By Juliet Van Wagenen | March 4, 2016
|Boeing’s second KC-46 tanker (EMD-4) takes off from Paine Field in Everett on its first flight. The tanker landed later at Boeing Field in Seattle and will initially be used to test mission system avionics and exterior lighting. Photo: Gail Hanusa, Boeing|
[Avionics Today 03-04-2016] The Boeing test team successfully completed the first flight of the program’s second KC-46A tanker aircraft on March 3, taking off from Paine Field and landing later at Boeing Field in Seattle, Wash. During the flight, Boeing test pilots performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems.
“Adding a second tanker to the flight test program is very important as we move into the next phase of testing,” said Col. John Newberry, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager. “The team will initially use the aircraft to test mission system avionics and exterior lighting. Later, it will share the air refueling effort with the first KC-46.”
The Boeing team now will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation prior to the next series of flights. As part of the overall flight test program, the KC-46 will demonstrate it can refuel 18 different aircraft. The second tanker will help share the test load and receiver certification.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a contract in 2011 to design and develop the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation tanker aircraft and is building four test aircraft — two are currently configured as 767-2Cs and two as KC-46A tankers.