On Tuesday, Donald Trump Twitter-suggested that the government cancel its contract for new presidential aircraft from Boeing. One can't help but think that -- perhaps subconsciously, perhaps not -- Trump is entertaining the idea of continuing to use his existing plane, at least every once in a while. There are good reasons he'd want to, as we found when we compared the two planes in Sep. 2015.
There is only one candidate for president who already has access to most of the accoutrements of the office. Fabulous, expansive home? Donald Trump has it, atop Manhattan's Trump Tower. A helicopter or snazzy motorcade to shuttle him around? Got that, too. Access to his own golf course, whenever he wants? Sure, take your pick.
And then there's the plane. Paul Solotaroff's excellent Rolling Stone profile of Trump starts off on what we'll call "Trump Force One," the 757 Trump bought from Microsoft mogul Paul Allen and refitted with plenty of gold plating and Trump family crests. Trump bragged to Solotaroff about the accommodations.
"It's bigger than Air Force One," Trump told Solotaroff, "which is a step down from this in every way. Rolls-Royce engines; seats 43. Didja know it was featured on the Discovery Channel as the world's most luxurious jetliner?"
Solotaroff is quick to point out that Trump's plane is, in fact, not bigger than Air Force One (and that it was not on the Discovery Channel, but on the Smithsonian Channel). But we thought this was worth exploring, given that Trump might need to pick between the two in several months.
So which is the better plane, Air Force One or Trump Force One?
Winner: Air Force One
As noted above, Air Force One, a modified Boeing 747-200, is indeed larger than Trump Force One, a 757-200 with winglets. We grabbed schematics from Boeing to compare the two. Air Force One is wider, longer, taller.
Speed and range
Winner: Air Force One
When it comes to service as a means of getting from point A (LaGuardia) to point B (Des Moines, Iowa), Air Force One is better, too. Better numbers are in bold below.
|Air Force One||Trump Force One|
|Top speed||0.92 Mach||0.86 Mach|
|Cruising speed||0.84 Mach||0.80 Mach|
|Range||6,800 nm||4,100 nm|
When you're trying to get from Andrews Air Force Base to Bagram in a hurry, speed and range matter.
Winner: Trump Force One
This is perhaps a bit subjective. But, look: Air Force One, for all of its elegance, is utilitarian, in much the same way that the White House is utilitarian. There's stuff on Air Force One that Trump doesn't need, like seating for members of the media. Air Force One seats 70 people, to Trump's 43. It's a bigger plane, of course, but it's also because it has to schlep around people that Trump's does not.
What's more, Trump can invest in touches at which taxpayers might balk. Trump's plane has a movie theater! The president's plane, it seems, does not. It does have a conference room -- but so does Trump Force One.
But videos speak 29,970 words per second. So let's compare the two via video tour, shall we?
Here's Air Force One:
And here's Trump's:
The president's plane has a hospital on-board, for obvious reasons, but that's not exactly "fancy."
Winner: Donald Trump
Look, we're at the point of comparing one giant, customized luxury jet to another. This is like assessing a person who's trying to decide which Bentley to buy at a dealership outside of London. Whichever car he buys, he's probably doing alright.
And it suggests a possible campaign plank for Trump: Donald Trump, the guy who will decrease the national debt by selling Air Force One, Marine One, the presidential motorcade and, heck, the White House. After all, who needs 'em?