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C-17S SET WEEKLY RECORD; PILOTS PRAISE PERFORMANCE

 C-17S SET WEEKLY RECORD; PILOTS PRAISE PERFORMANCE
 EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The first two


U.S. Air Force/McDonnell Douglas C-17 airlifters combined last week (May 31-June 6) to record the highest weekly flying hour total since the flight test program began last September.
 The two C-17s flew a combined total of 26 flight hours, exceeding the previous weekly record of 19.8 hours set in April. The two C-17s flew simultaneous flight test missions here on consecutive days on June 2-3, and P-1, the first production C-17, flew the longest mission to date -- 5.9 hours -- on June 2.
 P-1's longest mission included air data calibration, autopilot- autothrottle checks and flying qualities evaluation work. Meanwhile, T- 1 conducted minimum speed maneuvers, engine airstarts and in-flight thrust reverser deployment. T-1 also achieved the highest gross takeoff weight to date -- 515,000 pounds. (Maximum gross takeoff weight is 580,000 pounds).
 The new transport is receiving high marks from the pilots flying it. "A lot of things make the C-17 better than any airlifter we currently have," said Lt. Col. George London, Air Force test pilot with the 6517th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards, who co-piloted T-1 on its inaugural flight.
 The C-17's cockpit design, as well as its computerized fly-by-wire flight control system, make it easier to fly, London said. "The C-17's cockpit is far superior to anything we have today," he told Airman Magazine in a recent interview. "The stick (instead of the traditional yoke on transport planes) makes the plane easier to control. Light force is all you need.
 "In current airlifters we would fly around in the pattern at base speed plus 20 knots. At the threshold you would add 10 knots and at touchdown drop 10 knots below that speed.
 "In the C-17 we fly at one speed -- from turn to final, final, over threshold and touchdown. We fly angle of attack all the way down and land it just like a fighter. We drive it straight down to the ground," added London, a test pilot with experience in more than 40 types of aircraft.
 "This is a pretty robust airplane and will be worth its weight in gold," London said. "With its short, austere field landing abilities, the C-17 opens up 10,000 additional runways around the world."
 The C-17 is the first big military aircraft to use digital fly-by wire technology, and has a quadruple-redundant electronic flight control system, plus a backup mechanical system. Redundancy assures the C-17 can maintain control for a safe landing with any one hydraulic system operating.
 The computerized system reduces workload, allowing three crewmembers -- pilot, co-pilot and loadmaster -- to man the aircraft, eliminating the need for a flight engineer and navigator.
 "You don't fly this airplane, you interface with it," said Capt. Ron Nadreau, of the Air Mobility Command team performing initial operational test and evaluation on the C-17.
 Nadreau, who flew the C-17 last week and has more simulator hours on the aircraft than any other pilot, calls the C-17 a pilot's dream. Comparing flying the C-17 to the four years he spent behind the yoke of a C-5, Nadreau said, "It's like going from Fred Flintstone to George Jetson."
 "The handling qualities of this aircraft are far better than those of any other transport aircraft I've ever flown," said Chuck Walls, McDonnell Douglas' C-17 project pilot, who flew P-1's inaugural flight and has more than 75 hours of C-17 flying time.
 "I've flown all the Air Force transports in the current inventory, and this aircraft far surpasses them all. Its state-of-the-art technology, including the fly-by-wire flight control system, makes it easier to do the tasks at hand," Walls said.
 Walls, who flew C-130s in the Vietnam conflict, wishes the C-17 had been available then. "I flew C-130s into short jungle airfields, and during the landing you had to make allowances to "flare" at the last minute. With the C-17, which can carry four times the load, you just aim and put in on the end of the runway."
 -0- 6/9/92
 /CONTACT: Jim Ramsey of Douglas Aircraft Co., 310-496-5027/
 (MD) CO: Douglas Aircraft Co. ST: California IN: ARO SU:


EH -- LA020 -- 8453 06/09/92 15:38 EDT
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Date:Jun 9, 1992
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