Boeing successfully refueled a KC-46 Pegasus tanker from a fellow tanker — mid-air.
Boeing transferred 146,000 pounds of fuel from one plane to another after taking off from Boeing Field, near Seattle.
The fuel exchange was part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Supplemental Type Certificate, or STC, testing. The military tanker hit a “major certification milestone” during the flight, which lasted thee hours and 48-minutes, according to Boeing. The craft proved it could handle receiving fuel from three tankers — the KC-46, KC-135, and KC-10. For those tests, a total of 540,600 pounds of fuel was exchanged.
This is part of a series of tests to certify the craft as a military tanker. The plane, which is a commercial 767-2C with military systems added on, has already flown 2,700 hours and made refuels with many other aircrafts beyond the tankers, like the F-16, as part of testing.
The KC-46 will be used in the U.S. military for refueling and taking on extra fuel. It will also carry passengers and cargo. The plane is supposed to be ready by October, but it looks like issues developing a new tanker will delay that delivery date.
The tanker took its maiden flight for the U.S. Air Force in December.