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Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by WannFly, Feb 2, 2021.
He has some good stories. One of my fav YT channels. Got to fly the boom for a few seconds once.
It was always entertaining to hear the difference in conversation topic between female booms/aircrew on a KC-10 or MPRS -135 when they would re-config to "plug" the AF guys (after being plugged by us)
This is the last pic I have of me on the tanker before I retired.
yup, the only part of flying the Buff that didn't bore me to sleep. Here's pre-contact on the way back from Guam circa 2008, over Hawaii. -135 tanking was more challenging than -10 due to having way more wingspan than the fomer so the spoilers got vortex washed if you got off-center, and bow-riding their autopilot trim to disengage on the way in (sts).
I got lucky once as a civilian to get to ride on a -135 and observe a refueling of a B-52. Simply amazing!
One of the greatest things I ever did in the service was hitch a ride next to the boom operator on one of our KC-135 during a refueling mission. I think we were supporting a bunch of AWACS at that time. Nothing on earth is like it.
Try that little hand gesture in my world while in the maiden and you'll get a free basket to take home on your probe and maybe even a section of hose down the engine (or you know, maybe just a 4 channel AoA failure?)
I kid I kid.....cool pic!
That's what I used to think before I got my big-boy fighter pilot pants.
Kidding of course; I do remember being a newbie and looking at my IP's on the boom with their hand up on the towel rack and thinking they were gods... Till I did it one day and found that it was easier to not overcontrol.
A bud was a Boom Operator on KC -97’s.
He said that Pan Am approached him as they were considering using tankers in the
There was a custom that if a Fighter Pilot came back with a bent
IFR ( in flight refueling) Probe the Crew Chief would be awarded a bottle of
I honored with one by a rather famous USAF Pilot.
Finally. A video about cool airplanes.
Yep, was always nice to be fragged to tank off a soft basket. The KC-10 was nice but the VC-10 and Victor with three baskets were always welcome!
Eastern Turkey before heading into Iraq
One of my old employees was the boom operator on the KC-10. The real fun one was fueling the SR-71's. The tanker had to really book along and they had to add weights to the end of the boom to make it stabile at that speed.
Is 25,000 feet normal refueling altitude?
Here in my little part of the southwest they are usually refueling around 11-12,000msl.
Low enough to get in the way when climbing for altitude.
Perhaps C-130s? I’ve been on a couple of those flights and they told me they had to be somewhat low (11,000 ft) to get a high enough indicated AS for the fighters. Not sure if that’s true or not but made sense. Windows aren’t the best for photography though compared to a 135.
I know we were at 25,000 when refueling the B-52, because I kept going from the boomer station to the cockpit trading places with others on the ride.
We usually refuel in the 20's. Sometimes the airspace is the main restriction for altitude due to corridors for commercial traffic or the like. Helo's obviously refuel lower and a few other assets. Down in the teens, the Eagle is so touchy that refueling is actually a bit harder. (engines spool up faster, more air on the wing so a slight twitch is noticable, etc)
Here's a page where I posted pictures from a KC-10 ride many years ago:
Convair 880 anyone?
(apologies for the crappy but large scans)
from the trunk
Wow, had totally forgotten about the Convair.
Nice pics nauga. Nice looking jet too....was that a one-off for test world? Nice looking Hornet too......one seat too many and 1000 lb to little gas, but I'll allow it for you
haha nice capture of whales mating in the wild!
Interesting data point. Obviously we used the same tracks and altitudes as you guys, which was normally just fine. High 20s with a combat load in a small motor Hornet got tricky towards the end/max offload.....you'd be stroking min blower here and there to stay in the basket. Rhino was better and I don't remember having that problem with the added T/W. But we also do a lot of organic tanking waaaay lower, like routinely at 8-10k, and then your recovery "hawk" will be at 2-3k normally....I've even done lower than that. Of course that is (at least these days) apple plugging apple rather than orange, so I'd imagine that matters for the comparison. And also overwater in that sort of scenario, which lends itself for the most part to calm air.
For all the kidding I like to give our boom receiver friends, I can't imagine doing this in such a big jet, with all the control challenges I imagine that entails in such a scenario. Would be pretty cool to see real time, even if the other 26 hours of the mission were boring.
Way back in college, I dd the initial transonic wind tunnel model design and testing for a reverse probe and drogue system for a C-141 test program. The -141 would get wingtip probes and CH-53’s would get drogue packs. The decision to take the -141 out of service halted the test program before the design work was complete.
Everything. Gallup has a refueling route very close by. I have seen 135 servicing planes from fighters up to C-17. I have also seen C-130 as the flying gas station to helicopters and one time heli to heli. I was working in the yard one day and was aware of jet noise above me. I heard a LOUD metallic CLANK above me. I looked up to see a refueling operation going on. I did not see anything falling and have always wondered what the noise was. 11,000 MSL is only 4500 agl here.
The fun part is when they are refueling at night, lights off. I will see a small flash of a blue light and then I know they are in the area.
It's rare to refuel below 18k for us. Murphy usually calls for a clean configuration and light fuel weight when trying to refuel low. It's certainly not that big of a deal, but it's noticeable when you have a 35k' jet and 40k' of thrust running around trying to move 3" forward to get in perfect position.
Highest I refueled was mid-30's I think. Maybe 37k? That wasn't an issue as I recall. The F-16's behind us had some problems.
So... how much for 50 gallons of 100 LL? Asking for a friend.
There is an AR just north of where I live, and on clear days, I can see them from my office window. Pretty neat to see. I'd say 80% of the pairings are KC-135's and C-17's, but we'll get a KC-10 in there once and a while, and even a C-32B on occasion. Never fighters, for some reason.
The only fighter units near New Hampshire are the Burlington guys and the Barnes, MA Eagles. MOA's up in that area are pretty small laterally for most fighter missions. I think Burlington mostly works over by Ft. Drum and MA guys almost always go offshore.
Since people seemed to like those pics, I've got a couple more pics here I found and a video I uploaded so you can see it from the other side.
And what it looked like tanking off the S-3B for me in the right seat of the Prowler. Note the extended FLIR ball so they could pivot it aft and keep an eye on us in the basket.
The Viking was a really great tanker around the ship as it used so little gas that it could come back aboard having given most of it's fuel away. Same motors as the A-10.
OK, thanks for the info. I've heard the Barnes F-15's up in Yankee 1 and 2 before, but its definitely not a common thing.
Try tactical tanking at 500 feet AGL in turbulence. High altitude tanking was a cakewalk!
And the CRJ-200 I'm told as well.
Viking was a little before my time in the fleet, but a lot of my old DH's came from S-3's. I remember their stories about how the pod operator would turn the ball left and right as if to shake their head when a pilot was stabbing away at the basket. To your other point, they said they would routinely be on the airplan for a double cycle and halfway through get rolled into triple cycling. I don't think you could even do that in a 5W today.
I flew with VS-24 a couple times to do some ESM training for them, They had a really good ESM system in the "B" model that combined with their ISAR radar made it a heck of a search plane. The problem was they had the same Escapac ejection seat that we had in the A-4. It was a fine seat for the 1.1 hour leg Scooter. For a double/triple cycle VS jet it was torture for 5 hours.
And my challenger
oh so glad I got out before they went production with IFR in the Hawkeye. A normal double cycle made one's butt and legs numb ... I can't imagine extending with IFR.
OK, from the Omega web site, what is this thing being refueled?