Air Force One Photos and Obama's Inauguration
Some of you may not know that I was once (and still in a different way) an aviation nut, buff, fanatic, whatever you want to call it. I did get my private pilot's license, and I did work for and was hired by several airlines earlier in my life/career. One of my most favorite types of photography that I ever attempted was aviation photography (made almost impossible after 9-11). I started while I was still shooting film and moved into digital SLR's to enhance my aviation photography.
Air Force One is probably one of the most recognized aircraft in the entire world. I love the plane and have been to Boeing field north of Seattle to see the older Boeing 707 that Nixon and Kennedy flew on as President. That plane is no longer in Washington state (I think it is now in the Smithsonian), but even at 30-40 years old it still evoked feelings of pride in a country that is still one of the only countries in the world that has a fleet of aircraft for its leader.
I use to watch Tony Blair get on a commercial British Airways 747 and think what a disgrace to put the Prime Minister on a commercial aircraft but I guess it did save quite a bit of money for the British people, but didn't do a thing to create an iconic air force fleet like we did with the Presidential aircraft.
One of my favorite shots I ever took was a shot of this British Airways Boeing 747 about to take off for London in the middle of a storm with a Boeing 777 landing right in front of it (if you look at the close up, you can see the Continental B-777 at the end of the runway in front of the BA 747). It was no different than any commercial BA flight that Tony Blair would have flown on if he was in Houston at the time.
I can't really recall a time in history when the press or anyone else questioned when, why, or how, we used the military fleet like they are now. For good reason, it costs a heck of a lot more to fly the military fleet than a commercial flight, but even so, I would never want to see Mr Obama get on a commercial flight while he is still in office. Now that Air Force One is officially part of the Obama administration, it has been taken for a ride, and because of the economy, more and more people are starting to question why we are spending money in ways that just isn't necessary any more.
Do As I Say, Not As I Do
This week, Mr Obama flew Air Force One to Colorado and Arizona just for the sake of signing a bill. As far as everyone can tell, the estimated cost for Obama to fly to Arizona (don't know about the Colorado trip) on Air Force One to sign the so-called stimulus bill was about $700,000. $700,000 for a flight that didn't have to take place to sign a bill to spend $787 billion. So I guess just a drop in the bucket compared to $787 billion, so who cares.
Well, the very next thing Obama said was that American's needed to start living within their means and at the same time he told us to turn down our thermostats. We have officially entered the "do as I say, not as I do" time.