How safe is Air Force One?

nickg5
nickg5 used Ask the Experts™
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How safe is the presidential jet, Air Force 1, compared to passenger airliners?

Do they use the type wiring that has brought down some planes, and is inside most passenger planes?

I'd have to look up what it is called. It is not used in military planes but it is in passenger jets.

It's got 4 engines, so it could lose 2 and still make a landing.

Air Force 1 have any special emergency devices like ejection seats, parachutes, etc?

Here is the type wiring that they refuse to use in military aircraft, but they do-did use in commerical jets.

http://www.vision.net.au/~apaterson/aviation/kapton_mangold.htm
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You can be sure that it is as safe as any plane of that type is possible, with no expense spared.
It does not have ejection seats
So, maintenance crews might inspect AF1 daily, whereas a passenger jet might get inspected once a year. That's nice to know the next time I fly.
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The VC-25A's that are used for AirForce One are actually military grade aircraft, not commercial 747's even though that's what they are based on.  And they are constantly inspected and guarded and cleaned and anything else you can think of.  60 Minutes had a good piece on them.

Passenger jets are supposed to have a scheduled inspection and maintenance routine.  But some carriers seem to have minimized it at times...
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Example Alaska Air which has a terrible record as far as accidents, maintenance errors.

It was thought that a map light brought down the Swiss Air flight.......
I couldn't understand why a map light was "allowed" to bring a plane down.
Here is some background on the Kapton wire.
     http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=8233433

I don't think anyone is saying that Kapton wire is bad, only that it isn't perfect.
Kapton is not a cheap, inferior product by any means.  In fact, Kapton and Teflon are
at the high end (in terms of cost and performance} for all industrial insulations.

None of the stories I've read suggest any superior alternative, although exotic combinations of Kapton, Teflon, Kevlar, and glass probably find their way into NASA and military programs.

Even with imperfect Kapton wiring, I think airline travel is still the safest mode of transportation in terms of casualties per passenger mile.
Another good link for passenger mile statistics:
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_safety

It also notes that the problems in Alaska may have more to do with the weather than the airline.
One Alaska Air disaster was caused by the pilots refusing to land. They tried for over 30 minutes to fix the problem. The plane hit the water top down. Idiot pilots who had hundreds of miles of airports to land and they kept trying to fix the problem. Broken or defective tail stabilizer part.

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