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First KC-46A Pegasus arrives at Tinker for initial maintenance check

Gray airplane being sprayed by fire trucks

The first KC-46A Pegasus aircraft is hosed down to celebrate its arrival at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Sept. 10, 2020. The aircraft will undergo C-Check maintenance at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, which is performed every two years and includes operational checks, visual inspection and parts replacement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Gray airplane with group of people in front

Members of the 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group pose with the first KC-46A Pegasus aircraft to arrive at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, for initial an maintenance check Sept. 10, 2020. The aircraft will undergo C-Check maintenance at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, which is performed every two years and includes operational checks, visual inspection and parts replacement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Gray airplane taxis on runway

The first KC-46A Pegasus aircraft arrives at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Sept. 10, 2020. The aircraft will undergo C-Check maintenance at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, which is performed every two years and includes operational checks, visual inspection and parts replacement. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

The 76th Aircraft Maintenance Group held a small ceremony Sept. 10, 2020, to celebrate a big milestone.

The first KC-46A Pegasus aircraft arrived at Tinker Air Force Base on Thursday to receive its initial Maintenance C Check. Col. Greg Lowe, 76th AMXG commander, said the workforce is excited to get started on it.

“It’s an amazing day,” he said. “It’s a unique thing in the Air Force to have a new weapon system come online.”

Lowe said while it’s the start of a new chapter for Tinker, it is also just another day in the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex’s long history of performing world-class maintenance for nearly 80 years.

“This base, and this community, is a central hub for airpower for the United States,” he said. “In one sense, it’s just another day, but for the men and women who will work on the KC-46 here at Tinker it is absolutely a groundbreaking day.”

The KC-46 fleet is the first in Air Force history to use Federal Aviation Administration techniques. That means every two years the aircraft will come to Tinker for an overhaul to keep in line with those maintenance practices.

Gene Harris, 568th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron director, said over the next month the aircraft will be visually inspected and parts will be replaced as needed.

“We have maintainers who have been doing maintenance on legacy platforms, the KC-135s and B-1s, so we feel we have the maintainers able to support this workload,” he said. “We are postured to work with our Boeing partners, as well as our supply chain partners, to give us everything that’s required to return this aircraft back to its operating base. The men and women of the 568th [AMXS] are excited to take this into the future.”

When people look back on this historic day, Lowe said he hopes they remember the picture of the aircraft coming in. Two of Tinker’s firetrucks sprayed their water cannons to form a water bridge for the aircraft to taxi under and a large crowd was on hand to greet the aircraft and crew.

“That’s the purpose,” he said. “We’re not here to just turn wrenches and change tires. We’re here to put airplanes back in the air. There are American Airmen who are putting their lives on the line every day and the hard work of the men and women of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex make sure those aircraft get there safely.”