The Assault on Air Force One was an aerial attack aboard the airplane of the President that was launched by Eric Savin, under orders from Aldrich Killian, using a Iron Patriot suit stolen from James Rhodes.
In an attempt to bring an end to the Mandarin's reign of terror, Rhodes was dispatched around the Middle East in redesigned War Machine armor – bearing the moniker of the Iron Patriot – to run down leads on the terrorist's whereabouts, however, none of the locations proved correct. While liberating a sweatshop staffed with women, however, Rhodes was attacked by an Extremis enhance who disabled his armor with a blast of energy.
The Iron Patriot armor was then delivered, with Rhodes still inside, to the compound of Aldrich Killian, where Rhodes was eventually forced to abandon his suit when Killian superheated the suit. Rhodes attacked Savin, but was subdued by Killian as Savin suited up as the Iron Patriot and left the compound to meet up with President Ellis. Rhodes escaped custody and met up with Tony Stark, who had discovered the compound in his search for the Mandarin, and the two attempted to warn Vice President Rodriguez of the threat to the President.
Rodriguez assured them that he would relay the message to Secret Service, but subsequently did not, having secretly agreed to a deal with Killian: after the assassination of the President and the ascension of Rodriguez to the White House, Rodriguez planned to rubberstamp defense contracts for Killian's company in exchange for receiving the Extremis serum to treat his daughter's infirmity.
Savin then met with Ellis and boarded Air Force One; at five o'clock, he proceeded to the President's conference room and killed everyone except for Ellis. Savin then forced Ellis into the Iron Patriot armor, which was remotely programmed to fly the President to a salvaged Roxxon oil tanker.
As Savin attempted to parachute from the plane, he was attacked by Stark's remotely-piloted Mark 42 suit. Savin nearly disabled Stark's armor, blasting a hole in the tail-end of the plane that dragged more than a dozen passengers out into freefall. The Mark 42 then killed Savin with a single blast from its chest repulsor before leaping from the plane, which subsequently broke up and exploded in flight.
The Mark 42 proceeded to execute a midair rescue of all thirteen passengers, picking them up individually to form a human chain and slowing their descent in order to deposit them safely in a river.
The abduction of President Ellis led to a rescue operation by Stark and Rhodes that resulted in a skirmish aboard the Narco.