Mitt Romney flies U2's plane; Paul Ryan's aircraft is as old as he is
CNN obtained photos of Mitt Romney's charter airplane in Lakeland, Florida on Thursday, which now has his campaign slogan, "Believe in America," emblazoned on its side.
September 1st, 2012
07:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Mitt Romney flies U2's plane; Paul Ryan's aircraft is as old as he is

Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan showed off the campaign's new planes shining in the bright Florida sun Friday, but the aircraft are hardly brand new.

The Republican presidential candidate's aircraft is a MD-83 built by McDonnell Douglas in 1990, according to FAA records.

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Paul Ryan's plane is a DC-9-32, constructed by the same company in 1970, which also happens to be the same year the 42 year old vice presidential candidate was born.

Both aircraft, leased by the campaign from a charter company, were unveiled Friday at a rally in Lakeland, Florida emblazed with "Believe in America" on their sides and a distinctive "R" for Romney on the tails.

Romney's plane was previously personalized for the band U2's 360 tour, complete with the lyric "The future needs a big kiss" emblazoned on the nose.

The aircraft types the campaign chose have been workhorses for commercial passenger airlines for decades, recognizable by the two engines attached to the rear of the plane and two seats on one side of the aisle and three on the other in economy class. For the campaign planes, however, the charter company has fitted the aircraft with business class style seats.

The candidates and staffers sit in the front of the plane in an area separated by a curtain while Secret Service and the traveling press corps fill out the rest of the aircraft.

Romney's plane is nearly 30 feet longer than Ryan's and has two onboard kitchens, while Ryan's only has one galley near the front.

The distance the planes can travel differs, too. Romney's plane is listed by the charter company as having a range of more than five hours and 2750 miles, or roughly the equivalent of a flight from Miami to Seattle. Ryan's plane has a range of only 1600 miles, which could take him from Boston to Dallas without refueling.

Neither aircraft is listed as having an accident in the NTSB's accident database, and their age is not uncommon for charter aircraft.

President Obama, of course, usually travels in one of two specially outfitted 747s. The planes, first used as Air Force One in 1990, are each nearly as long as Romney and Ryan's aircraft combined. Taxpayers foot the bill for the president's official trips on Air Force One, while the campaign pays a portion of expenses for political trips, roughly the equivalent of the cost of a comparable charter flight, as outlined by federal regulations.

Romney's plane has a smaller capacity than most recent presidential candidates’ aircraft. In 2008, John McCain flew in a 737 that was slightly larger and Obama flew in a significantly bigger 757. A 757 was also John Kerry's choice in 2004 and George Bush's in 2000.

Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin had a newer Embraer 190 plane in 2008 that had about the same capacity as Ryan's, and then-Sen. Joe Biden flew in a 737 that was not personalized for the campaign, instead remaining in the charter company's paint scheme.

- CNN Political Producer Shawna Shepherd contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Is this made in china, having full of stashed money fron CAYMAN ISLANDS with all TAX-EVADING money???idiot of GOP is a total nonsense to USA, a truthful statement.
    PS: GOP is this the best you offer??? Shame.

    September 1, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  2. Jack in Florida

    They fail to mention that besides being old, they are gas guzzlers. What carbon foot print are the leaving on their campaign trail??? Oh that's right, they don't care about the environment and there is no such thing as global warming. How could I forget?!?!?

    September 1, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  3. gt

    go double r"s....lets start over...and get the economey going

    September 1, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  4. Anonymous

    Is that the Cayman Island flag on the tail ?

    September 1, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. JM

    He hides his money in Cayman island and Swiss bank acounts, and was the creator of outsourcing jobs to India and China, and now runs a believe in America campaign, what a joke.

    September 1, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Flying the Cayman Island flag ?

    September 1, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  7. enuff

    Why does it make a difference if U2 chartered it before? Romney is not a rock star so quit trying to paint a pcture like he is. 2nd; his humanitarium efforts will never compare to U2s. Does Bono know that CNN is trying to compare Romney to him? 3rd, who cares who has the bigger jet? Is this a masculinity comparison? 4th, why do they just travel the USA in a chevrolet? They'd get better mileage, get to see how the po' folks live and see how mu7ch things actually cost. Not to mention, support small business and show off an american made vehicle.... oh, I forgot. Romney wanted the automakers to fail. Never mind.

    September 1, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  8. Marie MD

    And we care because? I take it that his private plane with the dog crate on top is not big enough to herd the reporters inside?

    September 1, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. 1twinsfan

    Touring hurricane stricken areas of LA, Romney told a woman who had lost her home and was looking for help to go back home and call 211 for assistance. Romney also referred to the United States as a company.

    September 1, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. ted

    Obama has a much better ride than these two clowns and a better ride than anyone in the world. AF1 is by far the best plane in the world. Keep flying that old POS Romney. Good luck.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 1, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Thomas

    Dose Romney have an aircraft elevator ?

    September 1, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. Seattle11

    I find it ironic that Romney would fly in a blue plane.

    September 1, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. george of the jungle

    what no comments from the repos on spending money by mittens ?? double standard. Every time the president goes some place some idiot repo complaines about the cost. Wonder is Ann gets to use it too. And why doesn't mitt use his own plane instead of leasing this one?? Sow us your taxes dude.

    September 1, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Ken

    You forgot to mention that the President's big plane (747) is funded by the American Taxpayer. Am I correct? Second, you should point out the fact that Romney and Ryan are very smart and prudent is their spending. Maybe Obama should take note and travel on a smaller plane and save a few dollars. What a skewered and out of touch reporter.

    September 1, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |

    For info, it's McDonnell Douglas, not "McDonald"!

    September 1, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Gurgyl

    This guy is Ferdinand Marco. Pathetic idiot.

    September 1, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |