The first of four new airplanes that will transport U.S. government officials made its first flight Feb. 11.
At 3:41 p.m. PST, the C-32A - a slightly modified Boeing 757-200 - took off from Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Wash. Approximately two hours later, after a series of flight tests, the C-32A landed at Boeing Field in Seattle.
"The C-32A is designed as a place for conducting business," said Mark Rogers, Boeing C-32A program manager. "The U.S. Air Force has a need for a dependable, efficient and affordable office-in-the-sky for government officials, and that's exactly what Boeing will deliver in the C-32A."
The Air Force is purchasing the C-32A using standard commercial practices, without the conventional military specifications and oversight normally associated with government programs.
"With this approach, we think the Air Force is getting the best airplane for the mission at a significant savings for the taxpayer," Rogers said.
The value of the C-32A contracts, including procurement and contractor logistic support through the year 2005, is approximately $540 million. This includes maintenance, on-site logistics and technical support provided by a Boeing-United Airlines team. Boeing and United Airlines also will supply spares, perform aircraft and engine heavy maintenance, and provide various other engineering services.
The C-32A will replace the Air Force's aging fleet of C-137s - modified 707s that have been used to transport government officials since the 1950s.
The 757-200 enjoys an unmatched safety record and is the most efficient jetliner in the world in terms of operating cost. The 757-200 also is one of the world's most reliable jetliners.
The C-32A will be certified to the most-current Federal Aviation Administration standards. Safety features on the aircraft include a Flight Management System with integrated, non-precision approach capable Global Positioning Service; wind-shear warning integrated with the Ground Proximity Warning System; Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems; and the most capable flight data and voice recorders available.
The twin-engine C-32A has seating for 45 passengers and 16 crew. The engines, built by Pratt & Whitney, are Stage III noise compliant.
The first two C-32As will be delivered to the Air Force this spring, and the following two aircraft will be delivered later this year. The C-32A fleet will be based at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and operated by the 89th Airlift Wing.