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VH-53D Sea Stallion

The VH-53D Sea Stallion is a variant of the CH-53 Sea Stallion heavy lift helicopter used for VIP transport. Two of these helicopters have been on loan to the White House since at least the late 1980s. These can be configured to transport personel or cargo. The two CH-53s were painted in the "Executive" "United States of America" scheme. They are assigned to HMX-1 but like the CH-46E they were not intended to carry the President, but rather to carry the press and other VIPs that travel with the President.

The culture of Washington has been transformed by the events of September 11th. When the president does move, he doesn't travel in the usual helicopter. Returning from Camp David, Bush and the first lady arrive in a VH-53D - a bigger, faster bird also used by Air Force special forces.

The other HMX-1 helicopters lacked the size to accommodate the needed security equipment. So many security features had been added to the other helicopters that they have limited their carrying capacity. Sikorsky's CH-3D Marine One was built to carry as many as 16 people, though now only 10 people are allowed onboard.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:39:13 ZULU