The KC-46 tanker aircraft (the U.S. military's designation for the 767s it uses as tankers, and which every other country calls the KC-767) uses an early version of an MCAS.1 This was ostensibly developed to cope with shifts in the aircraft's weight and center of mass during aerial-refuelling operations:

... The KC-46 uses a similar system because the weight and balance of the tanker shifts as it redistributes and offloads fuel. The KC-46 has a two-sensor MCAS system, which “compares the two readings,” the Air Force said.

However, even though changes in weight and balance as a result of onloading, transferring, and offloading fuel are common to all tankers, and, yet, the KC-135, KC-10, KC-130, KC-30, et al, do just fine without any MCASesque system.

What makes the KC-46 special in this regard?

1: The KC-46's early-model MCAS was later developed (incompetently) into the MCAS version used on the 737 MAX.

  • $\begingroup$ Just spitballing here - maybe because it is the newest of the tankers, and computer processing power had improved enough to easily implement the controllers needed for improved flight control characteristics? $\endgroup$ – selectstriker2 Nov 7 '19 at 14:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The real question is, if they had a previous system that compared two sensors, why would they only use one sensor on the 737MAX? $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Nov 7 '19 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ One only speculate that it was a cost saving measures. One less probe, less installation cost. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Nov 7 '19 at 18:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.