First Look at 'The New Air Force One: Flying Fortress'

Nat Geo Channels' latest offers a look at some of the incredible engineering, communications and security going into the new fleet.

Nose of Air Force One.
Nose of Air Force One.
National Geographic/Renegade Pictures

Looking for an engineering spin on your President’s Day festivities? The National Geographic channel might have your answer with their latest feature documentary on the process of designing and developing the next generation of Air Force One.

Premiering February 15 at 10 pm EST/9 pm CST, the National Geographic channel will present The New Air Force One: Flying Fortress.

I was allowed a sneak peak of the show, and I have to admit that it was captivating.

The program offers a brief history on the Air Force One fleet before delving into the process of replacing the pair of 30-year-old jets currently serving the country, the President and his staff. Going into the show I probably echoed the sentiments of many taxpayers in raising a skeptical eyebrow on the $5 billion project.

However, after getting a look at how the leader of the most powerful nation in the world travels – I’d have to say that it is definitely time for an upgrade.

The most startling images have to be the analog gauges and cramped cockpit area currently in use, and how it will contrast to the next generation plane being developed. Equally eye-opening was the amount of wood paneling and furniture that is currently in place and how it will be updated with more modern equipment focused on helping the President to work and communicate more efficiently.

Aesthetics aside, the episode also discusses some of the real, and hypothetical defense systems that need to be in place to protect the President and all onboard. An inside look at how these systems are implemented, which includes removing and replacing one million feet of cable, and effectively putting a 350,000-pound fuselage on blocks, had me grinning in appreciation of the engineering involved.

After a month of silence, it was also interesting to see commentary from former President Donald Trump that did not pertain to the November election or January riots.

Overall, I found the program to be a nice compliment of personal stories from former Presidents and those onboard, and the daunting engineering process that retrofitting these 747-8s present. Definitely worth checking out or adding to the queue.

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