Max Q
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KC46 Questions

Sat Sep 24, 2011 10:11 pm

Looking at my latest edition of Aviation Week there is a great artists impression of the boom operators control station.


An impressive set up.



Questions:



Is this a remote station set up in the rear of the cockpit ?



There are switches on the panel labelled 'drogue jetisson' is this an intended part of the design, to be able to jetisson the underwing drogues ?




I can see there will be a camera set up to show the boom, will there be cameras covering the underwing drogues ?
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kanban
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:36 am

A picture is worth a thousand words... and here it would really help.
 
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Moose135
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:08 am

Quoting Max Q (Thread starter):
Is this a remote station set up in the rear of the cockpit ?

Yes, the boom operator will sit up front, and monitor refueling via cameras.
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titanmiller
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:29 am

You will certainly be able to jettison the drogues. Depending on the system, it could have either a guillotine that cuts the hose or a release mechanism that lets the hose pull completely free of the pod.

I don't know the camera field of view, but yes, I can assure you that it will cover the wingtip pods. I believe the FOV is greater than 180º. I'm sure the system is great for night and poor visibility conditions, but something tells me that there are going to be a lot of refueling accidents with this new system. I realize that such systems have been fielded before, but with the number of refuelings the USAF does per day I think that the system will show its dangers.

Give me a window!
 
Max Q
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:03 am

Quoting titanmiller (Reply 3):

I don't know the camera field of view, but yes, I can assure you that it will cover the wingtip pods. I believe the FOV is greater than 180º. I'm sure the system is great for night and poor visibility conditions, but something tells me that there are going to be a lot of refueling accidents with this new system. I realize that such systems have been fielded before, but with the number of refuelings the USAF does per day I think that the system will show its dangers.

Give me a window!

I can see your point, what happens when the video system fails ?
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NASCARAirforce
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:34 pm

My question is why the KC-46 for a number, since the number basically is C-46 (like a KC-10 is a C-10, and a KC-135 is a C-135 etc) which makes it sound like it is a Curtiss built big twin engine transport that is a mid air refueler. There still are plenty of numbers available that they wouldn't have to recycle the numbers already.

Or are they going to call it the KC-46 Commando II like they call the Raytheon built trainers the T-6 Texan II?
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:31 pm

C/KC-46 is the next number in the new MDS sequence. The A-330MRTT would have been called the KC-45, had it been selected, and not the KC-30 RAAF designation.

So the old WWII USAAF airplane designations are being recycled. We already saw this in the new T-6s and the F-35. During the late 1930s and early part of WWII the, then, USAAC flew both the original North American AT/T-6 (also called the and the SNJ by the USN and USMC, and the Harvard by the British Commonwealth nations) Seversky P-35.

I believe the drogue jettison system talked about here is for the centerline drogue, not the WARPs. The WARP would also have a hose/drogue jettison system, one for each WARP, but the pods themselves would not "normally" be jettisoned unless there was a critical performance emergency. That would only be used to reduce the drag of the WARPs themselves on the tanker's performance. The ITAF KC-767As have this system, as does the RAAF KC-30As.

I don't know about the 3D camera/TV systems, yet. But I understand they are as good, if not better than the systems on the A-330MRTT.

Does anyone have a link to the AW&ST artist impression?
 
PC12Fan
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:05 pm

This is the only photo reference I could find, but it's already a couple years old and may not be accurate. The pic is also rather small.

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Boeing_KC-767
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kanban
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:18 pm

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 7):
This is the only photo reference I could find, but it's already a couple years old and may not be accurate. The pic is also rather small.

Thanks, it's enough to help understand the question.
 
Max Q
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:29 pm

If I can figure a way to show the picture I will !
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RE: KC46 Questions

Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:57 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 6):
C/KC-46 is the next number in the new MDS sequence. The A-330MRTT would have been called the KC-45, had it been selected, and not the KC-30 RAAF designation.

So the old WWII USAAF airplane designations are being recycled. We already saw this in the new T-6s and the F-35. During the late 1930s and early part of WWII the, then, USAAC flew both the original North American AT/T-6 (also called the and the SNJ by the USN and USMC, and the Harvard by the British Commonwealth nations) Seversky P-35.

Actually the KC-42 was not assigned. This was supposed to be assigned to the KC-767 tanker conversion of the Boeing 767 leased to the Air Force. But the Air Force decided to use KC-767 instead then the KC-46 for the number.

There are a few other numbers that have not been used since prior to WWII like C-39,C-42, C-44 and lower such as C-34, C-36, which would have been the YAL-1A Airborne Laser number.
 
titanmiller
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RE: KC46 Questions

Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:42 am

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 7):
This is the only photo reference I could find, but it's already a couple years old and may not be accurate. The pic is also rather small.

That looks like a KC-10 sim. I remember reading an article about this a long time ago so my recall may be inaccurate, but I believe that the man in the picture is a Japanese boom operator going through boom school in the KC-10 so that he (and his classmates) can learn the art of air refueling prior to receiving specialized training in the KC-767. I'm about 95% sure that picture is not of anything having to do with a 767 tanker.

Edit: I found the article: http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123030630


Also, I found a big version of that picture: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...r_refuling(061101-O-9999K-001).jpg

Interestingly, you can see the "Hose JTSN" switches for the WARP pods on the upper control panel (red guarded switches).

[Edited 2011-09-26 19:50:57]
 
andydtwnwa7
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RE: KC46 Questions

Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:14 am

From what I understand, that picture is not representative of what the KC-46 station will look like. Boeing had a full size cockpit and refueling simulator at the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium and Technology Exposition last week. The entire station was touch screen for the most part. The Boeing rep said that they made everything touch screen that didn't need a gauge or hard button/trigger/stick. It was very impressive, including the 3-D video displays.
 
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RE: KC46 Questions

Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:41 am

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 5):
My question is why the KC-46 for a number,

I know I keep picturing an old Commando with a boom!


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titanmiller
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RE: KC46 Questions

Wed Sep 28, 2011 10:13 pm

Quoting andydtwnwa7 (Reply 12):
The Boeing rep said that they made everything touch screen

I'm quite skeptical about touch screen interfaces because it seems like it would be extremely difficult or impossible to interact with it by touch or when in turbulence. With a normal control layout with tactile buttons you can make changes or adjustments without even looking at what you are doing. A touch screen requires you to look at the display and accurately touch the correct spot on the screen. A normal button can be touched without pressing it whereas a touch screen may have another function close to the one you intend to activate. A little turbulence could easily cause you to miss the button. A lot of modern LCD displays use LED back-lighting along with pulse width modulation to control the brightness. If the display is set to dim, the LED array behind the screen flickers at a certain frequency to dim the display. This works fine if you are in smooth air, but if you hit turbulence this can cause the screen to become unreadable because you will see each LED pulse as a separate "frame" across your visual field.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think that the KC-46s remote operator station is an enormous accident waiting to happen. There are just too many human factors that are being overlooked in this design. Mark my words.
 
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RE: KC46 Questions

Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:46 am

Quoting titanmiller (Reply 14):
Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I think that the KC-46s remote operator station is an enormous accident waiting to happen. There are just too many human factors that are being overlooked in this design. Mark my words.

The remote operator station is nothing new, and the KC-46 is not new in this regard. The A330MRTT uses it, the KC-767s for Japan and Italy use it. There are a number of others as well.

There's a whole team of ergonomics people working on the design to ensure the issues you bring up don't become, well, issues. These are experienced people, along with current Air Force boom operators, who know what they're doing.

I can't give any details that aren't already in the public domain, but what I will say is there is a lot of misinformation out there about the ARO console design, so don't believe everything you read on here about it, because most of it doesn't represent the actual design.
 
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RE: KC46 Questions

Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:25 am

Quoting BoeEngr (Reply 15):
The A330MRTT uses it, the KC-767s for Japan and Italy use it.

This is true, but I'm concerned that the USAF will fly so many more sorties that there will be ample time for any inherent flaws to rear their head. I'm all for technology and progress so I'm excited to see this work, but I certainly am less than optimistic about it.

My understanding is that the remote ARO was chosen for the original 767 lease deal so that the frames could be resold more easily if needed. With the lease deal history, why was an actual ARO with a window not considered? It seems cheaper and more reliable. I'm sure that there are additional capabilities such as night refueling where the new system is superior, but have we not accomplished night AR for decades without it?

[Edited 2011-09-28 18:25:48]
 
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RE: KC46 Questions

Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:38 am

Quoting titanmiller (Reply 16):
This is true, but I'm concerned that the USAF will fly so many more sorties that there will be ample time for any inherent flaws to rear their head. I'm all for technology and progress so I'm excited to see this work, but I certainly am less than optimistic about it.

It sounds like your concerns really revolve around the video feed, rather than a window. Or am I wrong? I don't see what difference it makes if your boom operator is sitting the the front, middle, or back of the airplane, so this concern must be about the camera reliability? The cameras, as a whole and the ones being used specifically for the airplane are well tested and documented. If something happens and you lose the video feed during a contact, they'd simply break off. Audio communications would not be disrupted. There are backup video systems as well. Lots of redundancy.

I understand hesitations about new technology, it's just that this technology isn't new. I believe even the KC-747s from the 70s had remote ARO consoles.

I'll take a look and see if there's anything more detailed I can share with you about the consoles.

BoeEngr
 
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:02 pm

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 7):
This is the only photo reference I could find

Not to bump myself, but for those who have access to Aviation Week & Space Technology, there is a two page ad with a large photo of the boom operators station concept in the September 19th issue.
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sat Oct 01, 2011 2:19 pm

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 10):
Actually the KC-42 was not assigned. This was supposed to be assigned to the KC-767 tanker conversion of the Boeing 767 leased to the Air Force. But the Air Force decided to use KC-767 instead then the KC-46 for the number.

There are a few other numbers that have not been used since prior to WWII like C-39,C-42, C-44 and lower such as C-34, C-36, which would have been the YAL-1A Airborne Laser number.

Correct, number in the sequence have been skipped over. I had though the KC-44 MDS would have been used for the KC-46, but it wasn't. Some MDS numbers are assigned to airliners, and some models of those airliners have different MDS numbers, like the B-707 was the C-137, E-3, E-6, E-8, and C-18, the DC-8 was the C-138 and the C-24, B-747-100 was the C-12 (I think), the B-747-200B was both the E-4 and the C-25, the B-747-400 was the C-33, but the B-747-400F/ERF was both the YAL-1 and the C-36 (which was proposed in the early 1990s as an alternitive to the C-17).

Quoting andydtwnwa7 (Reply 12):
The entire station was touch screen for the most part.

I wonder how that is going to work while wearing flight gloves, or in artic/polar regions like EIL where you have to wear heavy winter gloves for pre-flight.

Quoting titanmiller (Reply 16):
I'm sure that there are additional capabilities such as night refueling where the new system is superior, but have we not accomplished night AR for decades without it?

Yes, we did, and I had no problem doing it, even before the flood light was mounted atop the vertical tail.
 
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sat Oct 01, 2011 6:43 pm

Quoting titanmiller (Reply 16):
With the lease deal history, why was an actual ARO with a window not considered? It seems cheaper and more reliable.

If the "window" is where I expect it to be, then the window design would not be cheap. You have to consider designing a window at the tail of the aircraft (cutting through structure in the lower lobe) with ergonomic station to allow the operator to stick his/her head up to the window while trying to control a joy stick.

With a camera, you do have the zoom function.   

Ask TopBoom on the ergonomics of operating a boom at the tail station.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 19):
I wonder how that is going to work while wearing flight gloves, or in artic/polar regions like EIL where you have to wear heavy winter gloves for pre-flight.

Just program the buttons to be bigger 

If it's anything like the operation consoles in other program, the touch screen would probably be used to select functions and settings while the actual boom control would probably be still with a joy stick.

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Max Q
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RE: KC46 Questions

Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:40 am

What do you think TopBoom ?



Given the choice between a remote operators station with video feed or the built in station at the rear of the Aircraft what would you prefer ?
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RE: KC46 Questions

Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:53 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 19):
Correct, number in the sequence have been skipped over. I had though the KC-44 MDS would have been used for the KC-46, but it wasn't. Some MDS numbers are assigned to airliners, and some models of those airliners have different MDS numbers, like the B-707 was the C-137, E-3, E-6, E-8, and C-18, the DC-8 was the C-138 and the C-24, B-747-100 was the C-12 (I think), the B-747-200B was both the E-4 and the C-25, the B-747-400 was the C-33, but the B-747-400F/ERF was both the YAL-1 and the C-36 (which was proposed in the early 1990s as an alternitive to the C-17).

There are 3 (sorta) different versions of the C-12, none of them are 747s.

The original was a Detroit-Lockheed Vega pre WWII

Then of course the more familiar C-12 that is flying today as the military version of the Super King Air 200. There is also the C-12J, which is the military version of a Beech 1900C.

of course no C-13 (either era - pre WWII or modern possibly for superstition.)

As for the 747s in the military.

The C-19 is the designation for 747s of the civil aviation reserve fleet used by military.

Of course there is the VC-25 aka Air Force One

The YFC-36A was never really used other than as a prototype for the YAL-1A Airborne Laser - as you said a 747-400.

You are also right about the C-33. It was known as the "Non Developmental Airlift Aircraft" project for a commercial freighter to supplement the C-17. These were 747-400s that were never ordered. Original plan was to reduce amount of C-17s ordered and get some of these 747-400s. Lockheed also at the time proposed a C-5D

The C-24 that the Navy had was the EC-24 used for Navy ECM training - a DC-8.
 
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RE: KC46 Questions

Wed Oct 05, 2011 1:45 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 19):
the B-747-400 was the C-33

More on an Australian study about the C-33 for their operations.

www.ausairpower.net/APA-2005-02.pdf

Thinking fantasy stuff here, but it's interesting to think this could be an interesting platform based on the 747-8F. Particularly with the internal unloading capability. I know, never gonna happen but it's interesting to think about this as a "super tanker" possibility.
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RE: KC46 Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:32 am

Quoting PC12Fan (Reply 23):
Thinking fantasy stuff here, but it's interesting to think this could be an interesting platform based on the 747-8F. Particularly with the internal unloading capability. I know, never gonna happen but it's interesting to think about this as a "super tanker" possibility.

Actually surprised Boeing didn't jump in the mix with the 747-8F for a KC-10 replacement.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: KC46 Questions

Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:27 pm

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 24):
Actually surprised Boeing didn't jump in the mix with the 747-8F for a KC-10 replacement.

The KC-10 isn't scheduled for replacement until the KC-Y program.

Quoting Max Q (Reply 21):
What do you think TopBoom ?



Given the choice between a remote operators station with video feed or the built in station at the rear of the Aircraft what would you prefer ?

I prefer the idea of a Boom Pod in the aft end of the cargo compartment. It is far cheaper, and you don't need redundent visual systems. But instead of a KC-135 style Boom Pod, where the Boom Operator lays in the prone position, I like the KC-10 style Boom Pod with the Boom Operator sitting in a chair and the Boom Controller joy sticks on the arm rests.
 
Max Q
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RE: KC46 Questions

Tue Oct 11, 2011 8:31 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 25):

I prefer the idea of a Boom Pod in the aft end of the cargo compartment. It is far cheaper, and you don't need redundent visual systems. But instead of a KC-135 style Boom Pod, where the Boom Operator lays in the prone position, I like the KC-10 style Boom Pod with the Boom Operator sitting in a chair and the Boom Controller joy sticks on the arm rests.

Good point, how long can you lie prone and operate the boom on the KC135 effectively ?
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kc135topboom
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RE: KC46 Questions

Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:57 pm

I have been in the KC-135 refueling pod for up to 3 hours during training missions for C-5 initial qualifications from LTS. My neck would a little sore, but that is about it. We would be at LTS for a week, TDY from PSM. Most tanker units did this. But, IIRC for the KC-10 units, they would stage from BAD. At the time only RIV, GSB, and BAD had KC-10s.

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