Yes, I'm posting this late Friday night - by the time you read this I should already be at the fabulous Camp Greenough
in Yarmoth, MA. Saturday is the last staff development meeting before our massive training course at the end of April.
In any case - just a week and a half from today, I hope I will find myself winging over Mar-a-Largo on the way into Palm Beach International airport. I'm heading down on a Wednesday, and we hope to be on the road home Friday morning well before this weekly circus takes place on the tarmac.
The presidential 747 is parked at Palm Beach International Airport, just off Southern Boulevard, while President Trump is in town for the weekend.
Throughout Saturday, people hurriedly took turns parking on the grassy space in front of Atlantic Aviation on the PBIA south side property to snap photos, and get a quick glimpse, of what is arguably the worldâ€™s most recognizable aircraft.
The plane also drew a crowd for photos when Trump visited last weekend.
You should know by now that "Air Force One" does not refer to any specific aircraft; it's only a radio callsign that's used by whatever aircraft happens to have the President abourd. It could be the well known Boeing 747-200B pictured above, but if Mr. Trump flew into KPBI aboard a Piper Cub, it would use "Air Force One" for the duration of the flight.
I've done the math - it's 859 air miles from Andrews AFB to Palm Beach. This can easily be transited by other, lesser aircraft in the US arsenal, military versions of the venerable Boeing 737
But no, pompous, overbearing Donald Trump has to use the big four-engined jet on a short hop. This is not efficient or cost effective. A four-engine jet of that size consumes about $25,000 per hour on fuel alone. So for a single round-trip jaunt, that's $100,000.
Looking back at our lowly Learjet, that flies with USAF markings as the C-21A, consuming just $2,200 per hour in avgas. Do the math; that same four hours would cost just $8,800.
But of course ,the president doesn't ever travel alone. Every time the 747-200 lifts off, it's accompanied by a C-17 Globemaster III. This carries the presidential motorcade, and a number of security personnel. It's only slightly more efficient that the 747, as this one only costs $23,000 per hour to get airborne.
Mr. Trump is again at his private residence in Palm Beach this weekend, having gone there at taxpayer expense. Today being March 25, it's 8 weeks since the inauguration, and Trump has reliably been in Florida on five of those weekends.
With two aircraft, for fuel alone that's cost us all $1.5m for his jet-setting.
He can go back and forth as often as he wants, but I daresay there is no earthly reason to use the 747-200B on a two-hour domestic hop, except one.