Boomer...quick question...if you were refueling some aircraft and all of a sudden a Bona Fide flying disc or something really freaky hoved into view,
(say one of these supposed 600 foot wide craft)...what would your reaction be.....would you try and sneak a pic of it, or just pretend you saw
nothing, or would you requisition brown combat trousers for every flight from now on...???
Ah loaded question! lol actually I've never been "shocked" at what I've seen behind me because we are given briefings before taking off from Edwards
on the receivers we "may" see that day. The document was classified TS and usually listed two or three aircraft by code names. I was flying in the
early 2000's so the F-22 was always on the top of the list. The other aircraft gave general refueling speed ranges and how many pumps to use to refuel
so we could tell the type anyway. We knew that if A/R speed was 330 KIAS and using one refueling pump, that it was a fighter. The slower the speed
and the more pumps used, the bigger the aircraft. If security flew with you then it was a different matter all together.
If you look at any boom operator in the world that gets off a jet after a mission other than a round robin/local, he/she has a black backpack locked
up with them at all times. This backpack contains many things, but when flying in the box it contains the briefing documents I spoke about. NOBODY is
privy to this information, nor do they have the need to know other than the boom. It was classified SECRET until the added material, which bumps the
bag (and the jet now) to TOP SECRET (Imagine dropping off a jet at a PDM for maintenence and flying back commercial, having to walk through security
with a backpack that is illegal to open, along with a signed letter from the Secretary of Defense authorizing me to carry the bag on board with no
Back on track, when we have security on board, one sits in the boom operators seat up front (the boom now sits in the old NAV seat), and the other
guard sits in the first crappy seat he gets to in the back. The guy up front is responsible for ensuring the pilots don't try to leave the cockpit and
wander to the back of the plane during A/R! The second guy is a magnet on us from the minute we board, until the minute we land, including A/R.
Sometimes they are cool and ask to fly the boom around, other times they tell you when your done with A/R, not the other way around! The only good
thing about them flying with us is that we know we are doing something new and extrememly compartmentalized. I've flown with them about half a dozen
times and on a couple occasions they may have fell asleep in the front and allowed a snapshot or two maybe...
So AFTER signing a NDC (again, every flight), here's whats funny...
The kicker I think is the tanker pilot's not being able to see it. I find that hilarious. So this is how a conversation would go:
F-16 chase plane shows up:
"Pilot, Boom, Chase is at two miles, F-16."
"Boom Pilot, roger showing two miles on TCAS"
"Pilot Boom, Precontact"
"Boom, pilot, checklist complete, Speed 335 KIAS, altimiter FL200, cleared for A/R"
COMM1: "Boom, Chase cleared to contact"
COMM1: "Chase, Boom, Roger, cleared to contact."
During refueling, (insert call sign here, lets say Aurora 1 for fun), Aurora 1 comes into view:
"Pilot, Boom, receiver at 2 miles"
"Boom, Pilot, nothing on TCAS"
(Boom thinks to self, no # sherlock)
Chase done with fueling.
COMM1 "Chase, Boom, cleared right echelon."
COMM1 "Boom, Chase is cleared right echelon, I'm outa here anyway..."
(This is where it's gets real quiet during refueling and on the radio)
"Pilot, Boom, receiver at 200 feet, increase to 345."
"Boom, Pilot copies up to 345."
"Co, Boom, one refueling pump."
"Boom, Co, copies one pump, What is it?"
"Co, boom, shut the fu@k up butterbar!!!" (j/k)
(Boom gives manual signals via lights outside the jet to let the receiver know to come to contact)
(radio silence rest of time, no matter how many contacts it takes)
After A/R receiver leaves without saying a word. Nothing gets wrote down on the jet. Helmet bags are searched along with a slight patdown of the body
)Boom is taken to command post secure building to finish refueling log with actual callsigns used, but not aircraft type.
(Rest of the trip the Pilot and Co are constantly asking what it was....It costs them bigtime, like a trip to vegas...)
As for the brown trousers....I never wore underwear under the flight suit! (HAHA
edit on 21-1-2013 by boomer135 because: (no reason