posted on Feb, 8 2013 @ 10:52 AM
Thanks very much for those Boomer, thats exactly what i was after.
The first vid is great because it shows the preciseness of connecting to the boom and how slow it really is, moving in inch by inch.
But i loved the description in the second vid by the pilot and how much the plane being refuelled effects the lead aircraft when in refuelling mode
with the pushing effect of the bow wave on the tail due to the size of the aircraft. I did'nt realise the aerodynamic forces from the plane being
refuelled had such a massive effect on the lead plane, i thought it would have been the other way round with the refueller drag effecting the tail
plane. I actually learned quite a bit from this vid.
Again, thank you, really enjoyed both.
It is a very slow process for heavy aircraft, but for most fighters they come right in and “park on a dime” so to speak. The heavys have a bit
more aircraft to account for.
Two of the more interesting things I've heard about inflight refueling is that the boomer can actually "fly" the aircraft with the boom. As
he moves it around, it affects the aerodynamics of the aircraft because it changes the airflow around the tail.
The other is that C-5s HATE refueling from KC-10s. If the KC-10 forgets to throttle down #2 engine, it blows right across the top of the tail (where
the elevators are) of the C-5. It apparently can make it squirrely at times.
Yes its true that if we move the boom to the far right or left and all the way down we can slowly turn the aircraft but by no means fly it! We used to
do it all the time to piss off new co-pilots who didn’t realize what kind of trim they had in, etc. I’ve actually heard a lot of planes don’t
like the KC-10 for various reasons. But people don’t realize that it’s a massive plane in it’s own right. They can offload far more gas than we
could ever dream of.
On the first vid, it must be very hard for the pilot when refuelling as he would have to go off co-pilot instructions with having the refuel
connection behind him.
But on the 3rd vid, refuelling the B-52 must be hardest of all as, because being such a massive aircraft, it must also have a massive effect on the
KC-135 in front of it.
Actually the Buff has very little affect on the KC-135 in terms of bow wave movement. They don’t even get close to “pushing” us like a C-5 or a
C-17 does. Think of the tanker flying at a nose down angle when a C-5 or even a B-2 is behind us. We have a system on the boom in which we can
“trim” the actual boom and make it easier on us. Basically your vertical limits are between 20-40 on the guage, with refueling starting at 30.
Well when the C-5 closes in from precontact, the bow wave pushes the boom up, requiring us to put pressure on the boom to keep it down to 30. When we
put in the trim, it starts the boom off around 35-38 elevation. So the same bow wave pushes the boom up to 30, right were we need to be. Refueling a
C-5 takes a lot of arm strength and nerves because of the sheer size of that aircraft.
That particular F-15 is a D, which is a two seater. The D and E are two seat, the C, which is the primary fighter version is only one. So he
has to use visual clues from the KC-135. If you look at the bottom of the tanker, there are two black stripes towards the front of the bottom. There
are lights on those stripes that are used to tell the receiver where to go. Different lights for up, down, forward, back, etc. The boom operator has
switches in the boom pod to control them.
The two black stripes on either side of the yellow stripe are the director lights.
Oh, inflight refueling takes a lot of practice, and has washed out more pilots than just about anything else
You nailed it here Zaphod. Every receiver aircraft has visual cues depending on the type of aircraft they are. Pilots of strike eagles will use
different cues that the pilots of buffs. Sometimes they will be the inboard engines, or perhaps an antenna or something. The lights Zaphod is
referring to are called Pilot Director lights, and we only control them until contact. Then the system takes over for us. We also use these
combination of lights to communicate with recievers during radio silent ops. Holding down the forward button tells the receiver that hes cleared to
contact, and flashing the forward button tells him he’s getting close. When we stop flashing is when we make the contact.
Out of my 2500 plus hours of flight time, I’ve only been on the receiving end once, and that was an incentive flight on a KC-10 flying out of Qatar.
Pretty cool but too long of flights...Here's a -135 and a buff doing the "Whif" or refueling at around 70 degrees of bank. Just cause we can!
That took skill...