Mon, May 23, 2005
International Effort Gets Off The Ground
Boeing test pilots took
the first Italian Air Force KC-767A advanced aerial refueling
tanker on its maiden flight Saturday. The aircraft, named Italy
KC-767A#1, took off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita and
flew for more than one hour to begin its flying and aerial
refueling certification test program.
"We are extremely proud of the KC-767A's maiden flight, " said
Lt Col Roberto Poni, the on-site Italian Air Force liaison officer
to the tanker program in a statement. "Together we have managed
some significant challenges and, together, we will perfect this
much needed asset."
"Boeing has a great
launch customer in the Italian Air Force," said Jim O'Neill, Boeing
vice president and Tanker program manager. "This is a completely
new aerial refueling aircraft, designed with capabilities uniquely
suited for the security needs of today and tomorrow."
Employees, suppliers and customers viewed the new Italian tanker
take flight. The aircraft has an open architecture cockpit and
advanced aerial refueling boom with a remote aerial refueling
The new tanker will undergo an extensive flight test and aerial
refueling certification program. Boeing is scheduled to deliver the
aircraft next spring.
Workers of Smiths
Aerospace joined Boeing in the celebration. Smiths Aerospace
provides the mission control system and aerial refueling systems
along with other critical components.
"This first flight is a significant step forward in the success
of the 767 tanker program," said John Ferrie, President of Smiths
Aerospace in a statement. "Our employees share in the pride with
Boeing, providing key systems in mission control and aerial
refueling critical to operational success."
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