|Boeing 747-8: taxi for Da Prez!|
But I digress…or should that be "digressify"?
Boeing's been building the Prez's planes for around 50 years, so naturally is rather pleased it's got the contract for the next one. Opps, make that the next TWO, coz the USAF operates two VC-25s, specially-tweeked Boeing 747-200Bs, with lotsa anti-missile and anti-detection systems (plus, if you believe the movies, a presidential escape pod too). However the exact details about the new contract, including cost, won't be released.
The Air Force decision was a no-brainer really: the only other suitable four-engine jet is the A380 built by Airbus in France…and with the US xenophobia, who'd eat French Fries when you can enjoy Freedom Fries instead!
The double-decker entered service in 1970, and had a major overhaul in 2012 with new engines and a longer fuselage. But last year, Boeing didn't get any 747 orders, despite a record 1,432 net orders for commercial aircraft. The 747-8 is the only four-engine commercial jet Boeing makes, providing an extra margin of flight safety over the more standard twin-engine planes.
It also has a hefty pricetag of US$370m (NZ$511m) each, and that's WITHOUT including all the presidential extras. But hey, when the US taxpayer's forking out for it, who cares, right?