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A few points
Great page a few points though. Royzee 10:03, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
1. List seems to be missing Etendard and Tornado as buddy tankers or have I missed something.
2. Also where is mention of helicopter IFR such as Super Jolly etc. Maybe only US armed forces do this? Never seen anything of Soviet equvalent, for example.
3. Is there mention of adaptation of KC-135 boom to handle RAF and other planes with trailing drogue? I think they did this to help out RAF during the Falklands War.
4. Maybe should have reference to recent Vulcan 607 book which has a lot about IFR during Black Buck?
Finally there are lots of examples of IFR on YouTube.
Answer to 3. The US Air Force developed drogue attachments to refuel US Navy and USMC aircraft. The aim was to stop the US Navy acquiring a land-based tanker force. CMarshall (talk) 10:58, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
Banking to the left?
Could someone explain why video of F15s refueling usually bank to the left? Only big planes can refuel small planes.
Yes, I can answer that. Fighter aircraft are usually refueled within an anchor area. The tanker remains within in geographical box of airspace. The simplest way to remain with the area is to orbit in an oval pattern. Turns are typically made to the left (although there are some exceptions) to allow the pilot better vision of traffic in the direction of the turn. — Mwsletten 16:09, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Since I used to work on the hydraulics of the KC-135 Stratotanker, including the refueling boom, I would imagine that probably makes me the Wikipedia expert on the subject, so I'll be adding a lot more to this article, in my copious free time (is there an article on that yet?). -- John Owens 08:19 2 Jun 2003 (UTC)
- OK, lots more added now. Guess it was copious enough. I don't know so much about the drogue and probe method, so any help there would be much appreciated. :) -- John Owens 21:39 5 Jun 2003 (UTC)
- The NATO term is air-to-air refuelling; acronym AAR - IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules - recommend to change. -22.214.171.124
- The USAF IFR acronymn can be either, especially if you used to work on Tankers. Thank heavens I was Guidance & Control. My roomate was a hydraulic troop, I think he wore a couple gallons of fluid home from work everyday. ;P --LedHed430 04:29, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
List of good refueling pictures (there seem to be quite a few of them, and I'll be scanning in some good up-close ones soon, including the boom-to-drogue adapter in use!):
- Image:Usaf.kc135.750pix.jpg Media:Usaf.kc135.750pix.jpg [[Media:Usaf.kc135.750pix.jpg|Larger image]]
- Image:Usaf.f15.f16.kc135.750pix.jpg Media:Usaf.f15.f16.kc135.750pix.jpg [[Media:Usaf.f15.f16.kc135.750pix.jpg|Larger image]]
- Image:Blackhawk.750pix.jpg Media:Blackhawk.750pix.jpg [[Media:Blackhawk.750pix.jpg|Larger image]]
- Got one with a helicopter refueling probe nicely shown!
- Image:Caf.f5.750pix.jpg Media:Caf.f5.750pix.jpg [[Media:Caf.f5.750pix.jpg|Larger image]]
Aerial refueling was used in the 20's to make some very long endurance flight records. There may be some definitive dates in the record books of the record keeping organizations.
A question for the experts: During WW2 US bombers over Germany suffered severe losses early because the fighters did not have enough range to stay with the bombers all the way to the targets leaving them exposed to German fighters for part of the trip. There was a period in late '43 and early '44 when US bomber crews had only a 30% chance of surviving the required 30 missions before they could go home. It wasn't until the P51 with its longer range became available that the problem was solved. Why didn't they use aerial refueling to extend the range of the earlier fighters?
- Just a guess... I would say that by the time the fighters needed fuel they were in hostile airspace. Air-refueling just about anywhere in the European theater would be subject to enemy fighters. In-flight refueling is tricky enough without someone trying to shoot you AND the tanker down. --LedHed430 05:52, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
- You don't wait till you are running low to refuel, you takeoff, climb, and then top off. The takeoff and climb to combat altitude burn way more gas than level, high-altitude flight to the target. The shouted comment below notwithstanding (any plane can act as a tanker), my guess is that the number of planes involved in a typical mission was so large, and the tonnage that most planes could carry at the time was so low that they didn't bother trying. I would love to hear from someone who knows though.126.96.36.199 (talk) 18:24, 22 March 2009 (UTC)anon
THERE WERE NO AERIAL TANKERS IN WORLD WAR TWO!
According to the USAF Museum the first air to air refueling was October 5, 1922 during a world endurance record. See http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/history/postwwi/far.htm
Unless someone has evidence to the contrary, the Avro Vulcan was never used as a tanker.
The Tanker version of the Vulcan (the Vulcan K2) served with 50 squadron at RAF Waddington.
- How come no one mentioned the first system used by the new USAF: Looped Hose system developed by UK?--188.8.131.52 05:18, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
In the Falkland section the author notes that B-2 Spirit bombers were refueled on a mission during the 1991 Gulf War. I don't believe the B-2 was actually flying by that time.
Air-refueling has been done before 1920. Successful experiments were carried out by Germans, including Manfred von Richthofen, before/during WWI. Please look into this. --1Schnitzel (talk) 08:23, 7 September 2008 (UTC)
- Well, the drogue/probe system is better for use in pods carried by aircraft not always used as tanker. - 184.108.40.206 05:06, 4 Apr 2004 (UTC)
- The boom method is better for higher speed aircraft, and only require a small receiver, which usually does not interfere with the aerodynamics of the aircraft. It is not practical for refueling helicopters, and some slower aircraft. (Rogerd 03:06, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC))
- Boom method is impractical for carrier based tankers (like FA-18E/F and S-3), because there is no provision for a boom operator.
Not sure about the statement above that "boom method is better for higher speed aircraft", as many high performance/speed probe aircraft retract the probes when not needed. I would think/argue that boom method is the only practical solution to tanking very large receivers. Can you imagine trying to maneuver a boom attached to a C-5? E2a2j (talk) 15:26, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
"Precise placement of the probe into the drogue by the receiver aircraft pilot precludes large receiver aircraft installation."
That's not true. Tu-95 Bears and Tu-160 Blackjacks are refuelled via probe and drogue system. Russian Air Force simply doesn't have anything else. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 09:32, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Probe and drogue picture.
We seem to be missing a good probe and drogue picture. What happened to the old one? If it's gone for copyright reasons, can we get another one up there instead of that F-15 picture?
Anyone have any pictures of Navy probes left in USAF drogues? The Naval Aviators seem to have a bad habit of snapping off the probes during quick-disconnects. --LedHed430 04:14, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Cold War Tanker Mission
Alright, what was the tanker mission during the cold war? The story I always heard for the birds on the alert pad was: Take-off, rendezvous with the bombers, transfer ALL your fuel to said bombers, find a nice comfy patch of snow to ditch the aircraft on, then watch the inbound Russian ICBM's. Any other "stories" out there? --LedHed430 06:09, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
It is not true that there are no civilian in-flight refueling operations. The RAF has "privatized" that mission for the past several years, according to aviation news reports.
- I think civilian here means non-military activity, not who operates the service. WP 00:16, 14 June 2007 (UTC)
Static electricity and fuel
When an aircraft is refueled on the ground, the tank truck and the aircraft is beeing connected with a wire first, to prevent sparks due to static electricity. How does tankers and thirsty fighters get rid of the hazardous build-up of electrostatic energy? I mean, if the grounding is through the fuel pipe the discharge could be a spark surrounded by flammable mixtures? There would always be fuel residues and one aircraft crossing the Atlantic Ocean might have a different electrostatic charge, than a tanker, recently launched to meet it.--Necessary Evil 00:26, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
- It appears to me that at least the refueling hose from the tanker is made out of rubber (or some other non-conductive flexible material). At the very least, the fuel contains additives which include anti-static agents to dissipate any residule electric charge. Hope that helps. -Maverick 07:50, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
- Thanks for the ideas, but the refueling hose from the tanker truck is also made of rubber and it's the same fuel with the same additives. And in bad weather any non-conductive material for a refueling hose or boom will be soaked in water and be conducting. Im interested because I would like to know if the ground refueling grounding is just a waste of time.
- When I was in the navy, I saw some sailors getting a minor electric shock when they touched a hovering helicopter. When the helicopter crew refueled in hover, they grounded the fuel pipe to the helicopter, prior to opening the valves. Thanks again, Maverick --Necessary Evil 21:15, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
- I imagine it's on the outside of the nozzle when they meet, which occurs well before the fuel starts flowing. But I honestly don't know. PPGMD 21:42, 6 September 2006 (UTC)
- Any voltage differences between the tanker and receiver aircraft are equalized when the nozzle enters the receptacle. At night (and even in the day when it is really big) you can often see sparks jump from the tip of the nozzle to the receiver aircraft (mostly when flying through clouds). These sparks can be very large (6"-12" in my experience) which suggest around 10,000 Volts of difference between the two airframes. The largest sparks that I have observed were between our KC-135 and a MC-130P. I guess the C-130s props spinning away through the air generate more static electricity than our plane. Hope that helps answer your question. And to Necessary Evil above, grounding an aircraft is crucial during ground refueling, if it wasn’t necessary it wouldn't be done. titanmiller 04:38, 6 December (UTC)
- Thanks a lot, titanmiller! I see, so the air speed will blow the nozzle dry of fuel residues before contact. On the ground, there is no air speed to dry the nozzle. I have no practical experience with air-to-air refuelling, but the receptable and nozzle must sustain heavy erosion due to sparks. Are they being replaced often or made of unobtainium? Thanks again, titanmiller Necessary Evil 14:56, 6 December 2006 (UTC)
- I am pretty sure that the sparks don't carry enough amperage to do any damage to the metal. Usually it is just a single spark (tens of miliseconds) but I have seen it a couple of times where it appears to be "welding" as in either a series of sparks or a seemingly sustained arc. When I get some free time and motivation I will probably try to contribute to this article. The article has a good start but it does not seem to flow very well. titanmiller 18:12, 7 December (UTC)
- The recepticles receive a lot of minor damage over time from the metal to metal contact. The airframes also receive damage from boom hits. Even then they don't require a very large percentage of man-hours to maintain. Scratches scrapes, and small dents are a part of the normal wear and tear on military aircraft. To the Avionics guys on an F-16, the breaking of the GPS and TACAN antennas can be a bit more annoying. --Colputt 21:05, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
- Oh and it is really hard to ignite JP-5/7 without compressing it, and the temperatures found at normal inflight refueling altitudes should make it even harder. Don't believe (any)everything you see in the Air Force One feature film. --Colputt 21:11, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
- This is a serious discussion regarding "Static electricity and fuel", why did you mention one of the worst movie Harrison Ford ever starred in - it's an insult to regard us as aviation ignorants. Necessary Evil 07:21, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
- Heh, yeah ok. Forgive me. Perhaps the explosion of the tanker was a bad example. --Colputt 21:58, 25 September 2007 (UTC)
Refueling cargo aircraft?
In the subsection named Strategic uses and considerations, the text discusses the use of tankers to refuel cargo aircraft in-flight and implies that in-flight refuling of cargo aircraft was used during the Viet-Nam conflict era. To the best of my knowledge, there weren't any USAF cargo aircraft which were capable of receving in-flight fuel during the Viet-Nam war. Possibly the HC-130 models were. As far as I know, the first large numbers of cargo aircraft capable of receiving in-flight fuel were the C-5 and C-141 aircraft modified in the late 1970's or early 1980's.
This was an important post Viet-Nam War era step in extending the range and usefulness of USAF cargo aircraft to undertake long range missions where non-US host nation air base landing and refueling stops are denied due to international and diplomatic considerations during regional conflicts. --TGC55 15:46, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Mathematics of refueling
Can anyone recommend any good books on the mathematics of refuelling? Supposing I wanted to plan a mission like Operation Black Buck, with a known number of bombers being refuelled by large numbers of tankers refuelling each other at predetermined points. How do I work out how many tankers I need, (given the known distance to target and characteriscs of my planes) and the times at which to transfer fuel from tanker to tanker? Blaise 21:48, 13 September 2006 (UTC)
Biz Jet Tanker
According to Flight International, Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) and Gulfstream are developing an air-to-air refuelling concept based on the G550 business jet. Nov 21 2006
Royzee 09:55, 21 November 2006 (UTC)
Although interesting and informative, this page's photos is almost entirely US(AF) based. All but three of the pictures are of US aircraft, whereas 30 seconds on Google reveals a wealth of international photos. I find this slightly inconsiderate when Wikipedia bills itself as "international". Thanks —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 18.104.22.168 (talk • contribs) 16:01, March 11, 2007 (UTC)
Howdy, just dropping in to mention that I corrected a few links in the list of aerial refueling aircraft. The KB-29 links both went to a list of B-29 variants, and I fixed them to point to the article about KB-29s (itself practically a stub). The KC-97 entry mentioned that it was based on the B-29, and I corrected it to show that it was based on the C-97 (which was a wide-body cargo plane that was itself based on the B-29). Finally, I changed "B-50" to "KB-50", since that was the designation used by B-50 Superfortresses converted to aerial refueling platforms.--Raguleader 08:48, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
Probe and drogue question/clarification
The article currently contains the following: "The lower flow rates then available from the lower pressure and limited diameter of the hose used in the probe-and-drogue system result in longer refueling times compared to the Flying Boom. However, lighter aircraft are refueled quicker because their fuel capacity is smaller."
Do lighter aircraft actually refuel quicker from a probe-and-drogue than from a flying boom? (Maybe they can connect more quickly, which balances out the slower fuel transfer, I don't know) Or is the refueling time simply acceptably quick given their smaller fuel capacity compared to larger bomber or transport aircraft? It would be good to make this clearer. Occasional Reader 21:42, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
I have seen a reference to the first tactical use of air refueling someplace. I shall endever to find it, and perhaps add that tidbit in someday. If someone wants to research it, it won't hurt my feelings. It had something to do with the 136th Fighter Bomber Group in Korea. --Colputt 20:54, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
I sense a tendency of inserting every movie with even dubious or minuscule aerial refueling scenes. Most movies should be avoided unless the appearances are especially notable. This section should not be a compendium of every trivial appearance, but only significant ones of relevance to aerial refueling. Due to the large number of CG and arcade simulations, an effort should be made to avoid tallying every sim appearance. Fictional versions and speculation about fictional likenesses should not be included, as they constitute original research. --Necessary Evil 14:11, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
- I agree, only significant entries should be in there --rogerd 04:25, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
How long does refueling take?
How long does refueling of a popular jet fighter aircraft (e.g. F-15 or F-18) normally take? I can't get any information on the Internet. Thx. Thomas. --22.214.171.124 (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 01:17, 29 December 2007 (UTC)
- I think it takes 2-5 minutes each, I rode along in a tanker a couple of months ago and we refueled F-16s.Ratsbew (talk) 22:11, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
- Completely depends on how much fuel we're taking. I fly F18s. We generally take 2,000 lbs for a short mission (1.5 hour from the carrier). Once "plugged" that takes about 3 minutes. Time to get rendezvoused and into the basket can vary widely. If the basket is bouncing around alot (as can happen in rough air) it can take some time to get in (not for me, of course). On a long mission, I've taken as much as 10,000 lbs at a time, and I've taken as much as 30,000 pounds over the course of several ARs in a flight. Take that much gas generally only from a heavy tanker that have higher flow rates. For a typical mission refueling of a probe fighter from a KC-135, we allot at least 10 minutes apeace. By the way, getting *into* a KC135 basket is usually easier than a soft basket, becuase it is not influenced by the fighter's bow wave like a soft basket/hose is. On the other hand, *staying* in the "iron maiden" requires absolute concentration for an extended time. You can practically take a nap and still stay in a long/soft hose/basket configuration. —Preceding unsigned comment added by E2a2j (talk • contribs) 16:14, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
I removed the paragraph below:
Should one need proof of the priority the US Air Force places on aerial refuelling consider this: the initial order under the Request for Proposal is estimated to be worth $40 billion. If the US Air Force manages to gain funding to replace its entire fleet of some 500 KC-135 aircraft the cost could be well over $100 billion -- making it the largest military procurement program in world history.
The current content of the section is a copy paste of the website of a company selling consultancy services. Bad tone + Conflict of interest... 126.96.36.199 (talk) 10:34, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
- Please insert the website link here, thank you.--Regards, Necessary Evil (talk) 11:35, 24 June 2008 (UTC)
great PD image
I know that there are plenty of images in this article, but if we would like a close-up of an F/A-18 Hornet taking fuel, there is a PD one at http://www.marines.mil/unit/hqmc/_layouts/imagemeta.aspx?image=http://www.marines.mil/unit/hqmc/PublishingImages/20050711-M-0502A-006.jpg. bahamut0013wordsdeeds 21:40, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I cut these paragraphs because, while accurate and thorough, they are way too in-depth for this article. I felt bad just deleting it, though, so I moved it here. Maybe someone can use it in an article about one of the tankers.
The boom's mechanical limits are based on the structure of the yoke and trunnion system mounting the boom to the tanker, the length of the extendable inner fuel tube and the maximum deflection of the flexible nozzle. Exceeding mechanical limits can physically break structural parts mounting the boom to the tanker. Exceeding the nozzle's deflection limits can cause mechanical binding between the nozzle and receptacle (try removing a key from a lock by pulling sideways instead of straight back) and possible separation of the nozzle from the boom. Should the receiver move too far forward and push the inner fuel tube to its retraction limit, the outer structural portion of the boom could contact the receiver aircraft and damage both the boom and receiver; too far aft, and the nozzle locked in the receptacle could be physically broken from the boom when the inner fuel tube reaches its extension limit.
Air refueling envelope limits may also be receiver based. For example, a receiver with a receptacle mounted on the fuselage behind a canopy might have to limit upward movement while in contact to prevent the boom from hitting the canopy. Additionally, large receivers can adversely affect boom control resulting in envelope limitations.
As the crewmember with the best view of the operation, the boom operator is primarily responsible for preventing damage to either aircraft during air refueling. While in contact, the boom operator positions the ruddevator control stick to maintain boom/receptacle alignment in response to receiver aircraft left/right and up/down movement, thereby minimizing side forces on the mated nozzle/receptacle. The KC-10 has an automatic load alleviation system that automatically maintains neutral boom alignment during contact. A "freewheeling" extension/retraction motor allows the inner fuel tube to extend and retract as the receiver moves fore and aft. The boom operator must monitor the receiver's position, via three boom position indicators, and command a disengagement of the nozzle/receptacle locking toggles–a "disconnect"–before the receiver aircraft exceeds any published air refueling envelope limit. If the boom operator disconnects before the receiver get the full fuel offload, the entire operation–precontact, closure and contact–repeats; this is a normal and expected occurance, especially in turbulent weather or with inexperienced receiver pilots.
Possible mistake in # 2.2 Probe-and-Drogue
In section "# 2.2 Probe-and-Drogue", the following sentence mentions the refueling process twice, probably because the sentences are too long:
..."Pat Hornidge took-off from Tarrant Rushton and, refueled ten times by the Lancaster tanker, remained airborne for 12 hours and 3 minutes, receiving 2,352 gallons of fuel from the tanker in ten tanker contacts"...
I don't know which of the two clauses to remove, so I'll leave the decision to somebody else. You can remove this comment after the problem's sorted! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.8.131.52 (talk) 17:02, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
There so much about Air and Sea refueling. But where is the ground refueling ? Is there an article missing ? --Gonzosft (talk) 17:34, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Dear Gonzosft, As far as I know in my over three decades of researching military matters. There is no case ground refueling while one object is moving as with aerial and sea refueling. Jack Jackehammond (talk) 18:57, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
Hi Jack you misunderstand me my question was, if there are any wiki articles about standard ground refuling. at airfield or airports. i found only the special cases air-refueling or sea-refueling i was looking for a place to put my lastest foto. File:Mig-29 refueling.jpg --Gonzosft (talk) 15:39, 14 October 2011 (UTC)
How about a section relating to the future of aerial refueling? Besides describing some of the new tankers in development (and moving earlier references here?), the following two items might be of interest:
Aerodynamics of close flying
I can not see any mention of the airflow during refueling. An airplane is kept aloft by wings pushing air down. Is the receiver above, inside or below the downward airstream from the tanker's wings? As the XB-70 crash, the B52-crash and this video shows, close formation flying such as Aerial refueling can be risky, and the article should describe the airflow that is partially responsible for the risk. I have looked at ,  and , but not found any information other than that wake turbulence is an issue. Any suggestions for sources? TGCP (talk) 20:47, 23 November 2012 (UTC)
Aircraft in air 24x7 what happens to crew?
The "Strategic" section says: "The development of the KC-97 and KC-135 Stratotankers was pushed by the Cold War requirement of the United States to be able to keep fleets of ... bombers airborne around-the-clock....[T]he tankers would refill the bombers' fuel tanks so that they could keep a force in the air 24 hours a day...." Even if an airplane itself could stay in air indefinitely, what happens to the crew? Do they live on it, like on a space station? Did the bombers have enough facilities onboard to allow this? Rahul (talk) 09:40, 21 January 2013 (UTC)