America’s New Trainer: The Boeing T-X Completes EMD Test Flight Over St. Louis

Two Boeing T-X's over St. Louis. (Photo: Boeing)

On July 1, Boeing’s latest military aircraft, the Boeing T-X, soared over the skies of St. Louis on its first official Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) flight test. Although the Boeing T-X first flew over two years ago in December 2016, this recent flight marks the next step towards ensuring operational capabilities for the aircraft. The EMD test flight was uneventful for the flight crew of two test pilots.

Boeing T-X Chief Pilot Steve “Bull” Schmidt remarked the test flight “went extremely well.”

“She flew just superb. First flight EMD test program, first test points went off without a hitch,” Schmidt concluded.

Boeing was awarded the U.S. Air Force T-X pilot training contract on Sept. 27, 2018, to fund some 351 jets, 46 simulators and associated ground equipment. Boeing is not alone in this venture, however, as renowned partners including Saab, General Electric and L3 Technologies to name a few are also supporting.

The program and its partners will support more than 17,000 jobs across 34 states, according to Boeing. In addition to supporting the job market, the Boeing T-X will be more than 90 percent made in America. The entire program contract is estimated at $9.2 billion.

This new trainer for the U.S. Air Force will provide a more modern and advanced platform for the aging Northrop Grumman T-38 Talon which has been in operation since 1961.  The Boeing T-X is designed with sustainability in mind, offering interchangeable control surfaces, drop-down panel doors, and even faster engine changes. This gives peace of mind to pilots and maintenance technicians with this new training platform.

According to Northrup Grumman, more than 500 T-38s are currently in operation with the U.S. Air Force as well as NASA and have produced replacement wings to elongate the life of the aircraft until at least 2020. For now, the Boeing T-X is succeeding well in their timeline and will soon be supporting the next phase of U.S. Air Force pilots off in the wild blue yonder.

Boeing plans to have initial operating capability of the Boeing T-X by 2024.

Andrew Burnham

Andrew joined AirlineGeeks in 2019 as a writer. He is a Ramp Tower Controller for Washington Dulles (IAD), and when he’s not controlling aircraft, he’s photographing them. From dispatching aircraft at Delta Private Jets, to flying a Cessna 172S, Andrew has seen his fair share of the industry already. His favorite flying moment was riding in the jump seat in a Challenger 604 into iconic Aspen, Colorado. In his spare time, he enjoys flying to the next $100 hamburger restaurant and reading the latest AOPA magazine. Aviation isn’t just an industry, it’s a lifestyle.
Andrew Burnham