splitzer
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RAF C17 In-flight Refuelling

Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:08 am

How do the RAF refuel the C17's in-flight as they don't have any tanker aircraft that use the boom method?
 
Duce50Boom
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RE: RAF C17 In-flight Refuelling

Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:42 am

IIRC, as part of the leasing agreement that allows the RAF to operate the C-17s, they're not allowed to conduct air refueling
 
dl021
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RE: RAF C17 In-flight Refuelling

Tue Jul 20, 2004 4:33 am

When and if they need it they would more than likely require USAF training and equipment.

Right now they have added fuel tanks that extend the range of the aircraft by 15% over the normal stated 2500nm.

Were the RAF to modify the aircraft for their type of refuelling they would have to engineer new equipment and type-certify it.
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Spacepope
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RE: RAF C17 In-flight Refuelling

Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:37 am

Probe refuelling equipment wouldn't be too hard to engineere, although it would be much slower to take on fuel this way than with the boom method. RAF E-3D's have both, and since RAF VC-10s provide gas for USN/USMC flights, I'm sure that if they really needed it, the RAF C-17s could tank from KC10/135s.
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N328KF
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RE: RAF C17 In-flight Refuelling

Tue Jul 20, 2004 1:03 pm

DL021:

After a certain point, all C-17s are the C-17LR version. The Brits happened to get their order in after thi change was made.
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splitzer
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RE: RAF C17 In-flight Refueling

Tue Jul 20, 2004 9:24 pm

What are the drawbacks/advantages to each refueling system? Obviously they're important enough to prevent standardisation.
 
HaveBlue
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RE: RAF C17 In-flight Refuelling

Tue Jul 20, 2004 11:26 pm

I don't know why other countries use the drogue and probe method, but I can think of a few reasons why our services have seperate methods. I know our Air Force used to use drogue/probe. I've never read why they switched to boom style, but it does allow a faster transfer of fuel. It also allows the receiving aircraft to more or less fly steady while the boom operator 'flies' the boom into the receptacle... instead of the aircraft chasing the drogue. (I have video of a CH-53 Sea Stallion chopping off its own probe while trying to chase the drogue from a KC-130). Especially with larger less manueverable aircraft, chasing the drogue would seem like much more of a hassle.

The Navy doesn't use a boom system from a carrier though. The size limits of aircraft able to launch from a carrier makes the boom system impractical. Much simpler and more practical to have the drogue system, which allows aircraft like the KA-6 to buddy refuel.

That's how I've always seen it anyhow. Why other countries chose their methods I don't know, and hopefully someone will post.
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GDB
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Fuel

Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:35 am

I think the UK pioneered the hose/drouge refueling method.

As for not being allowed to refuel RAF C-17s in flight, that's really more about the systems used and it's incompatibility with the RAF, as the annual flying hours 'limits' on the C-17 lease has been doubled, not only for Afghanistan and Iraq, but in operations with no US influence like Sierra Leone.
 
Spacepope
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RE: RAF C17 In-flight Refuelling

Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:08 am

It used to be, back in the day, that the Soviets used wingtip to wingtip refuelling methods, and the USAF other methods too. I really have no idea how this was accomplished, but I'm sure if you search for old pics of B-50s refuelling, you'll find one. Either of the methods employed today are vast improvements.


Now can anyone tell me how they hooked up?

[Edited 2004-07-21 19:14:47]
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splitzer
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RE: RAF C17 In-flight Refuelling

Thu Jul 22, 2004 6:47 am

http://www.kstope.ang.af.mil/Logs/log0311.pdf

This explains how the wingtip to wingtip method worked among many things.
 
Duce50Boom
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RE: RAF C17 In-flight Refuelling

Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:21 am

Haveblue hit the nail on the head regarding reasons why the USAF and USN/USMC use different refueling systems. The decision was made in the 1950s by the bomber generals of SAC that the boom method would be the standard AF method of AR. The TAC (fighter pukes) generals and pilots all liked the probe and drogue method better because with wingpods you could have 2 fighters refuel at the same time. SAC couldn't stand it because the offload times for probe and drogue was astronomical for a bomber that took on 100K at a time, and the amount of workload it took for a heavy bomber pilot to push a probe into a basket and stay in position would easily tire a pilot during the easiest part of the nuclear war mission (getting out of the CONUS).

A little piece of trivia, the reason why the PDI (pilot director lights) on the bottom of the tanker fuselage are in the order they're in (up/down on the left side, forward/aft on the right side) is because for a bomber pilot, the yoke is in the left hand and the throttles in the right hand and they figured it would be easier for a bomber pilot to get used to and assimilate the info from the PDIs if the lights were arranged this way.
 
bsergonomics
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RE: RAF C17 In-flight Refuelling

Fri Jul 23, 2004 8:23 am

One of the experiments that was conducted by Flight Refuelling Ltd (FRL) was supposedly to trail the refuelling hose below the recipient aircraft. That second aircraft would open the bomb bay doors and, in some way (I assume in a similar manner to the 'grappling hook' method) get hold of the hose and bring it into the bomb bay, from where it could be attached to the refuelling system.

This story was told to me by the grandson of the experimental pilot. You'd have to ask FRL if it is true. However, since thi was during the Second World War, it seems to be in line with the other experimental methods.
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