The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus aerial refuelling aircraft test programme has successfully completed flight flutter tests on EMD 1 aircraft, marking the conclusion of an integral part of the certification process.
Flutter testing is a prime requisite for aircraft capabilities testing that ensures the design of the new aircraft is structurally sound.
The completion of this testing will result in an expanded flight envelope and the ability to safely put more crew on board for further testing.
In addition, the testing included the wing aerial refuelling pods (WARP) and a stowed refuelling boom.
A Boeing spokesman said this new development allows the aircraft to fly in the tanker configuration with the boom stowed, Flightglobal reported. He also added that there is currently no firm date for the first flight.
"Right now it looks to be roughly a month beyond our previous plan to fly EMD-2 in the late August to early September timeframe," the spokesman was quoted as saying.
Developed from the Boeing 767-200ER, the US Air Force’s KC-46 is a military aerial refuelling and strategic transport aircraft, designed to replace the USAF’s ageing fleet of KC-135 Stratotankers, which served as its primary refuelling aircraft for more than 50 years.
The USAF is scheduled to take delivery of 18 KC-46 aircraft from Boeing, which starts from 2017 and will continue until 2028, with initial flight of the first aircraft scheduled for late-2014.
The KC-46 programme has been delayed due to wiring and supplier issues in addition to the recent chemical mix-up during fuel system testing and other design issues.
Boeing conducted a successful test flight for KC-46 earlier this year using 767-2C.
Image: Boeing’s first KC-46 tanker test aircraft, a 767-2C, takes off from Paine Field on its inaugural flight 28 December 2014. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.