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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 21, 2009 at 4:00 PM

The next Air Force One

American-made, always

I read The Times article, “Airbus could build next Air Force One” [News, Jan. 18]. I believe the presidential plane, Air Force One, should always be “American Made.” It would be a grave mistake to award the contract to any foreign entity, not only from a standpoint of American pride in workmanship, but also from a national security standpoint.

My late father worked for Boeing for many years. While he did not work on any projects involving presidential aircraft, he was always proud that Boeing built the airplane that transports the president of the United States of America. I personally believe that if the current 747 version of Air Force One has to be replaced, it should be replaced with a slightly smaller Boeing airplane with more versatility in landing at smaller airstrips. Bigger is not always “better.” I’d rather see the president travel in a mid-size aircraft that was sleek and secure than lumbering around in an Airbus that looks more like a whale that swallowed a school bus.

The president doesn’t need reporters or politicians hitching a ride on his plane. The refueling-in-midair feature is nice, but I’d rather see it armed as if it were a miniature B-52. The public surely wouldn’t be offended by onboard weaponry to protect the commander in chief of the armed forces.

A streamlined Boeing plane serving as the new Air Force One would help maintain American jobs, maintain technological secrecy of the plane’s components and enable the president to use the plane in more locales that cannot presently be served.

— James Marples, Longview, Texas

Comments | More in Barack Obama administration, Boeing

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