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Air Force Boeing 757 Fit To Fly

Air Force Boeing 757 Fit To Fly

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The newly modified RNZAF Boeing 757 (NZ7571) after successfully completing its first test flight at the Mobile Aerospace Engineering facilities in Alabama.

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Release

June 26 2008


In what is a significant milestone for the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s Boeing 757 modification and upgrade programme, the first of two aircraft (NZ7571) has completed successful test flights at Mobile Aerospace Engineering in Mobile, Alabama.

The Boeing has had significant structural modification and we are delighted with how the aircraft performed and handled, said RNZAF 757 test pilot, Squadron Leader Richard Beaton

“Even though we have been flying and operating the Boeing for five years now there is always a certain amount of excitement and anticipation when you first take control of an aircraft that has had as much work done on it as 7571.

“Of particular interest to us was how the aircraft handled with the changes having been made to the aircraft fuselage combined with the increase in thrust from the engines.

“All going well from this point, we hope to have the aircraft signed over to the Ministry of Defence and then returned to New Zealand in the next two months,” Squadron Leader Beaton said.

Two RNZAF Boeing 757 aircraft are currently undergoing a modification programme at Mobile Aerospace Engineering in Mobile, Alabama, and Boeing Integrated Defence Systems in Wichita, Kansas. The programme includes extensive airframe and avionics (navigation/communication) modifications.

The modified 757 will provide the RNZAF with the ability to rapidly change the role of the aircraft to any given task, converting from standard passenger configuration to a combination freight/passenger, full freight, Aero Medical Evacuation (AME) and VIP set up.

The $221 million dollar acquisition and modification project commenced in May 2003 when the RNZAF replaced its aging Boeing 727 aircraft.

The second RNZAF 757 is expected to return later in the year with both modified 757 aircraft expected to be fully operational and available from early 2009.


Test Flight Information

The first RNZAF Boeing 757 test flight was conducted in a little over four hours proving the operation of normal systems and equipment on the aircraft. The test flight also certified the functionality of safety and backup systems.

This comprehensive test flight followed a series of thorough ground tests after more than a year of modifications on the ground in the United States. It has realised significant structural and avionic upgrades on the Boeing 757 making it one of the most extensively modified 757 aircraft to date.

During the test flight the aircraft was flown close to the limits of its normal operating envelope to verify the safety margins that will be used for everyday operations. This test flight is the same as the first flight that would normally be conducted by Boeing when a newly manufactured aircraft is released from the factory.

The flight included operating the aircraft at its maximum and minimum speeds and verifying the airborne characteristics during specific manoeuvres. It also confirmed the correct function of warning systems for the landing gear, flaps and the navigation approach systems.

Overall six test flights will be completed during the Acceptance, Test and Evaluation programme.


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