The C-32A, a military version of Boeing's 757-200, has replaced the VC-137B/C aircraft that were recently retired from the presidential airlift fleet. The new planes will carry the U.S. vice president, cabinet members, secretaries, and other dignitaries stateside and around the world. The first of four C-32As, all operated by the 89th Airlift Wing, left Boeing's Seattle plant 19 June 1998, and the second aircraft arrived at Andrews AFB, MD three days later. The remaining two C-32As arrived in November and December.
The Air Force purchased the new aircraft under a new streamlined acquisition procedure that saved money and allowed the aircraft to be purchased from the existing Boeing production line. Under the plan, the Air Force is treated the same as any commercial customer, from construction and painting to test and evaluation.
The C-32A is a medium-sized twin-engine medium-to-long-range jetliner incorporating advanced technology for exceptional fuel efficiency, low noise levels, increased passenger comfort and top operating performance. The aircraft has seating for 45 passengers and 16 crewmembers. Five passengers can be seated in the stateroom, eight in the conference area, and 32 in the general seating area.
High-bypass-ratio Pratt & Whitney engines combined with an advanced wing design help make the 757-200 one of the quietest, most fuel-efficient jetliners in the world. When compared to any single-aisle jetliner in service today, the 757-200 is unsurpassed in fuel-efficiency, consuming up to 43 percent less fuel per seat than older jets.
With the improved wing design, less engine power is required for takeoff and landing. Even with a full passenger payload, the 757-200 can operate from runways as short as those used by the much smaller 737-200 jetliner. In addition, the 757-200 can reach a higher cruise altitude more quickly than many other jetliners.
Inside the C-32A, communications take a front seat. The vice president, heads of state and other decision-makers can conduct business anywhere around the world using improved telephones, satellites, television monitors, facsimiles, and copy machines. Additional equipment on the C-32As includes Tacan military navigation equipment, a military IFF transponder, a UHF satellite communications radio, secure voice and data transmission capability, and a passenger flight information display system that airs videos and broadcasts real-time global positioning on a moving world map. Increased storage was also a priority when the designer included large storage areas in the overhead bins in the cabin and the cargo compartments below. Like many high-standing aircraft it's easy to see under and around the C-32A an important security factor for protecting the plane and its passengers. Heading the safety equipment list is the Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) that gives advance warning of possible air crashes.
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