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Presidential plane practices at ILM


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- If you thought you saw Air Force One in the skies over Wilmington today, you did. Well, kinda.

Technically, Air Force One is the call sign given to any Air Force plane carrying the President. One of the two 747-200B aircrafts used to fly the President did touch-and-go exercises today at Wilmington International Airport. That's when the pilot lands and takes off again without making a complete stop.

This particular plane is new to the fleet. You can tell by the silver underbelly instead of the usual light blue.

The Presidential Airlift Group, which is responsible for the President's air travel, takes advantage of ILM's limited traffic to practice here several times a year.

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There are no new 747's in

There are no new 747's in the presidential fleet. There are 2 identical 747-200's which are due to be replaced starting in approximately 2017. The most likely replacement, Boeing's 747-8, enters civilian use in 2011 and it takes about 3 years to convert one for presidential use. The government would not be adding another antiquated plane to the fleet now. The 747-200 has, for the most part, been retired from commercial fleets and has grown too expensive to maintain.

In any case I think it's pretty cool to see these guys practicing in Wilmington.

And to you people whining about how low they fly- Do you really need to be reminded that AF1 is piloted by the best pilots in the world?? I'd be much more concerned about the rookie CRJ pilots who land here all the time.


blah blah blah, shut up you whiners

it was cool to see the 747 zooming around

prez plane

I saw it. I thought it looked strange, now I know what it was.

frequent flyer

Air Force One flies in and out of our airport frequently. I have been at lights on Market St. and watched this plane. They fly to low. Regardless of what they say, that they are 500' in the air, they are to low for such a busy area. When you can see the mechanical parts in the wheel well they are to low.

Flying low into ILM

Airports have standard approch charts for each runway whether it be visual, ILS, CAT 1, CAT 11. These approaches are made based on those charts. They are not flying too low...its the size of the aircraft that makes it appear low. They must maintain certain flight levels on each phase of the approach.

Ever consider that the

Ever consider that the airport is not that far from Market Street? Depending on the runway you land on, you may indeed be coming over Market St. at about 500 feet. Plus you could be exaggerating, which you probably are and don't know it. Presidental 747's are multi-million dollar aircraft. Do you seriously think they would fly them extremely low to buzz the city on purpose? The answer is NO. It all has to do with the altitudes you have to be at at certain waypoints on the ILS.

Source: I'm a pilot

Better idea?

I'm assuming you then have a better idea for a pilot to practice touch and go's without being low? They are not practicing fly by's, they have to hit the runway and take off again.

(747) air force 1 T A G

that's kool,the last time i seen touch and go were on my last ship,some 4 or 5 years ago...


Is this a news report of some sort? Why is the presidential 747 doing these excercises at ILM? What time of day are these occurring? How about the entire story?

They are doing exercises

They are doing exercises here because it is a quiet airport, not too far away from D.C. It was flying around noon. They have to practice their landings at all types of airports. If you were the pilot for the President wouldn't you want to do it perfect every time, no matter where you were. Can you imagine all the cameras and people watching every time you land somewhere?

I heard that the pilots have

I heard that the pilots have to pratice landing at various types of airports along the East coast. ILM is unique is some way.



Because we are not busy

Because we have long runways that are empty most of the day due to the high cost to fly out of here.

for me lately, it's been as

for me lately, it's been as cheap to fly from here as it has been from RDU