Documentary unveils Air Force One’s 9-11 journey across the U.S., secret trip into Baghdad and Obama’s first flight

Last year, I published a series of articles about the 9-11 for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, that you can find here.

One of them was about the Air Force One and its journey across the U.S. on that day (beginning with no escort during the attacks, 11 fighters when the airspace was completely free of airliners).

Recently, I’ve found on Youtube an interesting documentary about the world’s most famous and heavily defended airplane.

The National Geographic documentary brings you on board the highly modified Boeing 747, designated VC-25 by the U.S. Air Force, showing not only the cockpit, but also the quite interesting comms bay.

Interestingly, the documentary recalls the 9-11 trip, providing some more interesting details about the flight, including some radio calls recorded on that day as the Air Force One wandered in the U.S. airspace unable to properly deal with the crisis.

“There were phones, but I couldn’t invite people. There were meetings, but it was difficult to get in. The equipment was as good as it could have been”, George W Bush says.

In other words, the AF1 was unable to interconnect its onboard systems in such a way to give the President the possibility to talk with his top councerlors.

Then the documentary explains how the POTUS’s secret flight into Baghdad was flown on the Thanksgiving Day, 2003, when the VC-25 carrying President Bush, pretending to be a Gulfstream, landed into Iraq, unannounced and unexpected.

Finally, the video also includes  footage of the eight-day tour through six countries in the Middle East in 2008 as well as President Obama’s first flight on Air Force One.

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.