The Presidential Helicopter and the I-35 Bridge

I don’t have a direct cite for this, but it is my understanding that the President took a ten minute helicopter tour of the collapsed I-35 bridge in Minneapolis IN THE OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL HELICOPTER. I heard that on the NPR news and the photo in the New York Times seems to confirm that the black and white Marine One chopper was there.

It’s understandable that the President traveled from DC to Minneapolis in the official airplane but it makes no sense that someone would haul the presidential helicopter halfway across the country so that the President can take a ten minute fly over. The Minneapolis police have helicopters. The Minnesota National Guard has helicopters. The Mayo Clinic has a helicopter service. Half the TV stations in the Twin Cities have a helicopter. There is an army base at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, less that an hour’s flight away.

If the President is going to be flying around for a couple hours I suppose he might need all the bells and whistles on Marine One, but for a ten minute fly around do we really need to drag the Official Presidential Helicopter all the way out to the Upper Mississippi Valley for what amounts to a photo op?

From Wikipedia:

So don’t get your panties too much in a bunch.

So because we always do a stupid thing is sufficient reason to continue doing it? That would explain a lot.

Marine 1 could probably blow other helicopters that got too close right out of the sky. And I’m sure it has a nuclear attack button installed in the dash. My WAG is that Bush won’t go anywhere without the option to lay waste to something,

Should the President just go down to Jim’s helicopters and rent one for the ride?

Look at it this way: any helicopter the President of the United States rides is undoubtedly checked over with a fine toothed comb for explosives, bugs, and whatnot. It’s almost certainly standard procedure to do so if they went to, say, the Mayo Clinic or a TV station for a copter. Why bother doing that for, as you pointed out, a ten minute copter ride when they could just bring one that’s already been pre-vetted?

Except that they probably run those kind of checks on the presidential planes anyway, again and again, before the president gets aboard. So not much savings would be had.

I hear tell that Boyo rents the best of the worst.

Oh, don’t bother the Usual Suspects with the facts; all they know is BUSH IS TEH SUXXOR.

It crossed my mind that the 133rd Airlift Wing of the Minnesota AIr National Guard might have something he could borrow. There’s probably someone named Jim stationed there, if it’s that important to you. We’ve already seen that he’s willing to fly in military aircraft, if you’re willing to use one for a carrier landing photo-op you should be willing to use one for the pointless flyover as well.

The flyover, or worse, the on the ground need for the presidents to show up for any disaster is another stupid thing. He has people to run around and gather data, what the hell will he accomplish there?

Remember Jimmy Carter after Three Mile Island. He was a nuclear engineer and had dismantled a defective reactor in the past, and he still looked like a huge dork in his yellow boots wandering around the plant. What was he going to do, grab a wrench and start running pipe?

I’d bet the helicopter also has countermeasures against anti-aircraft missiles. And besides checking for bug or bombs, the Presidential helicopter probably gets extra top-notch maintenance for safety in general.

If wonder if they also have designations for Segway One and Shoes One.

This is even lamer than the pitting of the kids who took steps to improve the lunch served in their school cafeteria.


Two years ago, Bush caught a fair bit of flak for not doing an inspection of New Orleans after Katrina, contenting himself with a high-level fly-over in Air Force One. He’s obviously picked up the political lesson that the Prez has to come in person to inspect catastrophes, even if he won’t be any more or less effective in dealing with it.

While The Usual Suspects was a damn fine movie, I find it to be a cheap shot when used in this context. It adds absolutely nothing to the conversation, and it looks like you are parroting the last bumper sticker you passed on the freeway.

Hey, it worked in Iraq. Oh, wait. . .
There’s actually several very good reasons why they’d want to bring Marine One and the limos where ever the President goes:
[li]Marine One, Limo One, and Air Force One are specially modified to protect the President, a news chopper ain’t gonna have bulletproof armor.[/li][li]The crews are highly trained at protecting the President. You think the guy who does the morning traffic report from the whirlybird is gonna know what to do when someone starts shooting at them?[/li][li]The crews are familiar with the hardware. They train in it, so they know exactly what it can and cannot do. Yeah, they might be able to fly the newschopper, but if they’re not familiar with the equipment, they’re not going to be able to fly it to the best of their ability during times of crisis.[/li][li]The exact specs of the vehicle are classified, so even though you know that Limo One is a Caddilac limo, you’ve got no idea of what’s under the hood. This complicates things for a would-be assassin.[/li][li]Decoys. Is the President in the helicopter, or is he in the limo? Maybe he’s still on Air Force One.[/li][li]Reliability. The flight crews know what was fixed and when it was fixed, so there’s little danger of the thing breaking down while in use.[/li][/ul]Also, there may only be one Air Force One (officially there’s only the one, but who knows?), but there’s multiple helicopters and limos which will have the designation Marine One and Limo One. Proof of this lies in the fact that the President will take Marine One to Air Force One and then fly to another country, where Marine One will be waiting for him. How’d it get there? Air Force One flys faster and has a much greater range than Marine One does. They certainly don’t stuff Marine One inside of Air Force One (that’s where Limo One goes). So, obviously, there has to be more than one Presidential chopper.

I know that during the Cold War, the US had 3 flying command centers in the air at all times, given that those planes had to have at least one backup, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that there’s at least 3 backups for every Presidential vehicle. If one of each type along with one backup for each is in the same area as the President, then it increases the odds that an assassin’s going to make the wrong choice.

He obviously should, since he’s all for supporting small businesses and all that.


HA! My post was a “cheap shot”, adding “absolutely nothing to the conversation”? I think you meant the OP, which was devoid of facts, logic, or substance, unless you count “Bush sucks” as meaning anything.

It would seem to me, since you’re a Moderator, that you could actually do something about such contentless posts, but instead you choose to tacitly endorse them. Whatever, big guy.

10, 9, 8, …

Hark! The crunch of approaching jackboots!

Tuckerfan, and others, added content both pro and con to this conversation which might give Spavined Gelding something to think about. You added the standard leetspeak and bumper sticker response which involves no thinking whatsoever.