‘Air Force One’ Photo Shoot Panics New Yorkers

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time. But a half-hour aerial photo shoot involving one of the presidential Boeing 747s turned out to be anything but. Aircraft are given the ATC call sign 'Air Force One' when the President is on board, but the specially equipped 747, itself, is commonly referred to as Air Force One. In a planned photo mission, the Boeing flew low over the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor early Monday morning, with a pair of F-16 fighters for escort. Residents and office workers fled from their buildings for fear they were targeted in a repeat of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The director of the White House military office said the mission had been kept quiet-presumably for security reasons. Even New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was unaware of the plans ahead of time. A few hours after the incident, Director Louis Caldera accepted the blame, saying, "It's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. I apologize and take responsibility for any distress that flight caused." Reportedly, President Barack Obama was "furious" when told of the incident after the fact.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get the latest FLYING stories delivered directly to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter