A Boeing KC-46A Pegasus team conducted testing at Travis Air Force Base, California, on March 7-10.
This testing was a combined effort between Boeing Test & Evaluation and the 418th Flight Test Squadron, Detachment 1, both of which are co-located at Boeing’s facility in Seattle, Washington.
“The KC-46A is at Travis AFB to conduct military and Federal Aviation Administration certification testing,” said Capt. Dylan Neidorff, 418th FLTS KC-46 test operations engineer. The team of 48 Boeing and four Air Force personnel accomplished both ground and flight testing during the four-day trip.
“We decided to come to Travis since the base is right in the temperature band required for the testing,” said Neidorff (temperatures in Northern California average between 50-70°F).
“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, test director for Boeing Test & Evaluation. “At another base we would’ve needed at least four other fuel trucks.”
“We also saw Travis AFB as a target of opportunity since they are to be one of the next KC-46 bases for AMC,” Neidorff added.
In January, Air Force officials announced Travis, as well as Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, as preferred locations for the next active duty-led bases for the service’s most modern aerial-refueling aircraft.
Since a KC-46 had never landed at Travis, the 60th Operations Support Squadron first needed to figure out how it could support.
“We did the proper research,” said Maj. Matthew Bartomeo, 60th OSS assistant director of operations. “Travis can absorb requests like this because we are built to do it.”
The airfield on base runs 24/7 operations, 365 days a year. It has one of the busiest aerial port squadrons in the Air Force and regularly supports transient aircraft.
Bartomeo and Maj. Brad Echols, also an ADO with the 60th OSS, worked with the 418th FLTS, Det. 1, to ensure the KC-46 would have fuel availability, a parking space and required maintenance supplies.
According to Air Force officials, the first KC-46As are expected to begin arriving at McConnell AFB, Kansas, and Altus AFB, Oklahoma, in the autumn of 2017.
March 23, 2017