Is it 'Air Force One' even if you're a deceased President?
January 2, 2007 12:17 PM   Subscribe

I know ex-Presidents of the USA are still referred to as 'President' (presumably a courtesy term), so would a plane carrying a deceased ex-president still be referred to as 'Air Force One'?
posted by timpollard to Travel & Transportation (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
No.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:22 PM on January 2, 2007


No, even a plane carrying a living ex-president is not called Air Force One.

The plane carrying Nixon actually changed its call sign mid-flight when he resigned from office.
posted by justkevin at 12:24 PM on January 2, 2007


No, Air Force One carries the sitting President. That's why teh jet designated "Air Force One" and carrying Richard Nixon to Yorba Linda, changed its call sign in mid-flight when Nixon's resignation became effective.
posted by orthogonality at 12:24 PM on January 2, 2007


No, unless the sitting President is also on-board. Air Force One is the designated call-sign of whatever plane happens to be carrying the (current) President. When GW landed the fighter on the carrier deck, that plane was Air Force One.
posted by FYKshun at 12:25 PM on January 2, 2007


FYK's post raises an interesting point. If the plane carrying the president is Air Force One, and a helicoptor carrying the president is Marine One, what is the ship that carries the president like the carrier he landed on?
posted by Thrillhouse at 12:29 PM on January 2, 2007


FYKshun writes "When GW landed the fighter on the carrier deck, that plane was Air Force One."

That was a Navy plane, and thus "Navy One". And Bush didn't pilot it.
posted by orthogonality at 12:30 PM on January 2, 2007


Trivia: A private plane that is carrying the president is referred to as Executive One.
posted by dcjd at 12:31 PM on January 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


Many thanks, I appreciate all your answers!
posted by timpollard at 12:35 PM on January 2, 2007


The big jet you're used to thinking of as "Air Force One" is also used by the Secretary of State on those big multi-nation tours. When it's SecState being carried, it isn't referred to as "Air Force One".
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:07 PM on January 2, 2007


And don't forget about Marine One: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_One
posted by blaneyphoto at 2:12 PM on January 2, 2007


And, finally, if a private aircraft is carrying members of the President's family, but not the president, it can be called Executive One Foxtrot. FAA. And this CBS News link quotes the book Air Force One on the Nixon bit:
[...]he was still president as the door of the plane closed, and because any plane on which the president rides carries the call sign Air Force One, it was Air Force One that ground controllers cleared for takeoff.

But several hours later, as the plane flew west and noon approached, Nixon’s pilot, Colonel Ralph Albertazzie, radioed the Kansas City Regional Flight Control Center and requested that his call sign be changed from Air Force One to SAM (Special Air Mission) 26000. At precisely the same time back in Washington, Gerald Ford was sworn in as the nation’s first unelected president.
posted by baylink at 2:28 PM on January 2, 2007


Actually, a former president is not supposed to continue using the title "President" after leaving office. (citation: Miss Manners)

Holders of unique titles, such as President and Vice President, are supposed to revert to the highest non-unique title they had held. That's why Harry Truman went by Senator Truman after leaving office and Dwight Eisenhower reverted to General Eisenhower. Only in very recent years have former presidents (and the media) begun to ignore longstanding protocol and use the term "President" to describe someone other than the person currently holding that office. But it's still considered improper to do so.
posted by decathecting at 2:44 PM on January 2, 2007


Off-topic Point of Order. Someone mentioned, "Gerald Ford was sworn in as the nation’s first unelected president"

According to the words you used, that is not true.

I'm sure you meant to say "Gerald Ford was sworn in as the nation’s first president unelected to either the office of president or vice president during a national election"

John Tyler was the first president sworn into office (upon the death in office of William Henry Harrison) who was not elected to the office of president, therefore during that term an "unelected president". He was, however, an elected (in a national election) to the office of vice president.

Also, Gerald Ford was "elected" in a sense by representatives of the American people through the "advice and consent" of congress.

(not trying to start a flame war or anything :-)
posted by sandra_s at 2:56 PM on January 2, 2007


Continuing the derail (the subject of which has long fascinated me for some reason), there's also an Army One, which was much more common before the Marines were given sole Presidential helicopter duty. In the event that a President were to ever fly on a Coast Guard aircraft, it would be called Coast Guard One.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 4:38 PM on January 2, 2007


For a similar discussion -- check out this prior MeTa thread.
posted by ericb at 4:52 PM on January 2, 2007


I know ex-Presidents of the USA are still referred to as 'President' (presumably a courtesy term)

Interestingly, in Australia I've always heard "Former President Bill Clinton" etc... Can anyone enlighten me on when the term president is used to address these previous presidents?
posted by ranglin at 5:46 PM on January 2, 2007


Can anyone enlighten me on when the term president is used to address these previous presidents?

The term is used when addressing the former president in person and is an honorary title. As an example, if you were to meet a former president in a darkened alley in a shady part of town, you would refer to him as "Mr. President," or "President Clinton." Not, under any circumstances, would you call him "Bill," or "Mr. C." However, as with all titles, once you have gained a certain level of intimacy with that person, you can forego the title. It all depends on how familiar you are with Mr. President.
posted by fatbobsmith at 5:58 PM on January 2, 2007


IIRC, when Air Force One is being used to transport a former President, it carries the name "Special Air Mission 28000" (which is the tail # of the current AF1).
posted by davidmsc at 6:41 PM on January 2, 2007


Actually, fatbobsmith, if Miss Manners (by way of decathecting's comment above) is to be believed, you should call him Governor Clinton...
posted by SuperNova at 11:23 PM on January 2, 2007


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