Sometimes It's Obvious

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Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled a new tanker modification this week: a boom-equipped tanker based on the Boeing 767-300ER, with a new fly-by-wire boom.

What's interesting is that Boeing, back in 2005, firmly announced that it couldn't be done. In a briefing at the Avalon air show in Australia, I asked why Boeing wasn't proposing tankers based on used 767s -- and low-time 767s were widely available on the market at the time.

The answer was that you needed the high-gross-weight ER version of the 767 for a tanker mission, but the great majority of the HGW airframes were -300s, and the longer-body aircraft did not have sufficient tail clearance at rotation to accommodate a boom.

IAI has solved the problem (patent here) by designing a low-profile boom and providing a structural recess for the pivot mechanism. It all seems a little obvious in retrospect.

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

on Aug 28, 2014

It's ALWAYS "obvious" after somebody else does it. There's always an army of naysayers who will bravely tell you why something can't be done. The Israeli philosophy has always been they DO NOT want to hear from those people and ONLY allow those with ideas on how something "impossible" might be done to speak.

on Aug 28, 2014

There is - Can Do - Can't Do - and a very lonely place called MUST Do.
Israel lives there.

on Aug 28, 2014

Israel does both the possible and the impossible.
If you look at the achievements of a country that for 66 years had mostly to deal with surrounding countries and terror organizations trying to destroy it, whose majority of population rose from ashes of concentration camps and arrived as refugees driven out of Arab countries - to gain 14 Nobel prizes and be a leading high tech inventor - you should take you hats off.
Computer chips, drip irrigation, Iron Dome, pill that travel thru the digestion system and digitally records the system - and countless more.
Chapeau!

on Aug 28, 2014

The Israeli firm of IAI modified an ex-civvy 767-200 into a tanker and transport for the Colombian Air Force and sold it for a mere $ 70 million. IAI obtained a contract for a couple of ex-ccivies 767-300s transformed into tankers and transport planes for a bit more consering that the refueling system is more advanced and sold them to the Brazilian Air Force. The U.S. Airforce bought 180 KC-46s brand new from Boeing at an estimated (not firm) unit price of $ 120 million. You draw your own conclussions.

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