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More KC-46A woes....

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More KC-46A woes....

Old 26th Aug 2015, 18:45
  #361 (permalink)  
 
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Once again you have selected the bit you feel you can answer. Yes, I do think the restrictions and the finicky handling are safety issues, but the crux is this bit, which I quoted to you and which you have ignored:

Instead, the MD-11 was beset by a series of problems, including particularly sensitive controls at low and high altitudes; a tendency for pilots to smack the plane's tail on the runway during takeoffs; and persistent landing accidents.

If you don't think those are safety issues, then I suspect you really get safety.
1. You equate a tendency for pilots to smack the plane's tail on the runway during takeoffs; and persistent landing accidents. with "significant flight restrictions imposed on the crews" and "very poor safety record" and "woefully unsafe". I do not.

2. I never remotely suggested these were not "safety issues" and indeed I already stated these were "safety concerns" being evaluated by both the FAA and Boeing. But I do NOT believe these concerns have resulted in "significant flight restrictions imposed on the crews", nor resulted in a "very poor safety record" nor indicate an aircraft that is "woefully unsafe". You clearly disagree. You are welcome to do that. I'd just prefer you not misrepresent what I said when you disagree.
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Old 10th Sep 2015, 12:55
  #362 (permalink)  
 
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Mostly old news, but none of it good.

Defense News posted an article that rehashes the KC-46 program's many woes. Particularly interesting is the sentence: "[First flight] will occur about a month later than planned, in late August or early September." We're now already pretty close to mid-September and first flight has still not happened, so the outlook is far from rosy.

WASHINGTON — The US Air Force’s chief of staff has called for increased oversight of Boeing ’s KC-46 tanker schedule, signaling the Pentagon’s rising frustration with the program’s repeated delays and cost overruns.
During an exclusive interview with Defense News, Gen. Mark Welsh called on Boeing to provide a “predictable” timetable the Air Force can track from now until August 2017 — the company’s deadline to deliver 18 operational tankers to the fleet.

“We’re at a point now where we really need to see the first flight of this tanker, the actual tanker variant,” Welsh said. “Then, we need to have a predictable milestone chart between now and the required-assets-available date in August of ‘17 that we can track down with some definitive consistency from this point forward.”

Welsh’s remarks reflect the Air Force’s growing concern that Boeing may not meet the critical deadline. Earlier this summer, Boeing was forced to postpone first flight, a key milestone, after a mislabeled chemical was mistakenly loaded into the aircraft’s refueling line during testing. Boeing now anticipates the event will occur about a month later than planned, in late August or early September.

If problems with the integrated fuel system tank persist, or if delay in first flight sets back the overall test schedule, the Air Force is concerned the program could see a domino effect. Boeing must successfully demonstrate the required refueling capabilities during flight tests before the Pentagon will certify the program, an official stamp of approval the Air Force hopes to get between January and April of 2016.

In an effort to tighten Boeing ’s reins, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James announced late last month that the service is reviewing the company’s schedule for the tanker to ensure it is on track to meet its deadlines.

When asked to rate his concern about a potential delay in production, Welsh said: “much more than I would have been a year ago, and a little more than I would have been six months ago.

“We've taken the slack out of the program now, and now we have to perform and deliver on a timeline that's predictable,” he continued.

Welsh qualified his criticism, saying he is still “confident” in the program’s leadership, on both the Boeing and Air Force side. The company has replaced the components that were damaged in the incident, and will soon resume testing, Welsh noted.

“I personally am still confident they can deliver,” Welsh said. “They are back onto the fuel dock with this airplane to start the testing again. I’m very hopeful they can stay on track with that. If they do, [meeting the deadline] isn’t an issue.”

If Boeing can’t meet its obligations, the Air Force may decide to rework the contract. However, Welsh said the Air Force is not even thinking about that option right now, pointing out that so far the company has met its contractual obligations.

“They have done exactly what they said they would do, and they've accepted the cost for things that have gone wrong to this point with the contract, and I appreciate that,” Welsh said, referring to an $835 million pre-tax charge Boeing rang up earlier this summer stemming from developmental issues with the plane’s integrated fuel system.

The Air Force is not alone in sounding the alarm over the recent hiccups. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter late last month expressing concern that recent challenges could prevent delivery of a critical capability to the war fighter.

“All too often under our current defense acquisition system, the department has started programs that were poorly conceived or inherently unexecutable, with the aim of getting programs into development and production where they can become notoriously difficult to change meaningfully or, if necessary, terminate,” McCain wrote. “The KC-46A program must not become another such failure.”
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Old 10th Sep 2015, 13:15
  #363 (permalink)  

 
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Should have bought the 'bus! Would have been pumping real gurgle-juice into real aeroplanes by now.

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Old 10th Sep 2015, 14:47
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“All too often under our current defense acquisition system, the department has started programs that were poorly conceived or inherently unexecutable, with the aim of getting programs into development and production where they can become notoriously difficult to change meaningfully or, if necessary, terminate,” McCain wrote. “The F-35 program has become another such failure.”
Edited For Accuracy [efa]
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 12:18
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A rare bit of good news

Finally, a bit of good news for the program.

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md., Sept 15 (Reuters) - Boeing Co's first fully equipped KC-46A refueling plane is scheduled to complete its first flight on Sept. 25, the Air Force general in charge of tanker programs said Tuesday.

Brigadier General Duke Richardson, executive officer for Air Force tanker programs, said the tanker program was doing well overall, despite earlier schedule delays.

"We are definitely struggling with schedule. We are not struggling with performance," he told the annual Air Force Association conference.

Richardson said it was remarkable that the first flight was still set to take place within the traget range first set in April, despite two technical issues that arose afterwards. He said Boeing had devoted significant resources to ensuring the program stayed on track.

Sources familiar with the program had predicted that a chemical mixup involving the plane's fuel tank could delay the first flight by up to a month.

Richardson said he was "cautiously confident" that Boeing would meet its commitment to deliver 18 tankers to the Air Force by August 2017, despite a series of issues that have eroded any margin in the program's schedule.

He said the program was working through testing required for a key milestone review to be completed around April that would pave the way for an initial production contract for seven jets.
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 21:28
  #366 (permalink)  
 
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What bits the good news Ken?
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 21:49
  #367 (permalink)  
 
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What bits the good news Ken?
Boeing Co's first fully equipped KC-46A refueling plane is scheduled to complete its first flight on Sept. 25, the Air Force general in charge of tanker programs said Tuesday.
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Old 17th Sep 2015, 08:39
  #368 (permalink)  
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Being an itsy-bitsy cynical, seeing as Boeing is currently losing money hand over fist on this contract - having underbid to win it - could this be a ploy from friends in high places to allow them to renegotiate the price after the first LRIP? Sounds like the USAF is uneasy and ringing the alarm bells.

I would suggest Senator McCain should be over this like a dose of measles.....

USAF General: CR Could Break KC-46 Contract

NATIONAL HARBOR Md. — If the Pentagon is forced to operate for a long time under a continuing resolution, it could lead the US Air Force to break its contract with Boeing on the KC-46 tanker.

Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson, the program executive on the Air Force’s next-gen tanker program, told an audience at the Air Force Association annual convention that a continuing resolution (CR) would create a “very large problem” for the program. But how big a problem wasn’t clear until after his speech, when he told a reporter that the CR could potentially break the contract with Boeing, one which is notable for the financial protection it affords the service.

Under the contract, the Air Force's liability for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the tanker program is capped at $4.9 billion; anything over is paid for directly by Boeing. So far, technical issues have cost Boeing $1.2 billion in pre-tax overages on the program. That protection has been cited by Richardson and others whenever concerns about the tanker program, which has suffered several technical issues in the last 18 months, have occurred.

But that could go away under the CR, Richardson noted, if the Air Force is unable to reach a requirement to award two low-rate initial production (LRIP) contracts to Boeing once the program reaches Milestone C in April of 2016.

According to Richardson, the contract requires the Air Force to award eight aircraft at minimum in the first two LRIP contracts. However, only the first LRIP contract, covering seven aircraft, has funding under fiscal 2016’s budget plan. The second LRIP contract, covering planes eight through 12, would then be unable to be awarded under a CR, breaking the contract with Boeing unless the service can get a waiver from Congress...................
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Old 17th Sep 2015, 15:16
  #369 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by KenV View Post
Boeing Co's first fully equipped KC-46A refueling plane is scheduled to complete its first flight on Sept. 25, the Air Force general in charge of tanker programs said Tuesday.
I think he actually said

"We are definitely struggling with schedule"




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Old 17th Sep 2015, 20:42
  #370 (permalink)  
 
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"I think he actually said"

"We are definitely struggling with schedule"

I wonder during what airplane development program, commercial or military since the Wright Brothers, that this was not said in some form or other.

If I am not mistaken there were several cynics discounting the Wright Brothers' success until those famous demonstrations at Le Mans. The KC-46 is probably not a perfect airplane, nor a perfect program either, but I anticipate a long and distinguished career - current "woes" notwithstanding.
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Old 21st Sep 2015, 11:32
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ORAC told us:
Brig. Gen. Duke Richardson, the program executive on the Air Force’s next-gen tanker program, told an audience at the Air Force Association annual convention that a continuing resolution (CR) would create a “very large problem” for the program.
Well, Gen Duke has now given an "exclusive" interview to Aviation Week, in which he said there were three separate problems, not including the corrosive chemical contamination.
First, and likely the most major problem, was a deficiency in the fuel-system manifold that routs fuel throughout the tanker. .... “It failed a stress test. .... Richardson tells Aviation Week during a Sept. 16 interview .... The problem came to light during qualification testing required for FAA certification, and Boeing notified the service of it in February.
Then there was
an issue with welding that connects the fuel tubes in the system and an issue with how the fuel tubes are attached to the inside of the aircraft.
You can find all the gory detail at KC-46: What Was Wrong With The Fuel System | Defense content from Aviation Week

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Old 25th Sep 2015, 20:21
  #372 (permalink)  
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Boeing Co's first fully equipped KC-46A refueling plane is scheduled to complete its first flight on Sept. 25, the Air Force general in charge of tanker programs said Tuesday.
Well, did it actually fly today?
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 21:25
  #373 (permalink)  
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Just got airborne now (Boe004) with a T38 chase (BOE38F) FR24 heading to Tatoosh
 
Old 25th Sep 2015, 21:56
  #374 (permalink)  
 
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Well, did it actually fly today?
Yup. http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-ne...fueling-system



Last edited by KenV; 28th Sep 2015 at 17:15.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 22:41
  #375 (permalink)  
 
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Re all those fuel system issues...

Do any of you have an idea how Boeing managed to mess up such a central element of their tanker? After all, it's not the first one they've done, you'd think they knew a thing or two about fuel handling systems. No bashing intended, there ought to be something to be learned here.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 23:47
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Do any of you have an idea how Boeing managed to mess up such a central element of their tanker? After all, it's not the first one they've done, you'd think they knew a thing or two about fuel handling systems. No bashing intended, there ought to be something to be learned here.
Rengineer, repeating myself here (post 301), but...
BEagle, I know more than I can (or should) reveal about the fuel system problems. However I am amazed they were able to it up that bad.
I appreciate melmoth's concern but I'm not too worried about repercussions because I criticized 'dumbass management' (I'm at a point in my career where they basically need me more than I need them). But if I start revealing details of what's wrong with the fuel systems, I could easily run afoul of proprietary information (or worse, ITAR, which means the government might come after me ).

Perfect world engineering is when you have such a good team that management simply needs to point them in the right direction and get out of the way. Aside from periodic status updates, the only thing we need management for is if we run into a problem that requires outside help. I've been on teams like that, and they can be a real joy. But if the team isn't good and/or experienced enough, applying that lack of management oversight can be disastrous. That's a big part of happened to the fuel system - and the original designs didn't work. Massive redesigns and rework on aircraft that had already been built and that's really, really expensive (there was also some really crappy luck thrown in - I don't know if that story has been made public - if it has I'll elaborate on a future post).
It's also the primary reason the program has now gone so far the other direction, with multiple levels of micromanagement of every detail, to the point were you can't get anything done because you spend all your time in meetings and giving status briefs to different levels of management.

The good news is that I was part of the "Gauntlet" testing a few days ago (Gauntlet testing is SOP before first flight of a new model). This aircraft is in far better shape than the 767-2C that first flew back in late December.
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Old 25th Sep 2015, 23:56
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Do any of you have an idea how Boeing managed to mess up such a central element of their tanker?
KC-46: What Was Wrong With The Fuel System | Defense content from Aviation Week
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Old 26th Sep 2015, 11:32
  #378 (permalink)  
 
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AAR Experts - Apologies for thread drift, but I have been updating my slides and would like to know if the underwing pods on this Boeing KC-97 at Lajes are part of the AAR system.

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Old 26th Sep 2015, 11:49
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KenV You could do us (people interested in following this thread) of re-sizing your photo so it doesn't blow the formatting off the screen. It seems you claim some technical competance. Now is a good time to demonstrate it.
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Old 26th Sep 2015, 12:17
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Seconded..............
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