Military Embedded Systems

Air Force and Boeing test KC-46A tanker aircraft


March 22, 2017

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Amber Carter

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. The Boeing KC-46A Pegasus team recently concluded testing of the Air Force's newest refueling aircraft at Travis Air Force Base (situated in the San Francisco Bay area). The military and Federal Aviation Administration certification testing effort was a combined effort between Boeing Test and Evaluation and the Detachment 1/418th Flight Test Squadron, which are colocated at Boeing's Seattle facility.

Says Captain Dylan Neidorff, a 418th FLTS KC-46 test operations engineer, “We decided to come to Travis since the base is right in the temperature band required for the testing.” Historical temperatures in Northern California average between 50 and 70 degrees.

The team of 48 Boeing and four Air Force personnel accomplished both ground and flight testing of the KC-46A -- which is based on Boeing's 767 jet airliner -- during the four-day trip.

Several additional factors made Travis AFB the best choice for the tanker testing: “Because of this type of testing, we needed to offload all of our fuel. Travis has underground tanks, which makes it infinitely easier,” said Paul Briedé, the test director for Boeing Test and Evaluation. “At another base we would’ve needed at least four other fuel trucks.” Moreover, said Neidorff, "We also saw Travis AFB as a target of opportunity since they are to be one of the next KC-46 bases for (Air Mobility Command).”

Air Force officials say that the first KC-46As are expected to begin arriving at McConnell AFB in Kansas and Altus AFB in Oklahoma in fall 2017.


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