Military Aviation

Boeing T-7A Crew Shuts Off, Restarts Engine in Flight to Demonstrate Red Hawk’s Reliability

Boeing T-7A trainer crew recently did it, at 20,000 feet above an Illinois test area, then flew the plane for 48 seconds before restarting the GE F404 engine and landing back at Boeing’s St. Louis site.

Restarting a military jet’s engine in flight is a critical safety feature that can only be demonstrated by doing something a flight crew rarely wants to do: shutting off the engine in flight.

That’s all the more daunting in a single-engine aircraft. Yet, a Boeing T-7A trainer crew recently did it, at 20,000 feet above an Illinois test area, then flew the plane for 48 seconds before restarting the GE F404 engine and landing back at Boeing’s St. Louis site.

“Engine air start testing requires a large amount of preparation, planning and teamwork,” said T-7A Chief Pilot Steve Schmidt in the company news release. “It’s a test of all the subsystems built for backup in the event a pilot would have to shut the engine down in an emergency and power it back up again.”

Schmidt performed the test with fellow Boeing Pilot William Berryman. The company expects to deliver the first T-7A Red Hawk to the U.S. Air Force in 2023.

“This is a testament not only to the confidence our pilots have in the reliability of the T-7A aircraft, but also to the team who designed, engineered and built this new trainer aircraft for the Air Force,” said Chuck Dabundo, T-7 vice president and program manager.

In September 2018, the U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a $9.2 billion contract to supply T-7A aircraft and training simulators. Designed by Boeing and Saab, the T-7A Red Hawk is the new advanced pilot training system for the U.S. Air Force (USAF) that will train the next generation of pilots for decades to come.

Building off the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, the T-7A Red Hawk pays tribute to the legends of the past and the heroes of the future.

An all-new training system purpose-built for the mission, the T-7A gives the USAF a flexible design that can adapt as technologies and training needs change.

The T-7A has already accumulated more than 175 hours of flight time in more than 160 developmental test flights.

Photo credit: Boeing

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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