A pair of empty tequila bottles were spotted on a Boeing 747 this month. While this doesn’t sound like an unusual occurrence, the widebody that these bottles were found on was one of the new Air Force One planes that Boeing is working on.
The United States Air Force (USAF) has ordered two Boeing 747-8 units to replace the customized Boeing 747-200Bs that are currently in action. The new presidential plane will hold the designation VC-25B and will take over the role of VC-25A.
Even though it will be some time before the new aircraft enter service, there has already been an interesting occurrence on one of the planes. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has shared that an investigation has been launched following the finding of miniature tequila bottles on the unit.
Since the plane will act as the next Air Force One, carrying the commander-in-chief of the US, the program is a highly classified operation. Therefore, those working on the aircraft need special security clearances. Moreover, alcohol isn’t allowed at any of Boeing’s facilities. Therefore, the manufacturer is taking the situation very seriously. WSJ adds a Boeing spokesperson shared that the event is a personnel matter.
There have been high hopes for the $3.9 billion program. Boeing and officials are looking to bring state-of-the-art capabilities with the new jets. Altogether, the new aircraft will have better range, speed, maximum takeoff weight, wingspan, and length than the current 747s serving the president.
“Known everywhere by the call sign “Air Force One” when the President is on board, the VC-25B will ensure safe, secure, worldwide transport of the President. While airborne the President can execute the duties of Commander in Chief, Head of State, and Chief Executive. The program is managed by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Presidential & Executive Airlift Directorate,” the USAF shares.
“The VC-25B modifications to the 747-8 aircraft will include electrical power upgrades, a mission communication system, a medical facility, executive interior, and autonomous ground operations capabilities. The work is being performed at a Boeing facility in San Antonio, Texas.”
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We may have to wait
The new Air Force One was expected to enter service in 2024. However, the complications of the pandemic may push back the introduction to a year later, and over $500 million in additional public funds may be needed. Both Boeing and the Air Force will be hoping for fewer complications overall in this next stage of the aircraft’s development.
Simple Flying reached out to Boeing for comment on the report regarding the 747. We will update the article with any further announcements from the manufacturer.
What are your thoughts about tequila bottles found on the new Air Force One that is in development? What do you make of the overall situation? Let us know what you think in the comment section.