Earlier in the year, The Boeing Company finished up the flight tests for the newest model of the KC-46 Pegasus wide-body, a plane used to re-fuel other squad member’s during flight. Now they are waiting on word from the FAA to see if their new tankers can fly legally. More certifications are needed on this aircraft than normal because it is classified as a tanker, meaning it may take longer for the tanker to become airworthy.
This new model is based off a classic Boeing 767 with some modifications to allow for refueling multiple planes. The tanker can also be re-fueled itself by other planes, which required a few tweaks to the previous model. The new tanker model is being built in Boeings private Everett location, just north of Seattle, Washington, and testing is taking place in Seattle proper.
The draw of building a new tanker, like the KC-46A, is the fact that it’s a multitasking dream. Not only can it re-fuel other planes in its squadron but it can also handle a load of cargo, quite a few passengers, and if needed, individuals who need medical attention.
The KC-46 has successful flown with seven different types of aircrafts and logged over 2,000 miles in flight. Even though the delivery, and implementation, of the KC-46 line is still some ways out, the fact that they successfully passed flight tests means its one huge step closer to being air worthy.
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