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KC-46 Flies Around The World Nonstop

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A KC-46 from the 22nd Air Refueling Wing accomplished something no 767 or KC-46 has ever done before. On June 29th, the jet took off from McConnell Air Force base and flew west. It landed 45 hours later back at McConnell completing an around the world journey. (avgeekery.com) More...

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stratofan
stratofan 16
A tip of the hat to this aircrew and the ground support crew for making this flight a reality.
nathansthepilot
Nathan Cox 11
Just waiting for the “flat earth” folks to chime in… 😂
TimDyck
Tim Dyck 3
I’m sure they have a scientific reason why this can happen. A few years ago I looked up the flat earth stuff to use as a joke in a debate and was surprised at the reasonings they have to explain things like satellites orbiting the planet.
BTW the debate was about misinformation on the internet.
craiglgood
Craig Good 5
This just in: Earth still a globe.
Propwash122
Peter Fuller 4
We know the earth isn’t flat, because, if it were, cats would’ve long since knocked everything off the edge.
hangar14
Rick D 2
Good one.
hangar14
Rick D 3
Since it landed at the airport of departure, technically it can only be logged as a local flight, not cross-country.
Giakoumisforce
We will be flying thru space in the near future,what an adventure that will be!
srobak
srobak 2
The funniest part is it also couldn't refuel itself - and instead had to rely on the 135 that it is supposed to replace to keep it in the air lol.
LeanderWilliams
I know nothing about the KC-46, but I thought it was a refueling aircraft. If this is true, how much fuel does it carry BESIDES its' own fuel load? Not enough to go around the world without refueling in-flight. That would be something to see a refueling tanker made a non-stop journey round the world.
mmayer
mmayer 2
Is there a map of their flight path anywhere?

Maybe not since it is military, but I'd be interested to see the routing.
brianm825
Search 20-46075 and you should be able to see its most recent flights; RCH046 on June 29 and July 1.

Departed from McConnell June 29 around 21:00Z headed west. Left the CONUS near Ft. Bragg, CA and dropped from tracking. Picked up a brief blip as it passed over Hawaii.

The July 1 RCH046 flight track picks it up again over the UAE, through the Persian Gulf to Turkiye and across Europe. We see a loop off the coast of England north of RAF Mildenhall for refuelling.

It appears again with a brief blip off the coast of Iceland and disappears again until it re-enters the CONUS over Lake Superior.

I searched through all the 16-46.., 17-46.., 18-46.., etc Pegasus aircraft’s in the fleet and any flights around July 1 to try to figure out which one it was.😅
Once I landed on 20-46075 and googled it I found a good write up on Twitter/X by “MeNMyRC”

https://x.com/MeNMyRC1/status/1808242275710898243
ElliotCannon
Curtis LeMay did it years ago out of Westover Air Force Base. No big deal.
TimDyck
Tim Dyck -1
Was he flying a KC-46?
yr2012
matt jensen 2
Hell NO. Read your up on your history - Something other than Wiki
In 1949 a Buff did the same flight - r/t/w
yr2012
matt jensen 2
https://ahf.nuclearmuseum.org/ahf/profile/curtis-lemay/
mikenitschke
Amazing great plane. does the job.
srobak
srobak -1
Lol. Funny post!
robchandler
It would be interesting to compare the distance they flew vs the distance they covered. Since the planet was rotating beneath them, the actual flown distance would be less.
FredRamon
Fred Ramon 5
The atmosphere above the earth is moving eastward with the earth at 733mph. You do not cover more ground in an airplane when flying west.
robchandler
Thanks for clearing that up.
TimDyck
Tim Dyck 0
The air speed wouldn't change would but the distance covered would change due to the earths rotation beneath the plane depending on if your travelling east or west?
FredRamon
Fred Ramon 3
No, the earth and the airspace around the earth are rotating together, including an aircraft in the sky. Everything within the earths atmosphere is rotating with the earth at 733mph. Even when you are sitting on your couch smoking a fat one 🤣
robchandler
Is 733mph the rotational speed at the equator at sea level, since it would vary based on latitude and altitude?
brianm825
Search 20-46075 and you should be able to see its most recent flights; RCH046 on June 29 and July 1.

I also googled “20-46075 flight path” and found a good write up on Twitter/X by “MeNMyRC” with some screen grabs of the flight.

https://x.com/MeNMyRC1/status/1808242275710898243
sparkie624
sparkie624 0
Excellent.. The KC-46 is a Good and Solid aircraft!
mattwestuk
Matt West 4
I don't know if I would call it "solid". To be sure, the airframe it's based on has an excellent record as both a passenger and cargo aircraft. The 46 however is still not at full operational ability, even after so many years. They're still working out a number of "bugs", including FOD, which has caused the USAF to stop deliveries in the past.

I don't know how they were able to take such a proven workhorse and mess it up the way they have. That said, if anyone could screw it up, it'd be Boeing.
sledogpilot
Duane Mader 4
FOD? FOD is foreign object damage or foreign object debris. How is that an airplane design problem?
sparkie624
sparkie624 2
There is a group local here flying them, and I have not seen issues with them and I also know a mechanic who works at the airbase as a mechanic. They seem to really like the plane!
srobak
srobak 0
The boomers hate them because the remote boom ops are complete garbage. Latency and precision issues. They've been plagued with design and electrical issues on multiple fronts and the entire fleet has been grounded more times than the max. Read up on the history - the 46 and the 35 alike are the most hated aircraft in the af. The funniest part is it also couldn't refuel itself - and instead had to rely on the 135 that it is supposed to replace to keep it in the air lol.
yr2012
matt jensen 2
We love the KC135 as it only requires three man crew. The 46 needs 8-10 men to do the same job
srobak
srobak 0
Sorry f-35 is hated
dwiggins01
If john McCain would have gotten his way, the contract would have gone to Airbus. Would you be happy then? What is the FOD issue and why do I think it's another red herring?
Nooge
Nooge 1
So you did not vote for John ?
srobak
srobak 0
On what planet?
maicokid
Tim Trosky 0
Tell them to try going around Canis Major, largest know star at 600 mph. Would take 1100 years. No problem.... Great job and congratulations.
FredRamon
Fred Ramon 0
What was the purpose of the flight? Was it just a test?

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

sparkie624
sparkie624 15
It may be old, but first time that I have seen it.
TimDyck
Tim Dyck 3
Only a month and a half old and had it not been here I would not have seen it.

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