First tanker test plane does taxi tests at Paine Field

EVERETT — The first test plane of Boeing’s aerial-refueling tanker program ran through taxiing and ground tests Saturday ahead of its first flight, which is slated for Sunday.

Boeing workers spent Saturday morning doing ground checks on the plane, callsign VH001. It finally pulled out of its stall on Boeing’s flight line at Paine Field mid-afternoon, and proceeded to do taxiing tests on the airport’s main runway.

The plane was freshly painted in flat gray. A small American flag adorned its vertical fin.

It is a nonmilitary version of the KC-46 tanker designated a 767-2C model. It is based on the 767-200ER airplane, but it includes aspects of the 767-300 and -400, as well as a cockpit based on the 787.

With the flight test program six months behind schedule, Boeing has focused on getting the first test airplane into the air.

The first KC-46 tanker is slated to fly in late April.

Dan Catchpole: 425-339-3454; dcatchpole@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dcatchpole.

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