US Air Force’s Boeing KC-46A Pegasus concludes first airborne test

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December 6, 2017: The first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus aerial-refuelling tanker recently conducted its first airborne test at the Paine Field (also known as Snohomish County Airport), which is expected to be delivered to the US Air Force next year.

Col. John Newberry, system program manager of the US Air Force KC-46 said: “It’s another milestone for the US Air Force and Boeing team as it helps us move closer to delivering operational aircraft to the war fighter.”

According to reports, the Boeing test pilots flew the aerial refuelling tanker to an altitude of 39,000 feet, and conducted operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems, which is a part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved flight profile. The team also undertook a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation before subsequent flights.

“We are proud of Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker, which brings the state-of-the-art capabilities to the US Air Force,” says Mike Gibbons, vice president and program manager of Boeing KC-46A tanker.

“We still have some tough work ahead of us, including completing our FAA certification activities as our team is committed to ensure that post delivery, the tanker meets all expectation of our customer,” he said.

According to reports, the new tanker is the seventh KC-46 aircraft to fly till date. The earlier six are currently being used for testing and certification, and have completed 2,200 flight hours and over 1,600 ‘contacts’ during refuelling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft.

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