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In-Flight Refueling

lowtimedriver

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How much practice does it take to become proficient at aerial refueling from the receiving end? What are the challenges?

Thanks
 

Bjammin

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It depends on the aircraft you are refueling from. The KC-10 and S-3 seemed fairly easy while the KC-135 was a little more difficult.

If you can fly formation then tanking is actually not that hard. Most guys pick it up fairly quickly. Some struggle or have bad days. I found that NOT focusing so much on the basket, but more on flying formation and using peripheral vision to guide the basket stopped some of the pilot induced oscillations.

Challenges: Turbulence throwing the basket around. The hard basket and short hose of the KC-135, recieving probes in difficult positions, slipstreams that push the basket away from the probe.

Airforce guys use a different and easier boom system. With this system the boom operator can "fly" the boom to the recepticle on the aircraft. The Navy uses a hose a basket system because no carrier based aircraft can carry a boom. We must fly the probe into the basket.
 
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Deuce130

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Airforce guys use a different and easier boom system. With this system the boom operator can "fly" the boom to the recepticle on the aircraft. The Navy uses a hose a basket system because no carrier based aircraft can carry a boom. We must fly the probe into the basket.

Not exactly. Most USAF aircraft can't see the boom where it fits into the receptacle. We've got a very small window to put the aircraft in a position for the boom operator to maneuver the boom into place. The limits on the boom are pretty tight, so saying the boomer can simply "fly" the boom into position is a misnomer.
 

McGillicutty

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In the Gunship, it's challenging because of performance. Almost every AR in country is a 300fpm toboggan at low altitude and sometimes a climb back up to altitude to complete the onload. Other than that, the actual hand flying portion isn't all that difficult.
 

BeeVee

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We would routinely take on 90k lbs of fuel in the C-141...thats about 15-20 minutes straight on the boom. It can be very exhausting....I found it much harder to refuel behind a KC-135 than a KC-10. This is mainly bacause the boom on a KC-10 has a much larger "envelope".

Formation AR could also get pretty exciting. 6 C-141's getting ready to do an Airdrop mission coming up on 3 "stacked" KC-135's.....at night.....with marginal weather....in a turn..... you wanna talk about getting the leans.
 

PreContact

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Night 'consolidation' 10 on 10 over the AOR blacked-out ops with a 120k onload as a copilot!...now that was fun!
 

JungleJett

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How about AR in a helicopter behind a HC/MC-130..

Lots of spinning parts...and danger close.
 

SIG600

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At night, in the weather, tanking off the Iron Maiden... is not for Air Force boom guys! :) In all seriousness, the basket is on the end of a 6' hose, so you have about a 2' box in which you need to keep your jet. We (Hornets) can only take about 1K #'s a minute too, so you can be in the basket upwards of 10 minutes. When the boom is moving, it's bumpy, the sun is in your eyes, etc... that 180 # metal basket can snap your probe right off. It can be a grueling 10 minutes, especially when you have to do it 3+ times/mission.

I've heard the pointy nose USAF guys can actually couple up to the tanker, and let the autopilot fly. Is that true?
 

ExAF

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Ar

Having done both basket and boom, I think the basket is much easier than boom. (at least when the AR door is behind the cockpit and not visible from the cockpit) Having said that, I still don't think I would put AR in the "difficult" column for a fighter-type aircraft. It just takes a little more concentration and formation flying.
 

bagasticks

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At night, in the weather, tanking off the Iron Maiden... is not for Air Force boom guys! :) In all seriousness, the basket is on the end of a 6' hose, so you have about a 2' box in which you need to keep your jet. We (Hornets) can only take about 1K #'s a minute too, so you can be in the basket upwards of 10 minutes. When the boom is moving, it's bumpy, the sun is in your eyes, etc... that 180 # metal basket can snap your probe right off. It can be a grueling 10 minutes, especially when you have to do it 3+ times/mission.

I've heard the pointy nose USAF guys can actually couple up to the tanker, and let the autopilot fly. Is that true?


i would have to agree with this (from the other guys perspective). as a boomer, I hated hornets, easy to wrap the hose around the probe, beat the crap out of the canopy etc. .As a hornet plane captain, the planes always came back beat the f up and i would spend hours out there with the scrubby bubbles. . . oh yeah and navy dudes. . . the boom doesnt lock into a fixed position while in trail (used to get asked all the time "boom, can you lock the boom?)

I did once have #4 of a flight of light-grays up at cope thunder latch onto the boom and i couldnt punch him off. when i told the flight lead that i had delayed disconnect and that 4 was done, lead said "standby". . . . . . . . .. .. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . .he's fixed, and will be buying the beer tonight.
 

Goose17

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yes - close

How about AR in a helicopter behind a HC/MC-130..

Lots of spinning parts...and danger close.

I used to "pass gas" in an HC/MC-130P before switching to MC-130Hs. The helos were definitely close. The -47 really use to push us around - you could feel them back there. Of course, we were slightly above stall speed, at night and low to the ground to boot. Ahh the memories.
 

Scrapdog

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At night, in the weather, tanking off the Iron Maiden... is not for Air Force boom guys! :) In all seriousness, the basket is on the end of a 6' hose, so you have about a 2' box in which you need to keep your jet. We (Hornets) can only take about 1K #'s a minute too, so you can be in the basket upwards of 10 minutes. When the boom is moving, it's bumpy, the sun is in your eyes, etc... that 180 # metal basket can snap your probe right off. It can be a grueling 10 minutes, especially when you have to do it 3+ times/mission.

I've heard the pointy nose USAF guys can actually couple up to the tanker, and let the autopilot fly. Is that true?

Come on Sig, don't be a tool. We use an autopilot? Give me a break...hopefully as a fighter guy like yourself (and I use that term loosely from your hotbunking background) you're saying that tongue-in-cheek. If you honestly are asking that - your SA is much lower than I thought.
 

SIG600

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Come on Sig, don't be a tool. We use an autopilot? Give me a break...hopefully as a fighter guy like yourself (and I use that term loosely from your hotbunking background) you're saying that tongue-in-cheek. If you honestly are asking that - your SA is much lower than I thought.

Heard it from the Mudhen guys when I was in Bagram. They said it's a datalink system to couple up. You guys get money to buy all kinds of sh1t, I wouldn't be surprised! Hell, we have a datalink system that will autoland on the boat, coupling up to a tanker wouldn't be that magical.
 

bagasticks

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Heard it from the Mudhen guys when I was in Bagram. They said it's a datalink system to couple up. You guys get money to buy all kinds of sh1t, I wouldn't be surprised! Hell, we have a datalink system that will autoland on the boat, coupling up to a tanker wouldn't be that magical.


must have been a WSO and he probably honestly thinks thats how it works. . . . probably as a result of some pointy-head buttons he pushes in the back. .
 

Mongoose69

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Hook, line, and sinker...

Heard it from the Mudhen guys when I was in Bagram. They said it's a datalink system to couple up. You guys get money to buy all kinds of sh1t, I wouldn't be surprised! Hell, we have a datalink system that will autoland on the boat, coupling up to a tanker wouldn't be that magical.

I bet they were laughing their a$$es off afterwards too. Did you know gullible isn't in the dictionary either?

Cheers,
-Jason
 

Mud Eagle

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Heard it from the Mudhen guys when I was in Bagram. They said it's a datalink system to couple up.

They were pulling your chain bigtime.

Or, maybe they were wearing their ascots too tight and were having delusions due to hypoxia.
 
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