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First Boeing C-17 for Royal Australian Air Force Takes Maiden Flight

for Royal Australian Air Force Takes Maiden Flight
Photo Credit: Boeing

ST. LOUIS, Nov. 08, 2006 -- The first Boeing [NYSE: BA] C-17 Globemaster III for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) completed its maiden flight Nov. 7, logging a major milestone in preparation for the delivery to the RAAF later this month.

With a gross takeoff weight of 458,000 lbs. (207,745 kg.), the advanced airlifter lifted off from the Long Beach Airport, Calif., at 11:03 a.m. Pacific time and flew for more than five hours before returning to the facility where Boeing assembles and tests C-17s prior to delivery.

"It was an exceptional first flight," said Boeing C-17 Production Test Pilot Joel Brown, who was at the controls when the aircraft lifted off. "Based on today's performance, I think the RAAF will be extremely pleased with this airplane when they take delivery on Nov. 28."

The flight began by heading west over Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands, performing initial functional checks over the Pacific Ocean. The C-17 then headed east and flew to Edwards Air Force Base where Brown and his crew continued to check the aircraft's systems and performed three touch-and-go landings. The flight completed 80 percent of the functional checks required prior to delivery, including shutdown and restart of engines, one at a time, and testing of emergency backup systems.

"Everything felt great," Brown said. "There were no surprises. The airplane performed exactly as expected. With sunny skies and no turbulence, it was an absolutely perfect day to fly Australia's first C-17 for the first time."

Brown was joined on the flight by a U.S. Air Force pilot, a Boeing and U.S. Air Force loadmaster, and three Boeing support personnel to track the aircraft's functional checks. During the flight, Brown and the other crew members completed a series of checks to ensure the aircraft complies with all U.S. Air Force requirements. Other than the aircraft's unique Australian markings, the new C-17 is identical to the U.S. Air Force C-17s that Boeing is now manufacturing.

The first of four Australian C-17s will be delivered from Long Beach in late November. After a welcome ceremony in Canberra, Australia's capital city, the RAAF's first C-17 will arrive at RAAF Base Amberley, near Brisbane, in early December.

Source / Credit: The Boeing Company

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