Could the President fly a plane?

The elder George Bush went skydiving after he left office, which I’m sure made the Secret Service apoplectic. So I was wondering…

George W. Bush was a pilot, as was his father. What if either of them felt like taking a Cessna for a ride? Assuming their licenses and medicals were current, would the Secret Service allow them to fly solo?

I don’t really think the Secret Service has any power to tell the President what to do. About all they could do would be say “Please, please, please, sir, don’t do this.”

I don’t think the Secret Service carse all that much if an ex-president dies.

There care if someone tries to kill him, but I don’t think they have a mission to keep him breathing for as long as possible.

Now the President is another matter.

He is the president after all…what makes you think he needs to be current with ANY ratings? He’s the friggin commander in chief, he don’t need no steenking ratings.
I want to know what the Secret Service would have done had Clinton showed up at an Air Force base and tried to take a F-16 for a solo spin.

With missles:):slight_smile:

It might be required next Independence Day…

Who said anything about ratings? Grok just asked if the Secret Service has the authority to say “I’m afraid I can’t let you do this, Mr. President - the risk is unacceptable.”

From my understanding, and I’ll try to find some cites, the answer to your question is no.

The Secret Service would not allow a President to do anything that is inherently (and preferably) even remotely dangerous. Yes, he’s Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, but as the Secret Service is a branch of the Treasury Department, he’s not in command of them.

They are charged with the care of the President (and others). And again, I’ll search tomorrow for facts, but I’m pretty sure the SS can in fact tell the President, “Nope, it ain’t gonna happen while you’re still the prez.”

Seeing how the Treasury Department is under the Executive Branch, and the President is in charge of that, he’s technically in charge of them.

But, I think there’s a higher priority: protecting the office holder is more important than following any whim orders he gives.

Well, who does the Treasury Department report to, then? The Bavarian Illuminati?

“The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”

No, the President cannot fly a plane. During the year when he was AWOL from his Texas National Guard duties, Mr Dubya failed to report for his last required flight physical and his pilot’s license was revoked. The details are available at:

Yes. Adam Weishaupt is actually the person on the dollar bill, after all.

… oops, now I’ve said too much …

I’m not sure the military has actual “licenses”. A military pilot must still obtain an FAA-issued license to operate a civilly-registered aircraft.

Civilian licenses have no expiration date, but a pilot must hold a current medical certificate of a class appropriate to the flying he or she is doing. The pilot also must be “current”, which means that s/he must have made at least three take-offs and landings within the preceding 90 days in the same category and class of aircraft s/he wishes to fly, and undergo a biennial flight review with a Certified Flight Instructor. IIRC from my CAP days, the military’s annual flight review is known as a “Form 5”.

G.W. Bush may not operate a civil aircraft because (I assume) he does not hold an FAA-issued license (at least I didn’t see it in the article) and because if he did then he is not current. Whether the SS (oops… “Secret Service”) would “allow” him to fly if he were properly rated and current, I don’t know.

Chas.E: You apparently don’t know what you’re talking about. So let me fill you in.

First, you don’t get your license revoked for losing your medical. All you have to do is take the medical, and your license becomes automatically valid.

Pilot’s licenses are issued for life. However, in the U.S. you have to take a biennial flight review in order to keep it current. If you haven’t flown for 40 years, as far as I know all you need to do is update your medical, do the BFR, and off you go.

However, there’s another matter of whether or not Bush even has a pilot’s license. Military pilots do not automatically get civilian licenses, mainly because they haven’t necessarily learned all the civilian flight rules.

I’m not sure exactly what military pilots have to do to get their civilian licenses in the U.S., since I’m only familiar with Canadian rules. Here in Canada, they just have to pass the written exam and do a flight test.

However, another wrinkle is that Bush as commander in chief could probably fly any military airplane that he’s qualified for. In this case, that would be none. But it wouldn’t necessarily take him that long to get current - learning the new avionics would be the toughest part.

As for whether the Secret Service would stop him, I seriously doubt it. He’s not a prisoner. Reagan used to ride horses on his ranch, and that’s a hell of a lot more dangerous than flying a Cessna, which is only slightly more dangerous than driving a car. Besides, why do think that it would be dangerous for him to fly an airplane, when he flies around in military aircraft all the time? He’s a multi-thousand hour fighter pilot that could be as qualified as some of the people flying him around, if he were current.

But Bush is far more constrained by public opinion. If he is seen doing something that is considered reckless, he’d be raked over the coals for it. So it ain’t gonna happen.

The answer is: the Secret Service can prevent a U.S. president from endangering himself. Can’t give you a cite, but I’ve heard the Secret Service director say so much on a television profile, when a reporter asked if the president could, say, slip out of the White House one night and take a spin in his old car. He responded that: (a) we would strongly discourage him from doing so; and (b) we have the authority to actually prevent him from doing something we judge dangerous to his welfare.

Where the S.S. gets this authority, I haven’t a clue and it doesn’t make much sense in some ways.