The Flying White House

Presidential airplanes, past and present.

(U.S. Air Force / NASM)

September 11, 2001

(White House photo by Eric Draper)

President George W. Bush was in Sarasota, Florida, on the morning of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He was moved to Air Force One as quickly as possible, flown to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, then on to Offutt AFB in Nebraska, before making the final leg to Andrews AFB in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. F-16s provided escort. Von Hardesty writes in Air Force One: The Aircraft that Shaped the Modern Presidency, “Not since the assassination of John F. Kennedy had Air Force One been center stage in a national tragedy…. The delays and the peculiar flight path of Air Force One had reflected the extraordinary context of the day, a moment in time that the president himself described as the ‘fog’ of war.” In this image, Bush boards Air Force One in 2006, en route to Iraq.

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