Air Force One is a 231 feet 10 inches or 70.66 meters long modified Boeing 747-200 that’s used to carry the President of the United States.

Given this aircraft’s purpose and importance, it is one of the largest airplanes in the world, dwarfing most private planes and rivaling commercial ones.

Air Force One was heavily modified for Presidential use, and it contains a luxurious, expansive interior. 

How Big Air Force One is Compared to Other Planes

Air Force One is among the world’s largest planes, so it’s relatively bigger than most private planes and commercial airliners in terms of length, wingspan, and height. 

Air Force One vs Private Planes

Air Force One is considerably larger than most private planes. 

The Cessna Citation V

If we take the Cessna Citation V, which is a very popular private business jet, we can see that it’s much smaller than Air Force One (747-200).

  • Length

The Cessna Citation V has a length of 49 feet 2 inches or 15 meters, compared with the 231 feet 10 inches or 70.66 meters length of Air Force One (747-200).

  • Wingspan

Air Force One also has a larger wingspan of 195 feet 8 inches or 59.63 meters, compared with the 52 feet 6 inches or 16 meters wingspan of the Cessna Citation V. 

  • Height 

The Cessna Citation V stands at 4 feet 10 inches or 1.47 meters, compared to the 64 feet 6 inches or 19.35 meters height of the Air Force One.

Falcon 7x

The Falcon 7x is another popular private jet that’s bigger than the Cessna Citation V, but still smaller than Air Force One. 

  • Length 

The Falcon 7x is 76 feet 8 inches or 23.4 meters long, compared to the 231 feet 10 inches or 70.66 meters length of the Air Force One (747-200). 

  • Wingspan

The Falcon 7x has a wingspan of 19 feet 8 inches or 6 meters, which is small compared to Air Force One’s wingspan of 195 feet 8 inches or 59.63 meters. 

  • Height

The Falcon 7x stands at 26 feet 2 inches or 7.96 meters tall, compared with Air Force One’s height of  64 feet 6 inches or 19.35 meters

Air Force One vs Commercial Planes 

Air Force One is comparable in size to the largest commercial airliners. 

Boeing 747-8

The Boeing 747-8 is a commercial airliner that’s intended to be used as the next Air Force One. 

  • Length 

Air Force One is 231 feet 10 inches or 70.66 meters long, which is almost as long as the 250 feet 2 inches or 76.25 meters long of the 747-8.

  • Wingspan 

The Air Force One Boeing 747-200 is 195 feet 8 inches or 59.64 meters long, which is only slightly shorter than the 224 feet 5 inches or 68.40 meters long Boeing 747-8.

  • Height 

The Boeing 747-200 stands at 63 feet 5 inches or 19.33 meters high, which is about the same as the Boeing 747-8’s 64 feet 6 inches or 19.35 meters height.  

Airbus A380-800

The Airbus A380-800 is also one of the world’s largest commercial airplanes. 

  • Length 

The AirBus A380-800 is 238 feet 6 inches or 72.7 meters long, which is only slightly shorter than Air Force One’s length of 231 feet 10 inches or 70.66. 

  • Wingspan 

The AirBus A380-800 has a wingspan of 261 feet 9 inches or 79.8 meters, which exceeds Air Force One’s 231 feet 8 inches or 59.64 meters wingspan. 

  • Height

The A380-800 stands at 79 feet 1 inch or 24.1 meters tall, while a 747-200 is 64 feet 6 inches or 19.35 meters tall.

Air Force One Has a Huge Interior

Air Force has over 4,000 square feet of floor space, which contains an extensive suite of facilities, including a gym, conference room, and a large office.

The plane also has its own medical operating room with a doctor onboard.

The two onboard food preparation galleys are also large enough to feed over 100 passengers at a time.

Modifications Made to Air Force One

Boeing and the United States government has not officially released detailed information on all the modifications performed on the Boeing 747-200 to turn in into Air Force One.

Their existing statements only provide the following limited information. 

  • Boeing heavily modified the first 747-200 aircraft to prepare it for Air Force One.
  • The company began modifications by first removing the plane’s commercial interiors, its engines, and other systems.
  • They also replaced the aircraft’s skin and structures with ‘super panels’.
  • The modifications to the aircraft’s structure even included adding new door cutouts.
  • Boeing also installed electrical power upgrades, a medical facility, and other executive features for the President.
  • The Air Force reported that one of these upgrades included an autonomous ground operations system.
  • Lastly, Air Force One was painted red, white, and blue.

Related: Why is Air Force One Painted Blue?

Air Force One Can Stay in the Air for a Long Time

Without Refueling

The exact time that Air Force One can stay in the air is unknown, since that information is not publicly available.

But, since Air Force One is a modified Boeing 747-200, we can assume it’s likely to stay in the air for just as long.

The Boeing 747-200 can fly for a maximum time of 14 flight hours at cruising speed. So, Air Force One should be able to stay airborne for at least 14 flight hours.

According to Colonel Robert D. “Danny” Barr, who served under President George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, he once flew Air Force One for 14 hours and 45 minutes on a trip to Saudi Arabia.

With Refueling

As Air Force One can be refueled midair, technically it can stay in the air indefinitely.

However, in practice this would not work, as there are several limitations that would prevent this, including running out of food and water supplies, and the aircraft engine oil needing to be replaced every 50 hours

We can, therefore, estimate that Air Force One can realistically stay in the air for 2-3 days despite its capability of midair refueling.

Air Force One Doesn’t Have Any Weapons

Air Force One does not carry any weapons, according to the Defense Media Network, but the plane does have electronic jammers and flares.

The jammers and flares are used for diverting heat-seeking missiles.

Air Force One does not carry any other weapons since aerial weapons would only be effective in active combat, which Air Force One is not designed for.

So, there are no benefits in arming the plane.

In conclusion, Air Force One is a modified Boeing 747-200 with a length of 231 feet 10 inches or 70.66 meters, a wingspan of 195 feet 8 inches or 59.64 meters, and a height of 64 feet 6 inches or 19.35 meters tall.

Air Force One dwarfs over most private jets and rivals other commercial airliners.

Air Force One was very heavily modified for presidential use, and it contains an expansive interior of over 4,000 feet of floor space. 

Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.

Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.

Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.