9:40 am on a wet and grey Sunday morning in Seattle saw the first flight of an aircraft with a tumultuous history. This wasn’t a 787 or the A350, this was a Boeing aircraft that has not had much in the way of press in recent times. However, in the past that was a different story.
The first 767-2C, the prototype that will lead to the beginning of the KC-46 program took to the air for the first time. With it, over 12 years of history will see the USAF’s new tanker project finally start to fly.
The first flight of the 767-2C is not technically a KC-46 Pegasus tanker, but the first of four aircraft destined for the testing of this unique aircraft. A hybrid aircraft of sorts,- made up of the fuselage of a 767-200, the wings of a -300ER, and then throw in the cockpit of Boeing’s latest aircraft, the 787, and you have this almost frankensteinish aircraft that will perform, what some think of as, the most unnatural of airborne feets, refueling other aircraft mid-flight.
Boeing’s history, not only with tankers but with this program alone, could fill page after page. Let’s try and condense it down, shall we?