Thursday, February 08, 2007

So, Nancy Pelosi Wants An Airplane...

And not just any old airplane will do for Nancy Pelosi, the queen of the House of Representatives.

Ms. Pelosi wants to be able to fly from Washington, DC to San Francisco, CA in comfort and style far beyond her station in life, and the meanies at the DOD aren't bowing down to her demands!

DOD wants to make available to Queen Nancy a C20B (known in the civilian world as a Gulfstream III), shown here:

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And here:

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Before I get into the specifications of the 12 passenger C20B, do you want to see what the interior looks like? How about this one:

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Or this:

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OK, here's some information from the US Air Force, about their fleet of C20Bs at Andrews AFB:

Length: C-20B, 83 feet, 2 inches (25.4 meters)
Height: 24 feet, 6 inches (7.5 meters)
Wingspan: 77 feet, 10 inches (23.7 meters)
Speed: 576 mph (501 nautical miles per hour) maximum
Maximum Takeoff Weight: C-20B, 69,700 pounds (31,610 kilograms)
Range: C-20B, 4,250 miles (3,698 nautical miles) long-range
Ceiling: 45,000 feet (13,716 meters)
Load: 12 passengers
Crew: Five (pilot, copilot, flight engineer, communication system operator, flight attendant)
Date Deployed: C-20B, 1988
Inventory: C-20B, Active force, 5 (at AAFB)

Now, this airplane didn't meet Pelosi's high standards. Last night Ms. Pelosi talked about the "size dispute" with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News:

(begin transcript)
VAN SUSTEREN: There's a story out there about this dispute over an airplane. What — according to the Washington Times, this morning, is that there is a battle between — my word "battle" — between your office and the White House, maybe the Defense Department, about what type of aircraft — I know that Speaker Hastert had Air Force aircraft after 9/11 to transport him for security reasons, since he's second in line succession, now that's your job. What's the dispute? And what's the story?

PELOSI: Well, the — this is about transportation. It's not about a plane. Myself, I wish I didn't have to have so much security, because I like my freedom of mobility, but being, second in line of succession, and since 9/11, Mr. Hastert had that transportation provided. It was thought by the sergeant of arms office, who provides for the security for Congress that, that should be continued. It's their call as to what security is needed for the speaker of the House, and they requested that.

Where the misrepresentations and mischaracterizations came from, I don't know, perhaps the Defense Department, because I've been one of their critics. But I'll say this, I know it didn't come from the president of the United States. Because he has been, if anything, very definite in saying to me, you need to have the security you have. So, this isn't about.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's about the size of the plane. I think that's what the dispute was.

PELOSI: It was the distance.

VAN SUSTEREN: The distance — oh, well, you're from California, we can't do anything about that.

PELOSI: The distance.


PELOSI: Nor do we want to.

VAN SUSTEREN: Right. And Speaker Hastert was Illinois, the mid-part of the country.

PELOSI: That's right.

VAN SUSTEREN: But I thought that the dispute was somewhat over whether it was the three Air Force planes, one is about the size of a 757, one's a 737, and one's about the size of a Gulf Stream, those are the three that are — seem to be in discussion.

PELOSI: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any — I mean, is there any problem with the - - are you actually asking for a particular size?


VAN SUSTEREN: Or is it just a plane that can go a particular distance?

PELOSI: Well, no, they told me the first day that I was supposed to go that I couldn't make it across the country. And I said well, that's fine, I'm going commercial. I don't — you know, I'm not asking to go on that plane. If you need to take me there for security purposes, you're going to have to get a plane that goes across the country, because I'm going home to my family.

The — and, and — really, I'm happy to go commercial. But they want me to go on this plane, so the issue was distance, not size. And again, it's not about having a plane. It's about having transportation. These planes are used for other purposes in between — in between trips, which are, you know, take place one or twice a week, going or coming. So, it isn't about that. But there are probably those in the Department of Defense who are not happy with my criticism of Secretary Rumsfeld, the war in Iraq, other waste, fraud and abuse in the Defense Department and I guess this is their way of making their voices heard. But it has nothing to do, as I say, with the president of the United States. He has encouraged my having the security I need.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I have sort of a solution, maybe if we put on the Internet, everybody in the government who uses these planes and, you know, when they go, so people on the Internet..

PELOSI: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: Because, look, you know, as a citizen, you know, I sometimes see whether it's a Republican administration or Democrat, I see people showing up at the same event on different planes, instead of carpooling on the plane, occasionally, not often, but if we put on the Internet, let the voters see, and let the voters decide.

PELOSI: Well, I'm happy to be rid of all the security that I have, as I say, I like my independence and my mobility. They have a job to do. It's not just only about protecting me, as the speaker of the House, it's about making sure they know where I am at any given moment, so, in case of a — something happening in our country. The speaker, the leaders in the House and the Senate have to be pulled together immediately, so that's part of it as well. But it's interesting to me that somebody at the Pentagon decided that they would misrepresent, mischaracterize this, but again. I know it's not coming from the president of the United States.

(end transcript)

Oh, Nancy I do think that it's all about the size of the aircraft. The range of the 12 passenger Gulfstream III (aka C20B in military) is 3,698 nautical miles, which would get you from Andrews Air Force Base in Suitland, MD to San Francisco, CA (2,610 nm) with more than a few miles to spare.

This is the airplane that the Queen Granny wants, the 45 passenger and 16 crew Boeing 757-200 (aka C32 in military):

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Here's some information from the US Air Force on the C32:

The C-32 is a specially configured version of the Boeing 757-200 commercial intercontinental airliner. The C-32 body is identical to that of the Boeing 757-200, but has different interior furnishings and 21st century avionics. The passenger cabin is divided into four sections:

-- The forward area has a communications center, galley, lavatory and 10 business class seats.

-- The second section is a fully enclosed stateroom for the use of the primary passenger. It includes a changing area, private lavatory, separate entertainment system, two first-class swivel seats and a convertible divan that seats three and folds out to a bed.

-- The third section contains the conference and staff facility with eight business class seats.

-- The rear section of the cabin contains general seating with 32 business-class seats, galley, two lavatories and closets.

C32 Specifications, also from the USAF link above:

Primary Function: High-priority personnel transport

Length: 155 feet, 3 inches (47.32 meters)
Height: 44 feet, 6 inches (11.02 meters)
Wingspan: 124 feet, 8 inches (37.99 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 255,000 pounds (115,668 kilograms)
Range: 5,500 nautical miles unrefueled range
Ceiling: 42,000 feet (12,727 meters)
Speed: 530 miles per hour (Mach 0.8)
Load: 45 passengers
Crew: 16 (varies with mission)
Date Deployed: June 19, 1998
Inventory: Active force, 4

Sorry, but there are no interior images available for this aircraft. If you really want to see what the interior of the C32 looks like, you could probably Google around and find images of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice traveling to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and other far-off places in this aircraft. Yes, Nancy Pelosi wants to use the airplane that takes large government entourages around the globe, to get her across the country.

And she talks about ending the waste, fraud and abuse in the US Government?

Hey, Nance... take the plank out of your eye!