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Old 13th Oct 2014, 22:49
  #21135 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: US
Posts: 78
I'm bothered that the tax payers pay all that money for "official" Presidential travel when the primary purpose of the taxpayer supported visit is to collect money for a political party, but that's the way it is.
I don't know how it is done now, but before 2008 when I was still working, there were portions of the travel costs billed to the Dems/Repubs committee who were using AF1 or other of the smaller planes for fund raising. Of course military salaries weren't included, as they are operated by active duty personnel.

The charge for reporters traveling aboard the press plane that went with it OR on AF1 itself were extremely costly. I used to have to cut the checks. But news people paid their way, which, considering the plane was going ANYWAY, helped offset taxpayer costs.

By far and away, the most "abusive" uses of the air command at Andrews were by congressmen and senators. And some members of the cabinet. Any AF1 of AF2 trips paled by comparison to what they got up to. A reporter where I worked years ago did a FOIA on the flights that were not classified (like that white jet with no markings that always sat on the Tarmac at Andrews that everybody called "that CIA plane.") hahaha

He found the Hill were using the smaller jets like personal taxis essentially. And a close personal family friend back in the '90s was the captain of AF1. I loved the guy. He was absolutely undaunted as the commander of the aircraft to go back and confront a president if they were doing something he found unacceptable to his crew. And did a few times! That's what you can do when you are retiring soon, ha.

The nature of the beast means that wherever they go, air space chaos ensues. Several miles of clear airspace has to be open around AF1 at all times in the air. And they have multiple armed fighter jets with them in the air riding shotgun on all sides at all times. ATC's have to jump through hoops to make this thing work at massively busy international airports. It always delays the traveling folks big time.
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