• Paul Manigrasso


The First "Air Force One" VC-121E "Columbine II" used by President Eisenhower in 1953-54, and recently restored. Perhaps the President should return to a more refined and elegant era of aviation -- one that would cost much less than the book for the "new" (actually rebuilt) aircraft; an airplane whose base model first flew in 1969 -- the same year "Columbine II" left active United States Air Force service and was sent to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for storage.

This is not a new issue -- when I entered the service, the press was rife with stories of $10,000 hammers and $100,000 wardroom couches. As a Chief Financial Officer with 25 years of experience in Finance and Accounting, I opine that we could buy a whole lot more capability for our troops if we could get this spending under some form of control. "Cost Plus" is not a good way to go; that's why businesses (and governments) should rarely contract under those terms. The troops (and the taxpayers) deserve better.

Having trouble with contracts for your firm? Give me a call at 817-800-5662.

From "The Hill":

New Air Force One instruction manuals cost $84 million

The new Air Force One instruction manuals will cost the U.S. another $84 million on top of the billions being paid to Boeing for two new presidential aircraft, the Pentagon announced this week.

The manuals, which are expected to be completed by January 2025, include more than 100,000 pages with the specifications for flying the plane as well as fixing it, according to Defense One.

"This contract modification is to modify commercial manuals, update with VC-25B-specific information and deliver integrated manuals for the VC-25B system," the Air Force contract announcement states, referring to the military designation of the next Air Force One aircraft. "This includes manuals developed by both Boeing and their subcontractors."

President Trump has prioritized buying a new Air Force One since 2016, before he moved into the White House.

He previously said that the then-$4.4 billion price tag was "out of control" and made a deal with former Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg in 2018 to cut the price down to $3.9 billion.

The Air Force later revealed that the price tag did not include all aspects of the project, Defense One noted. Another $1.4 billion will go toward building a new aircraft hangar at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington D.C., as well as testing, spare parts and training exercises.

Altogether, the project is estimated to cost $5.3 billion, with the $84 million manuals included in that estimate, Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Defense One.

The Air Force would not disclose the price it paid Boeing for the aircrafts themselves, citing that the company requested not to reveal individual pricing as part of the deal.

People familiar with the program told Defense One that the costs are not abnormal, noting that updates to a structural repair manual section for a Navy P-8 Poseidon in 2018 amounted to $31 million.

While the VC-25B is considered a modified variant of the Boeing 747-8, the addition of interior offices and a communications center make it a far different aircraft, which reportedly requires double the amount of electrical wiring compared to most of Boeing's other models.

The Air Force confirmed Boeing began renovations on two 747-8s last month in San Antonio, Texas.

The planes set to be modified into VC-25Bs will not be available for usage until 2024, according to the earliest estimation.

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