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It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
The base of the stairs of Air Force One as US President Barack Obama arrived at Ruzyne Airport in Prague in 2010. (Photo: The White House)


Taxpayers fork over $206,337 every hour the world’s most famous plane is in flight, according to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) letter obtained by the nonprofit Judicial Watch.

Also Read: 11 Killer Photos Of Jets In Full Afterburner

The FY15 cost per flying hour for Air Force One (VC-25A) includes “fuel, flight consumables, depot level repairables, aircraft overhaul, and engine overhaul,” according to the letter from the Department of the Air Force Headquarters Air Mobility Command to Judicial Watch.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Obama with members of Congress on Air Force One after he spoke at an AMA conference in Chicago in 2009 (Photo: The White House)

According to the National Taxpayer Union Foundation, President Barack Obama has traveled internationally more than any other president, and he has done it on the “most expensive-to-operate Air Force One to date.”

Here are some examples from Judicial Watch:

 • Flights for Obama’s 2014 Labor Day weekend fundraising trips to Westchester, New York, and Providence, Rhode Island, cost taxpayers $527,192.50

 • Transportation for Obama’s round-trip flight from Washington, D.C., to Westchester, New York, to attend a wedding cost taxpayers $358,490.90

 • The flight for Obama’s trip to Milwaukee to speak at “Laborfest 2014” cost taxpayers $653,718.70

 • Obama’s June 17-19, 2013, trip to Belfast, Ireland, including a Dublin sightseeing side trip by Michelle Obama, her daughters, and her entourage, cost taxpayers $7,921,638.66

Within the US, Obama has visited all but three states during his presidency. According to The Washington Post, former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush were the only two presidents to visit all 50 states in the past 38 years.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Obama with the Congressional delegation aboard Air Force One in 2009, during a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad, to Andrews AFB. (Photo: The White House)

The three-leveled “flying Oval Office” has 4,000 square feet of interior floor space and boasts a conference room, a dining room, a private quarters for the president, offices for senior staff members, a medical operating room (a doctor flies on every flight), a press area, two food-preparation galleys that can provide 100 meals, and multifrequency radios for air-to-air and air-to-ground communication, according to the aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Obama on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aboard Air Force One en route to New Orleans in 2013. (Photo: The White House)

According to the White House, the retrofitted Boeing 747 can fly 6,205 miles from Washington, D.C., to Baghdad without stopping for fuel. The plane can also be refueled while in flight in case of an emergency, The Post reports.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Air Force One before leaving Cleveland for Philadelphia in 2013. (Photo: The White House)

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This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Articles

Trust For Brian Williams Has Completely Crashed

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons


Trust for Brian Williams, the most popular news anchor in America, has plummeted in one week after he admitted to embellishing a story from his war coverage.

Williams, who anchors “NBC Nightly News,” went from being the 23rd-most-trusted person in America a little over a week ago to falling to the 835th spot, The New York Times reports.

The list comes from the Marketing Arm, a research firm that creates a celebrity index for advertisers and media and marketing executives.

Before Williams admitted that he misrepresented an incident in which a helicopter ahead of his was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while he was in Iraq covering the invasion in 2003, his trustworthiness was on par with that of Denzel Washington, Warren Buffett, and Robin Roberts, according to The Times.

Now he’s on the level of Willie Robertson from “Duck Dynasty,” a reality show that drew criticism after the family patriarch, Phil Robertson, made derogatory comments about homosexuals.

Williams has recounted the Iraq story several times over the past 12 years and has embellished his role in the incident over time. His coverage of Hurricane Katrina has also been called into question. In fact, NBC executives were reportedly warned that Williams was known to embellish stories.

Earlier this month, Williams said on NBC that the helicopter he was flying in was “was forced down after being hit by an RPG.” Crew members who were on the helicopter that was actually hit by a rocket-propelled grenade then came forward to say Williams was on another helicopter that arrived at the site later.

Whether Williams’ helicopter was hit with small-arms fire (as opposed to an RPG) is in some dispute.

Williams announced over the weekend that he would step down from anchoring “NBC Nightly News” for “several days” in light of the fallout over this story. NBC is now conducting an internal investigation into what happened.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Copyright 2015. Follow BI on Twitter.

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Army vet uses Tumblr to show civilians the realities of war

After touring Iraq, Army vet Casey Tylek created a Tumblr blog that helps veterans during the transition to civilian life.


Tylek told Buzzfeed he was inspired to begin the page, called justWarthings, after feeling disconnected from his peers at University of Masssachusettes, Amherst because of his military experience.

justWarthings is modeled after the viral internet page justgirlythings, another Tumblr blog that uses stock photos and overlay text to communicate themes that are supposedly universal to teenage girls.

Tylek juxtaposes these images with photos of servicemen and women serving overseas, and the results are sometimes hilarious, but more often sobering.

Here are some images from justWarthings that were featured in a YouTube video from servicegirl94:

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo: YouTube

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo: YouTube

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo: YouTube

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo: YouTube

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo: YouTube

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo: YouTube

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo: YouTube

For more of Tylek’s work, check out justWarthings

For the YouTube video, check out Soldier’s Tribute

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OR: Brad Pitt is starring as Gen. Stanley McChrystal in ‘War Machine’

Intel

Watch Stephen Colbert’s Hilarious Stint In Army Basic Training

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One


Remember that time Stephen Colbert tried going through Army basic training?

The comedian and star of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report” ends his nine-year run on Thursday, so we figured it was a good time to look back at one of his more memorable segments: “Stephen Strong – Army of Me.”

Also Read: Trust For Brian Williams Has Completely Crashed

“No special treatment, just like any other recruit,” Colbert says in the hilarious clip, hopping out of a limo and sporting a red tracksuit. He is, of course, greeted by a drill sergeant who starts screaming at him and takes him through various physical exercises.

There were plenty of wonderful questions from the private-for-a-day:

— “I’m here for the Army. Is this the Army?”

— “I have a question about tanks. Do they have bathrooms in there, or do you just pee out the barrel?”

— “Permission to go AWOL?”

Watch the clip:

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OR WATCH: 5 Times When Jon Stewart Made A Difference For America’s Veterans  

Intel

Mids Give A Ship In The Latest Army-Navy Game Spirit Video

The ever-creative Midshipman Third Class Rylan Tuohy is at it again with his latest Army-Navy game spirit video. Navy gives a ship. Get it?


The Army-Navy game will be played at MT Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday, December 13 at 3:00 PM eastern time.  CBS is covering the game.

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Intel

Here’s how the Air Force would defend against Godzilla

If Godzilla actually existed and was bent on raising havoc, the Air Force’s 18th Wing out of Kadena Air Base thinks it’ll beat the 350-foot-tall monster.


But how do you defeat a monster that has withstood depth bombs, 50-caliber machine guns, 300,000 volts of electricity, Howitzer cannons, and an aerial bombardment in the 1954 Japanese film classic? How do you defend against atomic breath and super strength?

Senior Airman Mark Hermann and Master Sergeant Jason Edwards believe they have the answer.

Watch:

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Intel

This video perfectly captures the highs and lows of Navy advancement

If you’ve ever taken a Navy advancement exam, chances are you walked out of the testing center feeling more confused than the day the Navy issued aqualfage.


You’re not alone, sailor. A quick look at the comments posted to a Reddit thread called, “How I felt during today’s E-5 advancement exam” shows bewilderment across the fleet.

From Reddit:

User: Achibon – Yeah, I studied for the last 2.5 months and still felt like a moron during the test. Good luck to you.

User: Furmware – Thank God I’m not the only one who felt like a moron after the test.

User: dcviper – I used to cut mid-70s on the test and I always walked out feeling like an idiot. The test I made E-6 off of I thought I had bombed because I didn’t study. Even our department head, a mustang LCDR, said he thought it was a really difficult test. No one was more surprised than me that May.

After reading the comments above, you could imagine the excitement some sailors get when they find out they passed. Oh the joy! It means more pay, no more being talked down to, and most importantly, no more working parties! Well, maybe not entirely true but there will be fewer.

And then, there are the sailors who’ve taken the test many times. You know who they are, they’re always bitter. This video by Chalee Jr. perfectly captures the attitudes sailors have when passing and failing the advancement exam.

Watch:

Intel

This veteran’s Army and Air Force experience made him the perfect host for a military TV show

Army and Air Force veteran Wil Willis arrived in Los Angeles in 2009 to pursue a job as a TV show host for the Discovery Channel. His time as an Air Force pararescueman and the Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion qualified him to debut in the military reality show “Special Ops Mission.”


Willis recounts his unusual transition during a photo shoot with photographer Cedric Terrell:

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Intel

This is what happens to your body if you die in space

As mankind turns their eyes back to space and technology edges us ever closer to a life outside of the atmosphere, there must also be contingency plans established in case the worst happens to astronauts. To date, there is no defined protocol for returning remains back to Earth. This will need to change as more and more astronauts take to the skies.


There have been eighteen deaths during spaceflight. The three deaths to occur in space (above 100 km elevation) were also the only remains properly recovered. The crew of the Soyuz 11 perished on June 29th, 1971 while they were preparing for re-entry. Their names are Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev. Their remains were recovered at the intended landing site — an autopsy ruled the cause of death a capsule-decompression failure — and the astronauts were properly laid to rest. They may be the first and only astronauts to be given this respect.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Their names, and all astronauts who died prior to 1971, were placed on the Fallen Astronaut memorial and placed on the Moon. (NASA Courtesy Photo)

If an astronaut were to die on a spacewalk and his or her body went unrecovered, they would float lifelessly until caught in the atmosphere, at which point they’d burn in the reentry process. Until then, no bacteria could survive to decompose the body, so it would remain frozen as the days passed.

However, due to the UN’s strict “no littering” policy in space, the family and nation of the astronaut would be required to recover the remains and lay them rest with dignity. A space free-float wouldn’t happen.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
This also rules out all possible funerals, like the one given to Spock. (Paramount Pictures’ Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

According to Col. Chris Hadfield in his book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Earth, today’s astronauts conduct simulations for onboard deaths, but taking care of the body is tricky and very unpleasant. The remains are placed inside of a GoreTex bodybag. Then, it is isolated immediately in the airlock to avoid contamination to the air supply.

The funeral rites are then given to the deceased. This would include speeches by world leaders, the deceased’s family, and the crew. The body is then exposed to space to freeze. A robotic arm then takes the corpse and vibrates it outside of the spacecraft until the body breaks down into a powder, which is then released into space. As morbid as it is, it saves valuable room in the spacecraft and keeps the other astronauts safe. In a way, the astronaut becomes a part of space.

The powder that remains in the bag is then given to the family on the next return voyage, allowing them to pay the proper respects.

Articles

From shoot to BOOM! This is the deadly science behind the RPG

What started as a way for Soviet ground troops to take out German tanks in World War II has since turned into a global weapons phenomenon: The rocket-propelled grenade.


It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One

Related: This is how the Sabot round turns enemies into a fine mist

While the original anti-tank technology was meant to have a one-off use, the modern RPG is a reloadable weapon, with a shaped-charge explosive used by militias and official military forces alike.

“The Russians were extremely impressed by the panzerfaust,” said Will Fowler, an explosives expert, in the video below. “It was the basis for their RPG-2 program which went on to the now-famous RPG-7.”

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
With varying degrees of celebration.

When an RPG is fired, it leaves the barrel at 383 feet per second. An additional rocket fires and deploys stabilizing fins as the shell spins toward a target.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One

The RPG’s cone shape forms a jet of explosive energy outward when the shell strikes its target. That’s where the weapons gets its armor-penetrating power.

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One

The RPG is a simple, cheap, and efficient system that can completely destroy a soft-skinned vehicle and can cause grievous harm to some up-armored ones.

Troops who encounter an RPG round in combat are lucky to survive to tell the tale.

“When I was in Iraq, the RPG was a deadly weapon,” Staff Sgt. Matthew Bertles, a U.S. Army M240 gunner, told the show Weaponology. “An RPG struck my 240, blew me back, destroyed our vehicle, and injured me.”

Watch the history of the RPG in the video below:

Intel

An epic Blue Angels beach flyby sends tents and umbrellas flying

Sometimes a military jet providing the overhead “sound of freedom” brings with it a very strong gust of wind.


A video posted to YouTube recently shows the Navy Blue Angels practicing near a Pensacola, Florida beach, with Angel no. 5 getting so close to the shore that tents, toys, and umbrellas go flying in the air with it. No one was hurt at the time, which was on July 11, according to Fox News.

Most of the beachgoers laugh and cheer after the stunt.

Watch:

NOW: Stunning footage shows pilot’s eye view from inside a Blue Angel cockpit

Intel

This celebrated war correspondent nails the reason why soldiers miss combat

It may sound crazy but many troops who return home after a combat tour find themselves missing war.


Listen to our podcast: Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America

And it’s not the heat, boredom, mortars, IEDs, lack of running water or anything else associated with roughing it that they miss — they can do that on a camping trip. In this clip, war correspondent Sebastian Junger nails the reason why.

Watch:

Intel

The Navy Is Scrapping The Aircraft Carrier Once Called The ‘Top Gun Of The Pacific’

It’s Ridiculously Expensive To Fly Air Force One
Photo: Jamie Adam/ Flickr


It will take a miracle to save the USS Ranger from being destroyed.

The battle-worn aircraft carrier received her final orders to report to Brownsville, Texas where she will be dismantled in early 2015, according to a December 22 release from the Naval Sea Systems Command.

Also Read: 13 Tips For Dating On A US Navy Ship

Commissioned in 1957, Ranger is one of four Forrestal-class supercarriers. She earned 13 battle stars before being decommissioned in 1993.

From 1993 to 2004, the Navy kept Ranger on standby for possible reactivation until the carrier was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, and redesigned for donation. During the eight years the ship was available, no group came forward with the necessary funds or plans to convert her into a museum or memorial.

Besides being distinguished for her military service, she also became famous for cameos in shows like The Six Million Dollar Man and Black Sheep Squadron, and films such as Star Trek IV, Flight of the Intruder, and Top Gun.

An organization known as Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach Inc. came up with an online petition to convince the Navy to spare the ship:

“Right now, we just want a stay of execution,” said recently appointed project manager Michael B. Shanahan. “As a brand new team charged with repurposing the USS Ranger, we want to work with Navy, NAVSEA and City of Long Beach for the best possible outcome. We know that saving the USS Ranger would have significantly more far-reaching economic, historic and social benefits than scrapping it. This is our last chance to stop the loss of an irreplaceable cultural and historic asset.”

Here’s a video showing what Ranger could become if the adequate resources were pulled together to save this great ship:

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AND: Here’s What ‘Top Gun’ Would Look Like In 2014