Historic Air Force One Visits Maui Next Week

The President of the United States will travel on Monday to Maui. We are filled with emotion simply because the arrival represents the enormity of the disaster here.

When the Biden’s arrive on Monday, following a more than 10-hour nonstop trip from Washington DC, it will mark only the second time in history that a Commander-in-Chief has officially been on the Valley Isle.

President Franklin Roosevelt visited Maui in 1943.

A rare visit to Maui by a U.S. president.

This will not be the first time a president has been here, but to our knowledge, it will be only the second visit of a sitting president in an official capacity. It is reported that the first-ever presidential visit was in 1934. See more about that visit below.

Dixie Clipper – how Roosevelt flew to Hawaii.

Roosevelt was incidentally also the first sitting president to fly on an airplane aboard the Dixie Clipper/Boeing 314 when he attended a conference in Casablanca, Morocco. The plane was equipped with an elevator so that Roosevelt could be accommodated in his wheelchair. It isn’t clear from the record, but the passengers may have needed to wear oxygen masks since planes at that time weren’t equipped with pressurized cabins for higher altitudes.

Other presidential visits to Maui, and Hawaii in general, have been mainly related to the military, the economy, or much-needed vacations, as with Hawaii visitors. President Biden’s trip is the first crisis-related visit to Maui.

Timeline of presidential visits to Hawaii.

Many presidents have visited Honolulu since Hawaii became the 50th state. In part because of Hawaii’s strategic location and home of the United States Pacific Command. These visits include the following:

1963, President John F. Kennedy visited Honolulu.

1966, President Lyndon Johnson visited Honolulu for meetings during the Vietnam War.

1975, President Gerald Ford visited and presented an address at the University of Hawaii. That was focused on Hawaii’s role in the relations between the US and Pacific countries.

1986, President Ronald Reagan gave remarks during a visit to Hickam Air Force Base/Honolulu International Airport.

1991, President George H.W. Bush came to Hawaii and visited Pearl Harbor to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Japanese attack, which marked the U.S. joining WWII.

1994, President Bill Clinton visited Hawaii on his way back to Washington from an extensive visit to Asia. He stayed at the Kaneohe Marine Base.

2003, President George W. Bush visited Honolulu when returning from an economic forum that took place in Asia.

2009-2017, President Barrack Obama. Born in Hawaii, Obama visited many times during and after his presidency. He owns a home on Oahu, which has been the subject of some local controversy. Obama also had official visits here in the islands that started when he was United States Senator from Illinois between 2005-2008.

2017, President Donald Trump spent one day in Honolulu at the beginning of an official trip to Asia.

The flying Oval Office comes to Maui.

The president will arrive on a specially configured 747-200B or a specially configured 757. They both feature very long-range flying, aerial refueling, and self-sufficiency at airports anywhere in the world.

It has 4,000 square feet of interior space.

According to Boeing, the Air Force One amenities include:

Conference/dining room
Quarters for the president and the first lady
An office area for senior staff members
Another office that converts into a medical facility when necessary
Work and rest areas for the presidential staff, media representatives and Air Force crews
Two galleys that can provide 100 meals at one sitting
Multi-frequency radios for air-to-air, air-to-ground and satellite communications

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34 thoughts on “Historic Air Force One Visits Maui Next Week”

  1. Kahalui Airport’s RW 02/20 should present no problem for AF-1. The pilots are highly skilled and the airplane will be relatively “light” even tho’ we’re speaking of a B-747.

    I would vote for the B-747 over a USMC helo for the 95+/- miles (82NM) trip across the water any day, anyway. I mean … if they go into HNL and swap birds — that translates into two stops, aircraft change, helo less comfortable, helo noisy ride, and where are all the staffers gonna’ sit on said USMC helo??

    We used to regularly land at Saipan 07/25 (8700′) and while you had to “pay attention” (and when didn’t we?) it was no problem. And we’d regularly use HNL RW 04R/22L early morning after an all-night transpac for noise abatement and usually make the “early” turnoff.

    Even using the “long” main landing runway at HNL — RW 08L/26R (12,000′ + a little) we’d land and make Yankee turnoff to the gates. That’s right around a rollout 7,000′ + a little if memory serves.

    So IMO, it’s the B-747 all day long. It was God’s and Boeing’s gift to jet aviation. Obviously, I still miss the ol’ Girl … but retirement certainly is no slouch, either. (Aloha and smiles)

    1. Hi DICKIE_D.

      Thanks for that! We’ll look forward to seeing that on Monday and just wish it wasn’t coming for this reason.


  2. Would be interesting to see from an aviation standpoint. I did find an article stating it could land and takeoff from a 7000 ft runway. Maui is just 2 ft. short of that. I’m betting though they will go to Oahu first and shuttle over. Keep your eyes out BOH.

  3. Why do you assume the plane he will be on will be a 747-200? Any plane the president is on has the call sign Air Force One, including the 757’s, which are also in the presidential fleet. The 757 has the range from Joint Base Andrews to Maui, and can land on the OGG runway, but it will probably stop to refuel (and maybe make a political stop) in California. I’m betting on the 757. Any takers? Guess we will have to wait and see.

    1. Hi Rob.

      Thanks for that. We’ll bet on the 747, due to the comfort at least, but yes we’ll see and will be thinking of you when we know. Is that 757 specially modified in terms of distance? If not, then it would not be capable of flying to Hawaii.


      1. Yes, the 757’s (designated C32A’s in the fleet) in the Presidential fleet are modified. They can fly 5,500 nautical miles (6,325 regular miles) without refueling. The distance from Washington DC (Joint Base Andrews, where the fleet is housed) to Maui is 4792 miles as the crow flies. Well within the range of the aircraft. But if the 757 is used, I still bet it will refuel in California, probably a non-publicized stop. Also, I bet C-17’s will fly to Maui ahead of time to transport Marine One helicopters, and probably the “Beast”, the Prez’s limo, and Secret Service vehicles. It’s a huge (and costly) operation.

    2. Word in the news is that the President is vacationing a few days in Lake Tahoe before Maui so not quite. 10-hour trip after all

    3. Correct, 757. 747 can’t land or take off or both on Maui’s very short runway, about 7000 ft. Reno has 11.000 ft and a 9,000 ft runways, so the 747 is there.

  4. You left out a presidential Hawaii visit. In 2971 or 2972 President Nixon made a stopover on Oahu on his historic trip to China. He landed at Kaneohe MCAS and spent the night. He spoke briefly to a crowd about his trip. I was there. Just can’t remember specific year but early seventies as I left Hawaii in 1974.

  5. Just shows how dumb our presidents have been…if I were president you’d be seein’ a lot of me in Maui🤣. Jussayin.

  6. Aloha, Editors
    For all the hating I have seen on social media I hope that we remember the President is here to help and he is still a guest to our islands. As you said he will be here because of the magnitude of the tragedy. This will draw even more attention to the world of what has happened. Make the most of it Maui, and the rest of us. Show the world what Aloha means.

  7. As a historian, I love this column! Thank you for sharing the wealth of information. I arrived on Maui last Tuesday and made it to my place in Napili about an hour before the fire broke out (again). I am so glad to see that relief efforts are finally underway in more than the ad hoc manner that existed last week.

  8. If you can’t make a political comment, then there is not much to say. However, on another platform where political comments are allowed, it is apparent how Maui residents feel about the president’s visit.

  9. they’re having a tough enough time as it is. what good could come of having him disrupt all the life saving efforts and rebuilding. taking half the police force to escort him around. absolutely ridiculous !!!!

    1. That is exactly why he delayed his trip so as to not hamper the rescue operation. You don’t think The President should visit a Hawaiian Island that has nearly been destroyed? The worst fire disaster for the US in a century. Auwe!

  10. I am curious how AF1 will get out of OGG. When a 747 mistakenly landed on a short runway in Wichita a few years ago, mistaking it for Wichita’s main airport, they had to lightly load it with fuel in order to take off.

    Perhaps he will fly to Kaneohe or HNL/Hickam and shuttle over on Marine One, or they will stop there on the way home to fuel up.

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