1943 was the year the air force first came
up with the idea that the president of the United States was likely better off traveling
on his own airplane as there were safety issues with the leader sitting among the hoi polloi
on commercial jet liners. That year a somewhat uncomfortable-looking
bomber called the C-87 Liberator Express was fitted out to carry a VIP and it was renamed
the, “Guess Where II.” But that didn’t quite work out as this plane
didn’t have the best safety record, and so it was replaced with a C-54 Skymaster. This was also converted to carry a VIP and
it went by the name of “Sacred Cow.” In 1945 it took its first trip carrying Franklin
D. Roosevelt and the presidential plane was born. Today we’ll see how these planes have developed,
in this episode of the Infographics Show, Why Does Air Force One Fridge Cost $24 Million. In case you don’t know, Air Force One isn’t
the name of an aircraft but any aircraft that carries the Commander-in-Chief. It’s really just the radio call sign used
for the plane, but we have come to know Air Force One as the plane itself. The White House official website tells us
that the president can choose any number of ways to travel, and Air Force one is just
one option. That website states that the planes belonging
to Air Force one right now are two Boeing 747-200Bs, except of course they are no ordinary
planes and have been highly customized for the big man in charge and his entourage. We’ll get around to just how customized
soon, but first let’s look at some other details. We should also mention that on Boeing’s
website the company states that the 747-200s will soon be replaced with 747-8s. You can’t miss the plane as emblazoned across
it are the words, “United States of America,” and of course it also comes with the Stars
and Stripes flag. The White House tells us it has an “undeniable
presence wherever it flies.” But it’s not just aesthetically unique. This plane is capable of refueling in mid-air,
so for all intents and purposes the president could just keep flying as long as he wanted
to. We are told that without refueling it could
stay in the air for around 15-17 hours. It can fly at speeds of up to 700 miles per
hour (1,126kph) and can reach heights of 45,100 feet (13,746 meters). Boeing tells us that the current planes have
an area of 4,000 square feet, making each plane what it calls a “flying Oval Office.” It has three main levels; the bottom mostly
for cargo; the middle for passengers and the top for communications. It certainly sounds a bit more comfortable
then a regular plane, and no doubt no passengers find themselves stuck in the middle seat of
the middle aisle with a broken entertainment station, next to a snoring neighbor whose
head rocks about intermittently over an 8-hour flight. Air Force One has its own dining room, conference
room, office, medical facility (operations can be done here and a doctor is always on
board), as well as luxurious quarters for both the president and the first lady. It has areas for staff, media, or anyone else
who might be on board, and also a couple of galleys that can accommodate 100 people when
it comes to mealtime. As for technology, Boeing tells us that these
planes are equipped with “state-of-the-art navigation, electronic and communications
equipment; its interior configuration and furnishings; self-contained baggage loader;
and front and aft air-stairs.” Boeing doesn’t go into details regarding
the tech on board, but we found out that there are around 85 onboard telephones, around nineteen
TVs, lots of two-way radios, fax machines and of course connected computers. Like Boeing says, it really is a home from
home, or should we say an office away from office. On top of this, the plane has to be made from
special material and we are told that the 238 miles (383kms) of wiring that connects
all this tech – twice the length of wiring on any normal 747 – is protected by something
called heavy shielding. Yep, even if there was a nuclear blast the
president would still have all his connections intact and perhaps not have his game of Angry
Birds Friends interrupted. In terms of defense technologies some of this
is a secret, and for good reason. But some sources tell us that it is equipped
with flares that can out smart heat-seeking missiles and it also has electronic counter
measures which can jam radar signals of enemies. As for weapons on board, well, that bit might
just be classified, but we know that fighters are likely never far away anyway. We are told that many areas of the plane are
restricted to a very few people, so it’s not like journalists can just go anywhere
they want. There is some level of secrecy when it comes
to just what is on the plane. The president probably doesn’t have much
to worry about while flying, with one aviation website calling the planes the most secure
in the world. All of this comes at a cost, and the website
Defense News told us in 2018 that the new planes Boeing will supply will set the White
House (well, the taxpayer) back a cool $3.9 billion. No doubt these planes are going to be good,
very good, as good as can be, the best. President Trump agrees, saying in 2018, “It’s
going to be the top of the line, the top in the world. And it’s going to be red, white and blue,
which I think is appropriate.” So what about this fridge? 24 million? OK, so a smart fridge might tell you that
you left the door open via your phone, but one of those things will only cost you a few
thousand bucks. What does a multi-million dollar fridge do,
produce its own food out of thin air or perhaps shrink you and your family and let you ski
inside the freezer compartment? We shall explain. Ok, so we lied, the fridge, or two fridges,
didn’t have a price tag of $24 million. The actual cost was $23,657,671, according
to The Washington Post. We are told that the plane had five chiller
units, but two needed replacing and that was the figure Boeing came up with. So, give or take a few bucks, each of these
units would cost $12 million. Hmm, is Boeing just taking advantage of the
U.S. government and the American taxpayer? Defense News says that is not the case, and
the main reason stuff on this plane costs so much is because it’s so bespoke. What does that mean? Well, let’s imagine a worst case scenario,
a kind of Mars Attacks narrative in which the president and up to 100 others are up
in the sky while all hell is breaking loose down on Earth. We know the plane can stay up in the air indefinitely,
and let’s just imagine that the president and the others had to stay up there while
the militaries of the world defeated the bulbous-headed aliens. A hundred bellies take a lot of filling, especially
when they need filling over a period of days, and this is the main reason why Boeing is
charging a princely sum for the fridges. Defense News tells us, “The requirement
for Air Force One is the ability to feed passengers and crew for weeks without resupplying. That means storing about 3,000 meals in massive
refrigerators and freezers below the passenger cabin.” These fridges we are told are also very reliable,
they have back-up systems and much more advanced technology than the fridges you’ll find
elsewhere. We are also told that the folks that make
these fridges, that fit them, they are all sworn to secrecy and given high-level security
clearances. This all adds to the cost. This is also a problem when we try and find
out what is so special about these things, because Air Force One doesn’t let the media
know all the details. An Air Force One spokesperson said this, “The
engineering required to design, manufacture, conduct environmental testing and obtain Federal
Aviation Administration certification are included in the cost.” Boeing was also contacted by some of the U.S.
media and the company offered this statement, “Only the U.S. Air Force can discuss that
airplane or that work. You’ll need to contact their press desk in
the Pentagon.” In that same article, the Air Force added
a little more information about the fridges, but not much. A spokesperson said, “There are four different
areas for cold food storage throughout the aircraft: five chillers and 26 climate-controlled
compartments. We are replacing two cold chiller units, which
includes eight climate-controlled compartments.” In fact, none of the big media, the New York
Times, The Guardian over in the UK, could offer a detailed explanation of why the fridges
were so expensive. One consultant speaking to The Guardian did
say the money wasn’t being wasted. In a statement he said, “It’s not a contractor
issue, it is a requirements issue. It’s not getting people rich.” That’s about all we can tell you, but we
will also add that the government canceled the contract because, in the words of one
person, the contract just “didn’t pass the smell test.” That doesn’t mean the fridges smelled badly. It’s an idiomatic term meaning the price
or the product was questionable. The government said it won’t get the new
fridges, and instead it will wait until 2024 when the new planes are delivered. Just out of interest we had a look around
for the world’s most expensive fridges. These were more household fridges rather than
giant industrial ones, but we found one fridge said to be the size of a car. The magnificent-looking thing is made by an
Italian firm called Meneghini, and the fridge is called “La Cambusa.” It costs $41,500 if you get the best version. You can even get a TV added to the door. It’s quite the fridge alright, but nothing
compared to Air Force One’s behemoth that never got fitted. Now we want to ask you what you think? Could these fridges be worth every cent? Maybe you have an idea as to what makes them
so expensive, other than what we have said already. Also, be sure to check out our other show
Why Is The Government Terrified Of This Hacker. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like share and subscribe. See you next time.