On Wednesday 5th June 2019, The US President flew from Southampton Airport, UK to Shannon Airport, Ireland on Air Force One.

However, since SOU is more of a small regional airport, more used to seeing Dash-8s, the runway isn't very long so the aircraft used wasn't the usual B747-200, it was this much smaller aircraft.

Smaller Air Force One

Can anyone identify the type? My guess would be a B737-600?

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    $\begingroup$ The "drooped" appearance of the nosecone is one quick clue that it is not a 737-- $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ Cute nose, big eyes, big wing, tall legs, slim body, not a 737 indeed ;) $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ Boeing windscreen (and it'd be funny if the POTUS used an Airbus), four-wheeled main undercarriage and four grown-up doors => 757 or 767, nosewheel underneath front door => clearly a 757 $\endgroup$
    – TooTea
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 21:03
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    $\begingroup$ that's a nice photo $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ @AaronF Air Force One is any Air Force plane on which the President happens to be at the time. If the President is not on board, it is not Air Force One, but rather goes by something like "SAM <tail number>" (SAM stands for "Special Air Mission.") The primary planes used as Air Force One are the VC-25s (the modified Air Force Boeing 747s,) of which there are two. But the C-32As get used as Air Force One somewhat frequently as well, particularly when the President needs to fly somewhere without a runway long enough for the VC-25s. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented Jun 7, 2019 at 18:04

2 Answers 2


As Bianfable mentioned, this is the C-32A, which is the U.S. Air Force's transport variant of the Boeing 757-200.

In this case, due to the shorter runway, they used the C-32A instead of the iconic VC-25, which is the Air Force's VIP transport variant of the Boeing 747-200 that is typically used for transporting the President of the United States.

U.S. Air Force C-32A. Source: Wikipedia
U.S. Air Force C-32A. Image Source: Wikipedia

The C-32As are mostly used for transporting the Vice President of the United States as "Air Force Two" as well as members of the President's family and other high-level government officials.

However, the President may use the C-32As when flying to airfields that are too small to adequately support the monstrous VC-25s. The short-field performance of a 757 — especially a VIP-configured one — is quite good, so it can use runways that are relatively short for a plane of its size. It is also capable of making trans-Atlantic hops non-stop from the U.S. East Coast (indeed several airlines use the 757-200 to do that with much more dense passenger loads.)

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    $\begingroup$ Just noticed from the article that the 1st Airlift Squadron is the operator, which seems different from the VC-25 (don't know which), so different squadrons it seems as well. $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 22:15
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    $\begingroup$ @ymb1 Hmm... I can't seem to find an exact squadron for the VC-25s from a quick search, but it looks like they're part of the 89th Airlift Wing, of which the 1st Squadron is also a part. The 1st Squadron's wiki does say that they are assigned to the Special Air Mission, including transporting the President, but you're right that it makes no mention of the VC-25s, which would be a very odd thing to leave out if they operated them. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 22:53
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    $\begingroup$ @ymb1 Ah, the wiki for the SAM lists a separate "Presidential Airlift Squadron," so I'd guess that probably operates the VC-25s. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented Jun 6, 2019 at 22:55

It is a Boeing C-32, which is the military variant of the Boeing 757-200.


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