What do you suppose could be done with $11.2 billion? That's the cost of the mushrooming VH-71 project, the next generation of presidential helicopters. After 9/11, the White House decided it needed twenty-eight helicopters with more bells and whistles.
The chief mission of the helicopter -- it's Marine One when the president is aboard -- is to take him to the airport. The new helicopter -- at $400 million -- will cost more than the current Air Force One did. Harvard prof and occasional aviation writer Philip Greenspun notes that a handful of cheap (comparatively) everyday helicopters could accomplish the same task as safely.