I know that flying Air Force One is a position of high responsibility. I am curious to know what extra privileges, if any, come along with being the pilot of Air Force One. What extra he can do which a usual commercial/US Air Force pilot is not allowed to do (in air or on ground both)?

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    $\begingroup$ Your second question is odd. Why on Earth would women not be allowed to fly Airforce One? $\endgroup$
    – Simon
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 7:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Simon it's not odd at all. Women are still bared from some jobs, especially in some armies. First (USA) female pilot to go to war was in 1998 . If you want to hire the most experienced ones, 20 year might not be enough yet; making it practically impossible as of today for them to pilot AF one . $\endgroup$
    – Antzi
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 8:46
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    $\begingroup$ Please keep in mind that Air Force One is a call sign (specifically, the call sign of the plane that the president of the United States is onboard, whichever that is), not any specific airframe or even aircraft type. As much else as that movie got wrong, this is one thing that the 1997 movie Air Force One actually got right. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 8:58
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    $\begingroup$ We are in the 21th century, the second question is odd. Anyway, I don't believe that combat experience or even war experience is a requirement (that could be a big problem during peace ^^). Anyway, women have a long Air Force history, back from WWII. $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 8:59
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    $\begingroup$ @Peter "We are in the 21th century, the second question is odd." No, it really isn't. There are many jobs and roles which are considered unacceptable for a woman to take (considered such by some people, anyway), and this is in rare cases a legal restriction as well. The military being responsible for several of those rare cases, it's definitely a reasonable thought to ponder about AF1. $\endgroup$
    – Nij
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


First off the pilot of Air Force One may or may not not be a commercial pilot (in the FAA sense) on account of the plane is operated by the military. For example the previous pilot of AFO Colonel Mark W. Tillman has no listing in the FAA database for pilot certificates so he does not cary any civilian privileges of flight although some might.

Being in the service the pilot would carry all the privileges associated with his given rank at the time.

As for other privileges there would be nothing stopping him from receiving a free meal at a local airport diner or the such but as far as I can find they have no special privileges anywhere.

If you are asking what privileges they may have in the air that is a completely different question. They still must follow ATC procedures as any other plane in civilian airspace but the flight will undoubtably be treated in a certain way.

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    $\begingroup$ One special treatment is that they'll be allowed to operate within a presidential TFR ;-) $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ I have heard that they clear themselves for take off (by informing the tower controllers). $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ I saw a documentary on discovery covering AFO when Bush flew to Iraq war zone then AFO didn't follow ATC rules (it was due to keep secrecy of mission). But on the same point no other flight can give false info to ATC $\endgroup$
    – love gupta
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ The couple of times I've heard AF1 on an ATC frequency, they received clearances like any other aircraft. (The big difference being, they probably never had to argue with ATC to get what they wanted!) But if Tower knows that there is traffic a mile off the end of the departure runway, it's probably better for everyone to hold AF1 until the traffic is clear, instead of them blasting off with an attitude of "I'm AF1, I do whatever I please!" Those conflicts are probably really, really rare, but typically AF1 mostly uses the same vocabulary with ATC as the rest of us do. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 17:03
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    $\begingroup$ @lovegupta In the movie, when Air Force One is being cleared for takeoff, they are also at the Moscow International Airport. Well aside from the fact that what's accepted in the US (due to the fact that the plane is being operated as part of the US Air Force) might not be accepted elsewhere, plain and simple common courtesy and self-preservation instinct would suggest that you ask if it's okay before you get a 375,000 kg MTOW, 70 by 60 meters aircraft even onto a runway. Though compare Can a pilot take off at his own discretion?. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 21:00

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