U.S. Air Force KC-46A Tanker Completes Successful First Flight

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U.S. Air Force KC-46A Tanker Completes Successful First Flight

#1

Postby Richard Cranium » Mon Sep 28, 2015 11:53 am

U.S. Air Force KC-46A Tanker Completes Successful First Flight

Flight paves the way to aerial refueling and Milestone C testing

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EVERETT, Wash., Sept. 25, 2015 – The Boeing [NYSE: BA] and U.S. Air Force team successfully completed the first flight of a KC-46A tanker aircraft today, taking off from Paine Field at 1:24 p.m. (PST) and landing four hours later at Boeing Field in Seattle.

This was the first flight of a KC-46A tanker-configured aircraft, following ongoing flights of the program’s first test aircraft, a 767-2C. During the flight, Boeing test pilots performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems and took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 35,000 feet prior to landing.

“This first tanker flight is a key milestone for the program and we’ll now begin free air stability tests and flight controls of the boom and wing aerial refueling pods (WARPs) before conducting aerial refueling tests where the KC-46 will make contact with other military aircraft down the road,” said Col. Christopher Coombs, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager.

“Today’s flight reinforces that we are moving in the right direction and are on track to begin planned Milestone C testing later this year,” said Tim Peters, Boeing KC-46 tanker vice president and program manager. “This is an aerospace industry first and the culmination of a lot of hard work by the team, including Boeing, our suppliers and the U.S. Air Force.”

The Boeing team now will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation prior to the next series of flights, during which the tanker boom and WARPs systems will be deployed. Before the end of the year, the KC-46 will begin conducting aerial refueling flights with a number of U.S. Air Force aircraft. Those flights, along with the mission systems demonstrations and a recently completed ground cargo handling test, will support the planned Milestone C decision in 2016.

As part of a contract awarded in 2011 to design and develop the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation tanker aircraft, Boeing is building four test aircraft – two are currently configured as 767-2Cs and two KC-46A tankers. The KC-46s will fly as fully equipped tankers through the FAA and military certification process, while the 767-2Cs enter flight test prior to receiving their upgrade to the KC-46A configuration and the addition of their aerial refueling systems.

The program’s first test aircraft (EMD-1), a 767-2C, has completed more than 150 flight test hours to date since making its first flight in December 2014.

The KC-46A is a multirole tanker Boeing is building for the U.S. Air Force that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients. Overall, Boeing plans to build 179 KC-46 aircraft for the U.S. Air Force.

source: Boeing

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Boeing KC-46A makes historic first flight after setbacks

#2

Postby four engine jock » Wed Oct 07, 2015 2:36 pm

Boeing’s first fully-configured KC-46A aerial refuelling tanker has begun its long-awaited first flight, lifting off from Paine Field in Washington today after some weather-related delays.

The 25 September flight to Boeing Field marks a significant step in the next-generation tanker programme, but comes approximately nine months behind schedule and almost five years after the Pegasus entered development.

"During this flight, they’ll check the basic integrity of the aircraft and exercise all the systems – operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems," a Boeing spokeswoman said in statement after takeoff at 1:24pm Pacific Time.

This first flight had been expected in late 2014, but significant missteps such as misplaced wiring and more recently a contaminated fuel system have repeatedly setback the multibillion-dollar development programme, which is working toward a Pentagon “milestone C” low-rate production decision, now expected in April 2016.

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Boeing’s first 767-2C prototype aircraft recently completed its airworthiness and flutter tests carrying a weight-representative boom and wing aerial refuelling pods (WARPs).

Unlike the 767-2C EMD-1 aircraft, the KC-46A (EMD-2) is fully configured to pass fuel to military receiver aircraft, and its performance over the next five or six months will determine the outcome of the Pentagon’s forthcoming milestone decision and award of the first and second low-rate initial production contracts – for seven and 12 operational aircraft respectively.

With the first flight complete, Boeing has little time to savour the moment and is working against the clock to burn through major test points as quickly as possible. This first flight lends some credibility to the company’s pledge to meet its contractual obligations of delivering 18 operational aircraft by August 2017.

Last week, USAF tanker programme executive Brig Gen Duke Richardson provided a roadmap for completing the development and test programme.

The general expects the KC-46A to release its boom and unreel the WARPs over the next couple of test flights to ensure they deploy and fly correctly.

Once done, EMD-2 will return to the fuel dock to test out the full refuelling system, including the boom, centreline drogue and WARPs. Then, the aircraft will begin free air stability testing and redeploy its boom and drogues as a confidence building exercise.

“We’ll fly the envelope we expect to fly in the milestone C demonstration points and make sure all the stuff is occurring properly,” says Richardson. “This is where we can give the receiver aircraft confidence they actually want to receive fuel from the KC-46, so we’re going to make sure folks are comfortable heading into the aerial refuelling demo.”

To support milestone decision, the KC-46 must pass fuel to six types of military aircraft that operate in varying flight envelopes, including another KC-46.

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Despite the schedule delays and more than $1 billion in cost overruns charged to Boeing, Richardson has confidence the company will deliver.

“When the fuel contamination hit, I thought it was going to take a lot longer than 30 days to get that airplane back out on the fuel dock,” he says. “[Boeing development chief Scott Fancher] was able to bring in resources from Boeing Commercial – additional mechanics – and they actually got that airplane rebuilt very, very quickly. I’m not going to give up on them, but as time goes on we’ll see if there’s realism in that confidence.”

If all goes according to plan, Boeing can expect orders for 179 tankers through 2028 and maybe more further along.

The KC-46 will eventually recapitalise the 53-year-old KC-135 and 31-year-old KC-10.

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Re: U.S. Air Force KC-46A Tanker Completes Successful First Flight

#3

Postby Bell 407 » Wed Oct 07, 2015 3:23 pm

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Re: U.S. Air Force KC-46A Tanker Completes Successful First Flight

#4

Postby 87Juliet » Wed Oct 07, 2015 4:49 pm

I posted some pics in the "guess the cockpit" thread


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Re: U.S. Air Force KC-46A Tanker Completes Successful First Flight

#5

Postby Moertoe Pilut » Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:29 pm

Since it's based upon a -200, maybe ZS-IJB can serve a better purpose.....


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