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THIRD C-17 JOINS FLIGHT TEST FLEET, BRINGS TOTAL TO FIVE COMPLETED

THIRD C-17 JOINS FLIGHT TEST FLEET, BRINGS TOTAL TO FIVE COMPLETED
 LONG BEACH, Calif., June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The second production C-17, the third of the versatile new U.S. Air Force transports to fly, successfully completed its inaugural test flight yesterday (June 21) with a 2.5 hour mission to Edwards AFB, Calif.
 Called P-2, this is the fifth C-17 completed by McDonnell Douglas (NYSE: MD) at its facilities here. Two of the first five C-17s are non-flying aircraft and are being used for static and durability structural testing.
 P-2 joins P-1, the first production aircraft, and T-1, the first test aircraft, in the combined Air Force and McDonnell Douglas flight test program currently under way at Edwards.
 "Delivery of our fifth aircraft, and third flight test aircraft, will have a significant impact on the flight test program," said David O. Swain, executive vice president of Douglas Aircraft Co.'s Government Segment.
 "This delivery will enable the Combined Test Force to conduct a true multi-ship test program at Edwards, with the goal of having at least two aircraft in the air on most test days, with three aircraft flying on many days."
 P-2 will demonstrate aircraft range and payload performance and be used as the avionics qualification aircraft. It will use updated software in conjunction with updated avionics hardware.
 For approximately the first 50 hours, P-2 will demonstrate range, payload and fuel consumption along with lift and drag performance and cruise performance. Special instrumentation, installed in cooperation with Pratt & Whitney, producer of the C-17's F117-PW-100 engines, will provide precise measurement of fuel flow, engine thrust, and exhaust gas emission.
 The upgraded flight control software will result in improved handling characteristics for the aircraft, plus provide additional autopilot modes, according to Mike Watkins, Douglas general manager of avionics/flight controls for the C-17.
 "P-2 features additional avionics capabilities--not required on the T-1 and P-1 aircraft--permitting qualification of navigation and communications systems," Watkins said. In the near future, plans are to install the same capability into aircraft already delivered.
 Navigation equipment to be tested includes both inertial and GPS (Global Positioning System). Other systems to be tested include the weather radar, high frequency (HF) radio and the OBIGGS (onboard inert gas generating system), which injects nitrogen-enriched air into the fuel tanks to minimize the chance of fire during an emergency.
 The avionics and flight control software upgrades "will have a tremendous impact on our ability to quickly prepare the aircraft for test missions," said Harry O'Brien, a McDonnell Douglas C-17 flight test coordinator.
 "We will now have the capability to automatically perform the electronic flight control system (EFCS) preflight check in about 18 minutes. This compares with approximately two hours to manually preflight the system, which has been done in the past," O'Brien said.
 To date in the flight test program, T-1 has flown 79 missions for a total of 249.2 flight hours. Earlier this week (on June 17), the airlifter's cargo door and ramp were opened in flight for the first time. P-1, which made its inaugural flight May 18, has flown 9 missions, totaling 29.6 hours. On June 17, it reached a maximum altitude of 40,947 feet.
 The C-17, designed to fulfill airlift needs well into the next century, can carry large combat equipment and troops or humanitarian aid across international distances directly to forward, austere airfields anywhere in the world.
 The Air Force plans to acquire 120 C-17s, with the first full squadron operational by the end of 1994.
 -0- 6/22/92
 /CONTACT: Larry McCracken of Douglas Aircraft Co., 310-522-2552/
 (MD) CO: McDonnell Douglas; U.S. Air Force ST: California IN: ARO SU:


CH -- LA014 -- 2443 06/22/92 13:37 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 22, 1992
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