First Tanker Flight Slips Again

The first flight of the all-up KC-46 tanker, which was to have taken place in the spring and then slipped to August, has been delayed again, to “about a month out from the previous planned date of late August/early September,” putting it sometime in October, a Boeing spokesman told Air Force Magazine. The new delay stems from the need to replace parts damaged in a fuels test conducted several weeks ago. A fuel substitute supplied by a vendor, meant to simulate the weight of fuel in the boom, was mislabeled as “compliant for this particular military use, when in fact it wasn’t,” the spokesman said. The fake gas was flushed out and Boeing determined that some parts needed to be refurbished or replaced. “We’re making the needed repairs as quickly as possible,” he said. Previous delays were pegged to improper spacing of wiring harnesses; now fixed on the development aircraft and being changed on the production line. (See also KC-46 “Margin is Gone.”)