I've been drug across the Atlantic a few times by KC
-135s when I was in the back seat of the F-4. Refuelings were scheduled to keep enough gas in the tanks to make a divert base if the tanker broke, we broke, or destination weather dropped below minimums. Divert bases were usually Lajes, Azores, Keflavik, Iceland, and Kingsley, Bermuda. At times it was almost a constant cycling on the boom to keep the externals topped off.
On one trip, the boom broke. Immediately, all six Phantoms turned towards Lajes. On another trip, the plane I was in ruptured the right external. We were 400 miles out over the Atlantic and had enough gas to make Shearwater, New Foundland. I have never seen a tanker put so much distance between them and us so quickly. At Shearwater, we downloaded our externals but were unable to depart due to a snow storm.
Another plus about being drug by a tanker, they do all the navigation. It isn't so bad now with GPS and ring laser gyro inertial navigation units. Prior to those systems, the F-4's INS would drift five miles an hour under good conditions.
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Photo © Gary Chambers
Cottage Grove, MN