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C-17s Conduct Formation Flight Testing

Seven Globemaster IIIs Evaluate Formation Flight Mod

They say, "birds of a feather," you know..."flock together and evaluate their flight system modifications." Right?  Well, seven birds of the C-17 Globemaster III "feather" did just that at Edwards Air Force Base, CA.  The 418th Flight Test Squadron conducted flight tests Tuesday, launching seven of the powerful aircraft over the desert skies.

The  test, designed to evaluate recent modifications made to the airframe's formation flight system, required multiple C-17s to fly in formation to validate FFS performance.

The FFS enables the pilot to monitor and fly the aircraft in formation with other C-17s at the same altitude and distance in any weather condition.

The C-17 has a basic mission requirement to fly large-scale formations, both in the clear and through the clouds. The purpose is to deliver both personnel and equipment with both speed and accuracy.

C-17 Formation Flight/USAF PHOTO

The lead pilot sends information electronically through the FFS ensuring entire formation maintains proper speed and altitude.

This seven-ship flight test is a build-up of previous tests. Initially, the formation flight system was tested here in the summer of 2008. Later it was tested at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., in four-ship formation. Last year at Edwards, the 418th FLTS conducted the same test using a six-ship formation.

An Air Force news story stated the squadron was to fly second formation test Thursday with follow-on testing next week.

FMI: www.af.mil



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