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AirTanker hopeful of certification soon

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posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 07:05 PM
The AirTanker consortium that will operate the Voyager tankers for the RAF is hopeful that they will receive certification to begin tanker operations soon. They aren't scheduled to take over operations until March 2014, but there have been issues with the Voyager tankers.

They are switching the wingtip hose and drogue units from the Cobham High Speed Variable Drag Drogue that was designed for operations between 180 and 300 knots, to the Sergeant-Fletcher drogue that is currently used by the Tristars, VC-10s, and other countries tankers. The HSVDD had problems with spinning and venting, which caused hose oscillation. After that problem was solved, they found that the basket would tip when the receiver tried to connect.

The HSVDD is cleared for use by the other three Voyager customers, and is cleared to refuel aircraft such as the F/A-18. They will retain the HSVDD in the centerline position, and use it to refuel larger aircraft such as the Hercules and the Sentry.

AirTanker is currently authorized to use the Voyagers in a transport role, but not as tankers yet. They operate three, two of them two point tankers, and one civilian registered aircraft.

LONDON — AirTanker, the consortium charged with the provision of air-to-air refueling services for the U.K. Royal Air Force, says it hopes to be cleared to start tanker work in the coming weeks.

Although AirTanker is not due to take on the aerial refueling role until March 2014, efforts to clear the Airbus A330 Voyager tankers have been hampered by a series of issues involving the hose-and-drogue system used to refuel receivers.

Without certification, the three Voyager aircraft have been relegated to air transport duties only, but the company hopes to begin operational tanking missions in the next few months.


posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 07:10 PM
Don't you hate it when that happens? I know I do.

No, seriously. Is it just me or does it seem like there are more and more design flaws in a/c these days? Are we getting too clever for our own britches or what's up with that?

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 07:15 PM
reply to post by CosmicEgg

We're pushing the envelope a lot farther. When that happens, it pushes back. I read one book that said "We'll push the envelope as far as we can, until that stamp comes back 'cancelled'." A lot of these planes are revolutionary, or have revolutionary changes to systems on them, so they're gonna fight. Luckily none of the stamps have been cancelled yet.

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 07:26 PM
A flying tanker?

I still think they should have flying aircraft carriers...way cooler. *grumbling*
edit on 11-1-2013 by MystikMushroom because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 11 2013 @ 07:26 PM
reply to post by MystikMushroom

A whole lot messier when they come down too.

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