Air Force One Photographed at Zurich Airport

 

The United States’ presidential plane, Air Force One, photographed at Zürich Airport by me and a few other aviation enthusiasts (see pictures below) on 25 and 26 January 2018. I took my pictures with a Nikon Coolpix P900 camera with its built-in 2000mm telephoto lens.

Donald Trump’s Boeing 747-200B landed at 10.20 on Runway 16, bringing him to Switzerland to attend the WEF World Economic Forum in Davos. In effect a flying ‘Oval Office’, Air Force One contains a conference room, living quarters for the President and First Lady, two galleys that can provide 100 meals at once, and two other offices, one of which converts to a medical room when necessary. Altogether the plane provides 4,000 square feet of floor space, and can accommodate 102 passengers and crew.

This is the fifth presidential plane, and the third to be built by Boeing; the present Air Force One has a longer range than the commercial 747-8, and it can fly direct from Washington DC to Hong Kong. The US Airforce has already ordered the next presidential plane, a Boeing 747-8, with a range of 8,600 nautical miles (14,816kms) (800 nautical miles further than the 747-200B) and a capacity of 410 passengers. This plane is seriously fast for a passenger jet, and can travel the length of three soccer pitches every second.

Security surrounding the President is naturally tight. When necessary, Air Force One has a fighter escort, and the President on landing is often supported by Chinook and attack helicopters. If you look at my pictures you will see a large number of security personnel all around the airport, as well as an escort of helicopters guarding the President, as he moves on to Davos, a journey of about 40 minutes, in the ‘White Hawk’ helicopter, ‘Marine One’. As one picture shows, though, Zürich Airport still allows plane-spotters to get nearer to Air Force One than you (or the President’s security people) might expect, and many of them came on those two days to see Air Force One). However Viewing Deck B was closed and as part of the security measures the airport’s webcams were switched off while Trump’s plane was on the ground.

The World Economic Forum meets in Davos, Switzerland every January – oddly, during the skiing season when the Alps are already busy. Over 2,500 of the richest and most powerful people in the world are invited to the four-day event, with its official mission being the laudable, but ambitious, “improving the state of the world”. Founded by German engineer and economist, Klaus Schwab in 1971, the conference has grown out of all recognition, yet has remained in the ski resort of Davos. Donald Trump is the first US President to attend since Bill Clinton in 2000.

President Trump was due to address the World Economic Forum on 26th January 2018, and his visit was the main item in the Swiss news media around that time. The theme of his 15 minute speech was that the ‘America First’ policy was good for the world economy as a whole, and did not mean ‘America alone’.
The President and his entourage flew out from Runway 16 at 16.06 on the 26th, after helicoptering back to Zürich from Davos. 

25th January 2018
Air Force One, Runway 16, Zurich  Air Force One, Zurich Airport  Air Force One, Zurich Airport Airport Zurich, Police
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26th January 2018
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Video: Air Force One, Zurich Airport