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Training for Trump: Air Force at Eagle County airport for high altitude flights

By Randy Wyrick | Vail Daily
The Air Force was back at the Eagle County Regional Airport for more high altitude flight training.
Lauren Glendenning, Special to the Daily

GYPSUM — The U.S. Air Force is back in town, practicing at the Eagle County Regional Airport for all things presidential.

An Air Force crew at the controls of a Boeing 757 practiced doing a lot of … whatever it is they do that keeps presidents, vice presidents and others safe when they fly in and out of high altitude airports — such as ours.

“We’re among the highest airports the Air Force flies into,” explained Alex Everman, airport manager.

The Air Force was in town a few weeks ago for high altitude training with a Boeing 757 outfitted for VIP use.

This one was a 757, such as that one.

Later this week you’ll see a 737 doing many of the same training exercises.

The actual planes are almost exactly like the Boeing 757s and 737s that fly commercially in and out of the Eagle County Regional Airport all winter, Everman explained.

United and other airlines fly Boeing’s 737, and American Airlines flies Boeing’s 757.

“It’s not abnormal for those aircraft to be seen in and around the airport,” Everman said. “The major difference is that these say ‘United States of America’ on the side.”

No one really important is in town, unless you count the U.S. Air Force crew that flies the plane, and they’re pretty darned important and should count. President Trump was not here, nor was Vice President Pence.

There will be upcoming missions, and the crew wants to become familiar with the airport’s elevation, the approach, the departure and the lay of the land.

“I’d say you can anticipate some visits, with this amount of training,” Everman said.

Also, those aircraft are not actually Air Force One unless the president is on board. It’s not Air Force Two unless the vice president is on board, Everman said.

Air Force One is not a plane; it’s a call sign the Air Force uses when POTUS is on board.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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