6. Rear of the Aircraft

This angle — it’s one of my favorite views of the aircraft.

The wingspan is almost 200 feet across. Six stories high. The 747 was a marvel when it was developed in the 1960s.

Now we call this Air Force One, but technically, the call signal Air Force One refers to any plane the president is on. It just so happens he’s usually on these planes — so we just refer to these as Air Force One to keep it simple. There’s a tradition that, after the inaugurations of a new president, the plane is used to bring the outgoing president home. But the plane doesn’t use the call signal Air Force One - because the person on board is no longer president.

And Air Force One has also carried the bodies of our deceased presidents — on one final ride — to their place of rest. President Kennedy after his assassination. President Lyndon Johnson. President Ford. When the plane transported the body of President Reagan to the state funeral in 2004, the crew decorated the cabin the way it looked when Reagan was president — “to make him feel at home”.

Colonel Mark Tillman, the pilot for President George W. Bush, said, "We take care of the president from when he's in office to when he lays in state.”

Now we’re going to walk forward, and to the right. See the NASA stair truck over there? Meet me over there.