Wednesday, December 17, 2014



Boeing is planning for first flight of its 767-2C – upon which the U.S. Air Force’s new KC-46 tanker will be based – by year’s end, six months late.

The delay is due to a poor design by Boeing for the wiring bundles needed for the aircraft. The original design lacked required safe separation for some of the wiring as required by the Air Force; Boeing discovered the problem and reported it to the government.

The first flight test window for the 767-2C – which includes wiring, plumbing, doors and floors – is set for Dec. 27 with a backup one day later, USAF Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson, program executive officer for tankers, said in an interview with Aviation Week.

This first flight for engineering and manufacturing development (EMD)-1 aircraft is critical toward the next first flight milestone. EMD-2, the first fully configured KC-46 aerial refueler, is slated to take to the skies in April.

Any delay to this first KC-46A flight past April jeopardizes the schedule for a milestone production decision expected by Pentagon acquisition czar Frank Kendall in September, Richardson says.