Nat Geo Provides Unprecedented View of New Air Force VC-25B “Air Force One”.

Nat Geo premieres its new documentary, "The New Air Force One: Flying Fortress" today on their network. (Photo: via Nat Geo)

Never Before Seen Video Showcases Development of New “Air Force One”: Boeing 747-8 as VC-25B.

It is hidden behind what may be the tightest security screen on earth. It is the most visible mobile projection of the United States. The U.S. Air Force Boeing VC-25A heavy transport most commonly known as “Air Force One” (for its call sign when the President is on board) is perhaps the most recognizable military aircraft in the world. This contradiction between projecting visibility while maintaining security is one of the most difficult tactical problems to moderate for any security force in the world. The 30-year old Boeing VC-25A aircraft are currently being replaced by a new version of the Boeing 747-8 aircraft designated the “VC-25B”.

Nat Geo is releasing a new documentary today that provides an unprecedented look behind the scenes of USAF VC-25A operations and an insider’s look at the development of the impressive new VC-25B aircraft, the new “Air Force One”. The documentary also shows glimpses of the elite “Ravens” security force that secures the VC-25 transport.

Among the many remarkable insights of the documentary is the incredible degree of maintenance required to keep the existing 30-year old VC-25A aircraft looking absolutely pristine. A crew chief for the current VC-25A aircraft at Joint Base Andrews, where the two aircraft are based, mentions that maintaining the current VC-25A is, “Essentially like a classic car”. Flight crews for the present VC-25A also showcase the analog instruments of the aircraft and the challenges in sourcing maintenance parts for the plane.

Crew in the cockpit of Air Force One. (National Geographic/Scott Bateman)

These insights into current VC-25A operations provide a detailed backdrop to the introduction of the new, significantly improved, VC-25B. The documentary delves into excellent detail about the remarkable performance improvements of the new Air Force One VC-25B. These include the aircraft being the longest passenger aircraft in the world, and the fastest, even while maintaining improved short take-off and landing capability compared to the previous VC-25A. got a preview of the documentary before its release. But rather than tell you about all the fascinating and unique content of the film, it’s more relevant to report that this is one of the best aircraft documentaries this reporter has ever seen. Insights into the acquisition, renovation and introduction of the new VC-25B are completely unprecedented.

As is typical with Nat Geo’s documentary crew, the video and editing is flawless. But what makes this documentary so relevant is that it can be enjoyed by both devoted aircraft enthusiasts with an interest in technical details and also casual documentary fans.

Seeing Nat Geo’s new Documentary, “The New Air Force One: Flying Fortress” provides insights into the new aircraft that were previously impossible to experience. This wonderful behind-the-scenes access also inspires a new level of appreciation for this remarkable new aircraft and an overall appreciation of the U.S. Air Force Presidential Airlift Group. The new documentary premieres on the Nat Geo Channel on Monday, February 15, 2021 and can be found wherever you access the Nat Geo channel.

Air Force One gets a tire change. (National Geographic/Renegade Pictures)
About Tom Demerly
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on,, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.