Boeing T-7A Completes First Flight
St. Louis, MO
The U.S. Air Force’s new pilot training aircraft, Boeing’s T-7A, completed its first flight on June 28, 2023. The aircraft is the first digitally designed tactical aircraft, developed using model-based systems engineering and 3D design tools.
During the 1 hour and 3 minute flight, U.S. Air Force Maj. Bryce Turner, 416th Test Squadron, and Steve Schmidt, Boeing T-7 Chief Test Pilot, validated key aspects of the aircraft and demonstrated the power and agility of the Air Force’s first advanced trainer to be digitally designed, built and tested. The aircraft is one of five EMD aircraft that will be delivered to the Air Force Air Education and Training Command for further testing.
“The stable performance of the aircraft and its advanced cockpit and systems are game changers for U.S. Air Force student pilots and instructors alike,” said Turner, whose grandfather and father were both U.S. Air Force fighter pilots. “We’ve come a long way in training since my family role models flew.”
The T-7A’s vibrant red tails are a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American U.S. military aviators who flew red-tailed fighters during World War II. The T-7A moved from firm concept to flight testing in 36 months. A combination of model-based engineering, 3D design and advanced manufacturing increased first-time quality by 75 percent and reduced assembly hours by 80 percent compared to previous trainers.
In 2018, the Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract for 351 T-7A advanced trainers, 46 simulators and support. The T-7A will replace the Air Force’s aging T-38 aircraft.