Max Q
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:09 am

If Airbus has truly perfected automated air refueling then surely this is the answer and a significant advance


Could we see the boom operators position vanish completely?
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
Ozair
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 10, 2020 11:29 am

Max Q wrote:
If Airbus has truly perfected automated air refueling then surely this is the answer and a significant advance


Could we see the boom operators position vanish completely?

Not only the boom operator but likely the pilots at some point as well. We will see how MQ-25 goes but the USAF has been looking at unmanned cargo and, by extension, tanker ops the last few years,

https://www.japcc.org/unmanned-cargo-aircraft/
 
ThePointblank
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:48 am

Max Q wrote:
If Airbus has truly perfected automated air refueling then surely this is the answer and a significant advance


Could we see the boom operators position vanish completely?

No, because someone has to monitor the connection, manage fuel flow, and take over in case of an emergency.
 
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Grizzly410
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:51 am

ThePointblank wrote:
Max Q wrote:
If Airbus has truly perfected automated air refueling then surely this is the answer and a significant advance


Could we see the boom operators position vanish completely?

No, because someone has to monitor the connection, manage fuel flow, and take over in case of an emergency.


Even if I don't know how AAR are operated in general, and only the nominal way of working of the A3R I can assure you Airbus Defense&Space goal is very much to get rid of the boom operator. A3R is only a first step to achieve this.
In order to be old and wise, one must first be young and dumb.
 
WIederling
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:21 am

Grizzly410 wrote:
Sure the system could be portable to KC-46, but that would probably request way to much integration work. At this point Boeing is better of squeezing its supplier to make the existing work !


You can't squeeze an empty zit :-)

The mentioned application range would imho indicate that installation/integration on KC46 would be low hanging fruit. ( put the sour grapes in the trash.)
Murphy is an optimist
 
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Grizzly410
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:14 pm

WIederling wrote:
Grizzly410 wrote:
Sure the system could be portable to KC-46, but that would probably request way to much integration work. At this point Boeing is better of squeezing its supplier to make the existing work !


You can't squeeze an empty zit :-)

The mentioned application range would imho indicate that installation/integration on KC46 would be low hanging fruit. ( put the sour grapes in the trash.)


Not sure exactly what your point is. In case the idea is saying getting rid of Rockwell Collins designed RVS for Kappa’s would be a viable solution, I wouldn’t qualify it as a low hanging fruit.
Top of my head issues to deal with : software changes, integration with boom operator console (hardware), the associated wiring change, computer size and requirement differences, camera and illuminator position requirement, very probably contractual issues, a complete test campaign and a number of aircraft to be retrofitted. That’s an awful lot of things to manage.

I’m afraid such a change would only provide some certainty using a proven system, but time and money wise I’m not so sure about this being a good idea at all.
In order to be old and wise, one must first be young and dumb.
 
WIederling
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 12, 2020 8:47 am

Grizzly410 wrote:
I’m afraid such a change would only provide some certainty using a proven system, but time and money wise I’m not so sure about this being a good idea at all.


NIH?
the initial solution for the KC46 seems to ail on what Einstein observed in another domain:

Make your model as simple as possible but not simpler.
Here:
Make your design as simple and low cost as possible but not cheaper.

Being a cheapskate in the initial layout will bite you for a long time
as upgrading a basically "too cheap, simple" design demands
jumping through hoops repeatedly and on occasion unendingly.

Start with an adequate solution and simplify/refine that working setup.

the basic primitiveness of the original system seems to not be mendable
by "just a better camera".
Murphy is an optimist
 
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:51 am

WARP tests will be performed at L/N 1188 C/N 41868 B767-2LKC 18-46051 USAF KC-46A (VH051) Lot 4, #11/18, tail 86051.

See : http://www.paineairport.com/kpae18167r.htm

Original uploaded at Matt Cawby's Paine Field blog of Feb 13th 2020, see : http://kpae.blogspot.com/2020/02/paine- ... ry-13.html
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:53 pm

Grizzly410 wrote:
ThePointblank wrote:
Max Q wrote:
If Airbus has truly perfected automated air refueling then surely this is the answer and a significant advance


Could we see the boom operators position vanish completely?

No, because someone has to monitor the connection, manage fuel flow, and take over in case of an emergency.


Even if I don't know how AAR are operated in general, and only the nominal way of working of the A3R I can assure you Airbus Defense&Space goal is very much to get rid of the boom operator. A3R is only a first step to achieve this.


There's nothing inherently unique about the boom operator's role, so it's only a matter of time before the job is automated. In the near term, though, the answer is a flat-out NO. You also have pax/cargo to look after, but that's pretty minor. My guess is the position will be automated right around the time the pilots are similarly s***-canned.

If the KC-46 has taught the AF anything, it's that there's a huge gulf between what the contractor promises and what is actually delivered. A test tanker with an automated tanker boom plugging a test Viper in calm VMC, with an operator ready to take charge at a moment's notice? Sure. Making that happen on the daily, downrange, night/weather, without a human backup, on a crew whose highest experience level is an O-2 with barely 1,000 hours? That's gonna be the tricky part.
 
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:29 am

LyleLanley wrote:

If the KC-46 has taught the AF anything, it's that there's a huge gulf between what the contractor promises and what is actually delivered.


A large contributing factor is the loss of specialist military expertice within Boeing after the final closure of the Boeing Military Airplanes Wichita facility in 2014.

From 1927 to 1962, Boeing Wichita produced 15,000 aircraft and delivered more than 4,000 modified airplanes. Over the years, it built parts of every Boeing commercial jet and maintained and modified military aircraft, including Air Force One.

In 2005, Boeing shuttered the commercial aircraft division, the largest portion of its Wichita operation, which became Spirit AeroSystems. It still retained its military work at the site.

In January 2012, Boeing announced it was closing its Wichita facilities altogether and moving engineering work and program management to Oklahoma City, maintenance work to San Antonio and tanker work to the Puget Sound area in Washington state.

Most of its 2,100 Wichita employees are gone. They have moved with Boeing, have been laid off or have retired.

Read more here: https://www.kansas.com/news/business/av ... 53168.html
.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:58 pm

747classic wrote:
...
.


Sad read. Especially the family's perspective.

I like to believe that a solid 80% of the KC-46's problems wouldn't have happened if Wichita were open. Maybe more if some of the KC-10 design/test experience were still in the company.
 
744SPX
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:02 pm

I completely understand using the 767 airframe, but it still blows my mind that they are using a nearly 40 year old engine design when this thing is supposed to be flying for the next 50 years. Never understood the decision to drop the blended winglets either (from the previous competition). I realize fuel economy isn't a concern for the AF, but this makes it look like they are trying to burn as much fuel as they possibly can.
 
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:23 pm

744SPX wrote:
I completely understand using the 767 airframe, but it still blows my mind that they are using a nearly 40 year old engine design when this thing is supposed to be flying for the next 50 years. Never understood the decision to drop the blended winglets either (from the previous competition). I realize fuel economy isn't a concern for the AF, but this makes it look like they are trying to burn as much fuel as they possibly can.


As ironic as this might sound considering the state of the program at the moment, I expect the main reason not to seek new engines was to de-risk the program.

Also not sure there was an RFP for the engines or if Pratt was sole-source. If that was the case, then there would not have been a new engine option available. Or if there was an RFP, the fact that Pratt did not have a new engine option meant the RFP was written so GE could not offer a GEnx variant and had to go with the CF6 to match the PW4000.
 
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:14 pm

The GE CF6-80C2 would have been the real low risk solution, because this engine is by far the preferred engine at civil 767's and was already installed at the Italian and Japanese 767 tankers.
Seen all the time consuming issues with the WARPS - wing flutter on these aircraft, why choosing another engine type and another warp manufacturor, with a different flow pattern and weight causing the same difficult to solve problems. (nor solved yet, after how many years)
The lobby of PW must have been very strong to get this engine at the KC-46A.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
LMP737
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:57 am

747classic wrote:
The GE CF6-80C2 would have been the real low risk solution, because this engine is by far the preferred engine at civil 767's and was already installed at the Italian and Japanese 767 tankers.
Seen all the time consuming issues with the WARPS - wing flutter on these aircraft, why choosing another engine type and another warp manufacturor, with a different flow pattern and weight causing the same difficult to solve problems. (nor solved yet, after how many years)
The lobby of PW must have been very strong to get this engine at the KC-46A.


I believe it's the result of PW underbidding GE.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:40 am

LyleLanley wrote:
Max Q wrote:


Well, there’s no room for an ARO station until you design it in and build it


It could have been done


Sorry, I should have been more specific: there's no room for an ARO station AND the required gas. To say nothing of the centerline drogue or the LAIRCM pod on the belly. The 46 is volume-limited and the RARO station was seen as the best way to mitigate that deficiency.


I don't understand this. The photos I've seen of the KC-46 show a clear interior ready for cargo, and not a fill-every-space gas tank.
 
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kitplane01
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:46 am

Reasons to have a camera instead of a window

1) When done right, the camera can be *better*. It can have zoom, night vision, virtual reality augmentation, edge enhancement, and more.
2) With a camera, the crew member can be in the cockpit. This could lead to better crew integration, more crew safety, and better egress in case of accidents.
3) With a camera, the plane can weigh less and hold more. There is no need for a crew station in the back, along with it's volume and space costs.
4) It can be upgraded to auto-connect (when the software becomes available).

All of this *of course* assume it's done well. I already understand that's not the case. But 40 years from now, I imagine everyone will assume that camera's how it's always been and obviously how it ought to be (except for the people who read history books)
 
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:00 am

LMP737 wrote:
747classic wrote:
The GE CF6-80C2 would have been the real low risk solution, because this engine is by far the preferred engine at civil 767's and was already installed at the Italian and Japanese 767 tankers.
Seen all the time consuming issues with the WARPS - wing flutter on these aircraft, why choosing another engine type and another warp manufacturor, with a different flow pattern and weight causing the same difficult to solve problems. (nor solved yet, after how many years)
The lobby of PW must have been very strong to get this engine at the KC-46A.


I believe it's the result of PW underbidding GE.


The cheapest option is most of time not the best option, but in this case it could have been (USAF) politics ?
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.
 
LyleLanley
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:04 pm

kitplane01 wrote:
I don't understand this. The photos I've seen of the KC-46 show a clear interior ready for cargo, and not a fill-every-space gas tank.


I could've written that better as "the KC-46 is volume-limited underneath its cargo floor". If Boeing fitted a conventional (window) ARO station to the KC-46 it would have to be underneath the cargo floor, due to the geometry of the fuselage and the practicality of the window installation. Unfortunately, in order to fulfill contractual obligations for amount of fuel to be offloaded as well as have them be accessible for field repairs and still have a decently aft CG for fuel burn, Boeing had to fill every nook and cranny of the aft underfloor with fuel tanks. This meant no room for a conventional ARO station. There's plenty of room in the forward cabin for a Remote ARO station (RARO), but no room down below in the aft section for an ARO station. In the end, the KC-45 was superior in every manner except ramp space/infrastructure: it's nearly the size of a KC-10 whereas the KC-46 is much closer in size to the KC-135 so it's more apt to be "plug and play" with the hangars/ramp space the KC-135 uses. The price you pay with a smaller tanker, though, is that everything has to fit in a much smaller volume. Boeing couldn't do it with an ARO station.

Re: the points you bring up, you can't really zoom with the cameras they have installed. It's just not practical. #2 also aren't issues. CRM will be the same whether in the very back or the forward cabin, but there's still a door separating the operators from the pilots, i.e. they're all communicating via interphone. It's not any safer and egress is a non-starter in a jet with no parachutes/useable exits. #1 and 3 are pretty much spot-on, though, and are the reasons why Boeing went with RARO. Unfortunately, they started with #3 and went cheap with #1.

Cheap, quick, good. You can have 2/3, and Boeing even screwed up the 2nd.
 
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ssteve
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:25 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
Maybe more if some of the KC-10 design/test experience were still in the company.


It's been quite a few decades. It's amazing what organizations will forget over those years, especially when the last go-round didn't use CAD. Old ideas get rediscovered and old mistakes get repeated.
 
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Stitch
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:46 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
Maybe more if some of the KC-10 design/test experience were still in the company.

ssteve wrote:
It's been quite a few decades. It's amazing what organizations will forget over those years, especially when the last go-round didn't use CAD. Old ideas get rediscovered and old mistakes get repeated.


I am not sure that everything can be laid at the feet of Boeing using BCA staff on the KC-46A instead of IDS staff. While certain items can certainly be traced to BCS inexperience (like the wiring issues early on and likely the recent issue with the cargo locks), would IDS staff been able to get Cobham's act together on the CDS and WARPs? I mean Cobham are supposed to be experts in these things, themselves.
 
LMP737
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Thu Feb 20, 2020 3:16 am

747classic wrote:

The cheapest option is most of time not the best option, but in this case it could have been (USAF) politics ?


The PW4000 series are proven motors, probably going to be one of the most reliable pieces of equipment on that aircraft.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
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747classic
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Re: Boeing KC-46 Production and Delivery Thread - 2020

Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:46 am

LMP737 wrote:
747classic wrote:

The cheapest option is most of time not the best option, but in this case it could have been (USAF) politics ?


The PW4000 series are proven motors, probably going to be one of the most reliable pieces of equipment on that aircraft.


That's may be true, but seen all the development/ flight testing performed already at the 767-200/CF6-80C2 with warps it's not the most cost effective solution.
On top of that, most civil 767's are powered by GE engines, the second preffered engine type is P&W and the few RR powered 767 aircraft are destined to be scrapped soon.
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.

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