Donald Trump’s Boeing 757 refurbished and back in West Palm Beach


Whether Donald Trump is ready to take off for another presidential bid remains up in the air, but his legendary Boeing 757 is definitely taking off.

According to flight data studied and analyzed by CNN and aviation experts consulted by CNN, Trump’s jet spent several hours over the past week flying over a small airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana, likely testing various updated components before heading to the Palm Beach International Airport, where it arrived Wednesday night. Trump previously indicated the plane would be in Louisiana for repairs.

The plane’s arrival in West Palm Beach comes less than three weeks before the 2022 midterm elections and the political world is constantly watching as Trump announces a new candidacy for the White House. As Trump’s world has felt beleaguered with multiple investigations and lawsuits filed against him, the return of the so-called « Trump Force One » to its home base could come as a shock to Trump fans.

The plane’s arrival at the airport which is just 15 minutes from Mar-a-Lago is a significant indicator that not only is it airworthy – the 31-year-old jumbo jet had been inactive for the past four years of Trump’s presidency and many months beyond — he may be preparing to take on his old life as Trump’s biggest campaign prop.

CNN has reached out to a representative for Donald Trump to comment on the plane’s activity and has yet to hear back. The plane seemed to be used Saturday as Trump traveled to Texas for a rally, according to a tweet of Trump aide Dan Scavino Jr.

Trump’s jet has made a series of short flight loops at different altitudes twice in recent days, taking off and landing at Chennault International Airport in Louisiana. Some of the flights lasted less than 10 minutes, according to the data, and did not exceed altitudes of 3,000 feet. Others lasted longer, 20 to 30 minutes, at altitudes ranging from 9,000 to 23,000 feet.

“It is common that after an aircraft has undergone upgrades – or other new equipment or general avionics adjustments – pilots conduct a series of test flights to ensure safety and operation,” said Peter Goelz, former CEO of the National Transportation Safety Board. . « The series of passes at different elevations, such as those made in Louisiana, are indicative of standard controls. »

The fact that the plane, which Trump bought in 2010 from the late Microsoft founder Paul Allen, has been upgraded to the point of flying is a recent development. In March 2021, CNN was the first to report that Trump’s once-ubiquitous 757 lay idle on the tarmac at a small airport in New York State with a shrink-wrapped, mechanically grounded engine. . He stayed just north of New York at Stewart Airport in New Windsor, New York, for several months before flying to Louisiana on Nov. 1, 2021, according to flight tracking information obtained by CNN.

That flight was presumably made with an engine worthy enough to earn the plane a special flight permit — or “ferry permit” — from the FAA, multiple experts told CNN. Permits allow registered aircraft to be approved for flight. According to FAA data, one reason for granting a ferry permit is if an aircraft is flying to a location where « repairs, modifications, or maintenance must be performed, or to a point of recovery. »

CNN has asked the FAA for confirmation of the ferry permit issued for Trump’s plane, which is owned by DJT Operations LLC, and has not yet received the information.

A standard series of passenger Boeing 757-200 has about 228 seats. Trump’s custom 757 features 43 seats, as well as a master bedroom, guest suite, dining room, VIP area and custom kitchen. Trump primarily flew to and from various destinations on his much smaller, eight-seat, 1997 Cessna 750 Citation X. This plane has a small Trump family crest painted on the fuselage, but does not have Trump’s giant name on the outside.

According to flight records, when Trump is not on the Citation, he typically flies on charter planes owned by other people.

Yet in July this year, the 757, a regular backdrop to Trump’s campaign appearances and rallies in the run-up to the 2016 election, was featured in a clever video posted by Eric Trump on social media. This video featured the 757 receiving a new paint job in a hangar in Louisiana.

« She’s back, » he wrote.

In the caption of the Instagram post of Eric Trump’s video, the former president was quoted teasing the revival of his beloved private jet, saying the glistening new exterior tune-up was done so that « Trump Force One » – the plane’s nickname – could be « back ». skyward in the fall of 2022, or possibly sooner.

The new paint reveal showed a cool gold « TRUMP » on the fuselage and a new addition of an American flag on the tail. The paint job was completed in 26 days, according to Landlocked Aviation’s Tyson Grenzebach, who in a July interview with Louisiana Radio Network said his company completely « scuffed, sanded and painted » Trump’s plane. .

Although the interior, exterior and — as of Wednesday — the sky value of Trump’s 757 appear to be updated, according to experts who spoke to CNN, the goal of preparing the plane for some sort of big midterm reveal or campaign announcement has yet to be confirmed by the former president.

For Trump, the plane is one of his most prized possessions. He oversaw renovations worth hundreds of thousands of dollars carried out on his prized estate shortly after taking possession; all metal inside the plane—lights, seat buckles, handles, latches, knobs—was plated with 24-karat gold.

In March of last year, following CNN’s story about the 757, Trump released a statement confirming that his plane was in « storage » and was being repaired.

« Once finished it will be better than ever and used again in future rallies! » Trump wrote at the time.

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