Marine One Photo: Inside the Presidential Helicopter

Marine One Photo: Inside the Presidential Helicopter


Marine One departs from the South Lawn of the White House.
Official White House Photo: Carlos Fife

  • When the president travels, he travels aboard a helicopter called Marine One.
  • The aircraft features extensive safety measures and a spacious, soundproof cabin.
  • Marine One often picks up presidents on the South Lawn of the White House for short trips.

The President of the United States travels in style in safe, state-of-the-art vehicles, including Air Force One and the bulletproof presidential limousine known as “The Beast.”

The presidential helicopter Marine One is one such mode of transportation. With spacious, soundproofed interiors, advanced defense systems, and a landing zone on the White House lawn, white helicopters are often the most convenient means for presidents to get from place to place.

Let’s take a look inside the Marine One model used by modern presidents.

Similar to Air Force One, the Marine Corps aircraft carrying the President of the United States uses the call sign Marine One.

Marine One lands at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.
Official White House Photo: Adam Schultz

President Dwight Eisenhower became the first president to fly in a helicopter on official business in 1957, according to the U.S. Naval Research Institute.

The helicopter is equipped with extensive safety measures.

President Joe Biden boards Marine One in Seoul, South Korea.
Official White House Photo: Adam Schultz

Marine One is equipped with anti-missile countermeasures, ballistic armor, secure communications links, and radar jamming technology.

It also has self-sealing fuel tanks and energy-absorbing landing gear to prevent fire and extensive damage in the event of a collision.

The President always flies with at least one other decoy Marine One as additional protection.

Marine One carrying President Joe Biden and a decoy helicopter took off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
Julia Nihinson/AFP via Getty Images

According to the George W. Bush Presidential Library, up to five Marine One helicopters could be in the air at one time to hide the president’s exact location. Additionally, helicopters frequently change positions after takeoff, making it difficult to determine which helicopter the president is aboard.

Marine One will also travel overseas with the president.

President Joe Biden greets Marine One pilots.
Official White House Photo: Adam Schultz

Military cargo planes transport Marine One helicopters overseas and are on standby at local airports in case of emergencies during overseas visits, according to the U.S. Naval Research Institute.

Marine One seats 11 to 14 people, depending on the model.

President Barack Obama meets with officials aboard Marine One.
Official White House Photographer: Pete Souza

a The Blackhawk model, known as the VH-60N Whitehawk, can accommodate 11 passengers; According to the George W. Bush Presidential Library, the Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King helicopter can carry 14 aircraft. Both are used as presidential transport vehicles.

The president frequently meets with staff aboard Marine One.

President Barack Obama meets with Chief of Staff Bill Daley, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and National Security Adviser Tom Donilon aboard Marine One.
Official White House Photoshoot: Pete Souza

Helicopters are well soundproofed, allowing passengers to speak at normal volumes.

Marine One also includes perks like 200 square feet of interior space and a bathroom.

It is also used to transport the president on short trips aboard Air Force One, including to Camp David and Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

The South Portico of the White House can be seen from Marine One as it approaches the South Lawn.
Official White House Photoshoot: Pete Souza

Flying around Washington, D.C. in a helicopter is more efficient than disrupting traffic with a presidential motorcade.

Marine One will pick up the president on the South Lawn of the White House.

Marine One carrying President Donald J. Trump takes off from the South Lawn of the White House.
Official White House Photo: Joyce N. Boghosian

Two new Sikorsky VH-92A Patriot models manufactured by Lockheed Martin debuted in 2021 with the goal of eventually replacing the older Marine One helicopter. CT Insider reports that the new aircraft will cost $218 million each.

Bloomberg reported that Sikorsky’s new helicopter is no longer in regular use as its engines continued to burn the White House lawn.

Upon boarding the plane, the president will be greeted by Marines wearing marine blue dress uniforms.

President Donald Trump aboard Marine One.
Official White House Photoshoot: Shealah Craighead

President Barack Obama caused controversy in 2013 when he appeared to forget to salute a Marine and stepped back to shake his hand while boarding Marine One, NPR reported.

However, while uniformed military personnel are required to salute the president, the president is not required to return the gesture. The New York Times reported that President Ronald Reagan was the first president to begin returning the salute to soldiers in 1981.

The plane is loaded with water bottles and snacks, including a box of the president’s M&Ms.

President Barack Obama reads the morning newspaper aboard Marine One.
Official White House Photographer: Pete Souza

According to a report in The Points Guy, the president’s chair is the only forward-facing captain’s chair on the aircraft, apart from those occupied by the captain and co-pilot.

After his first trip aboard Marine One in 2009, President Obama said the helicopter was “very smooth” and “very impressive.”

“You go over the Washington Monument and turn around by the Capitol,” he said. “It was spectacular.”



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