all in. A stressful day at the office for the bodyguards..Cheers

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Yeah right!Quote :"Two weeks before he was to graduate from Yale, George Walker Bush stepped into the offices of the Texas Air National Guard at Ellington Field outside Houston and announced that he wanted to sign up for pilot training.It was May 27, 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War. Bush was 12 days away from losing his student deferment from the draft at a time when Americans were dying in combat at the rate of 350 a week. The unit Bush wanted to join offered him the chance to fulfill his military commitment at a base in Texas. It was seen as an escape route from Vietnam by many men his age, and usually had a long waiting list.Bush had scored only 25 percent on a "pilot aptitude" test, the lowest acceptable grade. But his father was then a congressman from Houston, and the commanders of the Texas Guard clearly had an appreciation of politics."

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Hi GuysQuite some interesting observations here. ButYou all seemed to miss the most obvious one and that is without any prompting whatsoever the British Pilot of possibly the worlds greatest airline British Airways maintained the security of the President (possibly the most powerful man in the world) without missing a beat.I would say that was just damn cool British reserve and common sense on his part.A colleague of mine, whose Father was a BA Capt and first pilot on 767's and 747's often would need to show discretion on similar incidents. It's all down to training and jolly good manners, and a modicum of common sense in situations that need a clear head.Ta taWycliffe

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LOL!"...the British Pilot of possibly the worlds greatest airline British Airways..."with the accent on possibly I hope? great pilots cr*p airline.Would rather fly Virgin/BMI/Quesyjet anyday!Ooops Anorak.:-)Adam

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When flying on a civilian aircraft, the callsign is "Executive One". Not sure about the Customs/CG/NASA, they might be operating under Executive One also.

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Just for the record, most Air Force trash haulers use the callsign "Reach _".

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After a bit of research..There are 2 VC-25B's assigned to the Presiential unit (the only ones) the rest of the fleet consists of 757's and Gulfstreams. I can only imagine the commo gear (Truly the best of the best) and possible countermeasures. Having been near another head of state's aircraft, I can say that military jets are seldom as well prepared as these are.They are not the only 747's equipped for aerial refueling. There are a few others- NEACAP jets.The call signs of the VC-25's are SAM 28000 and SAM 29000 (their tail numbers), copied from the VC-137's of their predecessors.I did not know this:"Convinced that the new aircraft needed a distinctive look, President Kennedy commissioned noted designer Raymond Loewy to come up with a new design. The result was a striking blue and white color scheme that has more or less carried to this day. "United States of America" was emblazoned on the side of the fuselage, an American flag was painted on the tail, and because this would be the president's aircraft, a presidential seal was added on both sides of the nose"As a piece of trivia: Did you know that there has been one flight where Air Force One did not land as AF1? It's when Nixon resigned and LBJ was sworn in while Nixon was in flight to California. It's the only time that that call sign has changed in flight.Theay are also the only 747's with integrated airstairs.Tim

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