Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why Did 'Air Force One' Buzz NYC

There are still questions regarding why the 'Air Force One' plane buzzed New York City (it only gets the official designation of 'Air Force One' when the president is on board but it is part of that fleet).

Why the need for a new photo? Granted photo technology has improved since the last shot, but 'Air Force One' has the same paint job. You would think the last picture would be sufficient for what ever they need it for. Many have pointed out that Photoshop would have been much cheaper.

The Photo op story has another problem. The F-16 is a single seat jet fighter. Who was taking the picture? Had a photo shoot been the mission, a different plane would have been much better suited. Along with using the wrong plane, the F-16 does not appear to get in the optimal position to take the picture. More at If they really wanted great shots of the 'Air Force One' plane flying around NYC, they should have widely publicized it so the public could have (and would have) participated. They would have had a lot more shots from a lot more angles.

If it was not for a photo op then what was the point? The notion that it was a training mission has been floated ( Training mission?!? What were they training for, Independence Day (movie) style evasive flying through city buildings?

If it was not for a photo op and not part of a training mission, the best explanation left would be some sort of a site seeing tour for special guests or supporters. That really does not make much sense either. A regular helicopter tour could have easily been arranged for much cheaper and could have gone by relatively unnoticed.

Basically we are left with a sort of mystery. The only thing that seems certain is an impressive level of felony stupidity. I am leaning toward the photo op, but am still persuadable. They should release the pictures to let us see what we paid for.

The precise cost is now know. It cost the taxpayers $328,835. The break down is $300,658 for the larger plane's three hour flight, and $28,178 the two F-16 jets 1.8 hour flights. More at

Some people are poking fun at the price point; 'scaring the crap out of New Yorkers, priceless' (

Some are asking if Obama was on the plane. The notion comes from an apology on the official White House website which refers to the "Air Force One flight over New York" ( The plane only receives the designation 'Air Force One' when the president is on board. If Obama was on board then it would be impossible for him to say that he did not know about it. I do not think that Obama would issues such a bold face, and likely easily discovered, lie. It is probably just a mistake on the website. Still, this point will likely be checked up on.

They apparently had another similar photo op planned for Washington DC. That is probobly the second worst place to surprise people with an unannounced low flying plane. Second to New York City of course, and for the same reason. More at

Some people are having fun with other potential, and equally as wise, fake photo ops (

Past related post:
Berman Post: 'Air Force One' Buzzes NYC
Berman Post: More on The 'Air Force One' Photo-Op


  1. This flight was an attempt to
    smoke out a Stinger missile
    that the CIA, etc. has intell
    on. The aircraft has counter-
    measures and the F-16s do as
    well. The Air Force would not
    have approved this for any reason
    less than a national security
    reason. A Stinger taking out
    a fully loaded 747 out of JFK
    (no countermeasures)would destroy
    the Obama presidency. Hence a
    major effort to lure it out.
    This flight was probably alerted
    to some Middle East intelligence
    service in the hope al Queda
    would pick the information up and
    activate a cell in NYC with the
    missile(s). End of story - no
    photos, no sightseeing, no
    practice. Just the United States
    Air Force trying to keep us safe.

  2. That is an interesting though, but their are a few holes in the idea. First, the Obama administration has now agreed to release a photo (Berman Post: Obama Administration Now Agrees to Release One 'Air Force One' Photo op Picture). Still, if you are right the photo could just be cover.

    The bigger problem is the secrecy of the flight cuts against your idea. If they were trying to lure out terrorists with a Stinger Missile, it would have been much better to publicize the fly over. That way they could be sure the terrorist would have retrieved the weapon and have been in position to shoot. The secrecy may have meant that the terrorists did not have time to get the weapon or get in position. As you said, "This flight was probably alerted
    to some Middle East intelligence
    service in the hope al Queda
    would pick the information up", but they could have been much more certain if they just made a public announcement.

    You do present an interesting theory, but I do not think it is correct.


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