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TDAero777
Topic Author
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 2:34 pm

Air refueling while banking

Mon Nov 14, 2022 6:17 pm

Hello All,

Quick question - when refueling in a bank - how is that coordinated? I.e. does the tanker advise of when the banks are going to initiated to allow the receiving aircraft to sync their movement with the tanker? Also how difficult is it to maintain contact with the tanker when maneuvering or does that depend on the type of aircraft taking on fuel?

Thanks!
 
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LyleLanley
Posts: 790
Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:33 pm

Re: Air refueling while banking

Mon Nov 14, 2022 9:07 pm

TDAero777 wrote:
Hello All,

Quick question - when refueling in a bank - how is that coordinated? I.e. does the tanker advise of when the banks are going to initiated to allow the receiving aircraft to sync their movement with the tanker? Also how difficult is it to maintain contact with the tanker when maneuvering or does that depend on the type of aircraft taking on fuel?

Thanks!


46 boom, so I see it from both sides.

It's usually coordinated, either over radio or boom interphone (if equipped), but not really necessary. A heads-up isn't as important as the tanker simply being a smooth, steady, and predictable platform. There are three things necessary for air refueling: 1. Be smooth. 2. Be smooth. And 3. Be smooth. So long as you're smooth with the controls and the power air refueling is the same at zero degrees bank as it is from 75 degrees.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 10335
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Air refueling while banking

Mon Nov 14, 2022 10:08 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
TDAero777 wrote:
Hello All,

Quick question - when refueling in a bank - how is that coordinated? I.e. does the tanker advise of when the banks are going to initiated to allow the receiving aircraft to sync their movement with the tanker? Also how difficult is it to maintain contact with the tanker when maneuvering or does that depend on the type of aircraft taking on fuel?

Thanks!


46 boom, so I see it from both sides.

It's usually coordinated, either over radio or boom interphone (if equipped), but not really necessary. A heads-up isn't as important as the tanker simply being a smooth, steady, and predictable platform. There are three things necessary for air refueling: 1. Be smooth. 2. Be smooth. And 3. Be smooth. So long as you're smooth with the controls and the power air refueling is the same at zero degrees bank as it is from 75 degrees.


All true from a former receiver’s perspective. We did not expect any announcement of turns unless something unexpected was happening. Anchor tracks are large holding patterns so turning every 5-10 minutes is expected. Enroute (ALTRV) or normal tracks, not a lot, as in nearly zero, turns. BUFF IP upgrade used to insane lazy 8s at very high bank angles. The trickier problem was doing a toboggan in fighters. Again, the transition to a descent needed to be smooth or the boomer and the receiver got a different view of each other. Turns, I’d prefer not to know, because then you would start anticipating it, better just to stay in formation. Refueling is formation work in a small 3D box.

I’ll add a fourth requirement: SMOOTH. Fifth: PATIENCE, rush things as the receiver, unpleasant or really bad things happen. More rushed, the faster they happen.
 
TDAero777
Topic Author
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2021 2:34 pm

Re: Air refueling while banking

Tue Nov 15, 2022 11:09 pm

Thanks for the replies learned quite a bit!
 
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LyleLanley
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Re: Air refueling while banking

Tue Nov 15, 2022 11:29 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Fifth: PATIENCE, rush things as the receiver, unpleasant or really bad things happen. More rushed, the faster they happen.


Truer words are rarely spoken. Slow is fast. Fast is slow.
 
FGITD
Posts: 2219
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 1:44 pm

Re: Air refueling while banking

Wed Nov 16, 2022 7:01 am

I recommend looking up the old whifferdill turn photos. Crazy stuff there.

Also drives home the point that as long as both crews are honed in together and paying attention, interesting things can be done seamlessly
 
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LyleLanley
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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2019 9:33 pm

Re: Air refueling while banking

Wed Nov 16, 2022 7:20 pm

FGITD wrote:
I recommend looking up the old whifferdill turn photos. Crazy stuff there.

Also drives home the point that as long as both crews are honed in together and paying attention, interesting things can be done seamlessly


That was exactly the purpose of that training event: to instill that mindset, because there’s knowing it and there’s seeing it. Tbh, the best thing the AF could’ve done would’ve been to add receptacles to all KC-135s. I think it would’ve made them far better tanker drivers to know what it’s like to be on the other end.

Looking at some of those pics, it’s weird to think those 135 booms don’t even have a seat belt!
 
LordTarkin
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 1:45 am

Re: Air refueling while banking

Thu Nov 17, 2022 6:54 pm

LyleLanley wrote:
FGITD wrote:
I recommend looking up the old whifferdill turn photos. Crazy stuff there.

Also drives home the point that as long as both crews are honed in together and paying attention, interesting things can be done seamlessly


That was exactly the purpose of that training event: to instill that mindset, because there’s knowing it and there’s seeing it. Tbh, the best thing the AF could’ve done would’ve been to add receptacles to all KC-135s. I think it would’ve made them far better tanker drivers to know what it’s like to be on the other end.

Looking at some of those pics, it’s weird to think those 135 booms don’t even have a seat belt!



Those 12(?) ARR jets are like national treasure... always had priority. Reduced headroom in the cockpit though, from what I remember, between the boom seat and the Nav table.
 
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Moose135
Posts: 3305
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:27 pm

Re: Air refueling while banking

Fri Nov 18, 2022 3:30 pm

LordTarkin wrote:
Those 12(?) ARR jets are like national treasure...


There were 8 of them, all had started life or spent time as something else (EC/RC) but were converted back to tankers when those roles ended, keeping the receiver refueling gear. One went to be the R-model conversion test bed, the other 7 were based at Grissom AFB. I flew all 7 back then, we often referred to them as RT-135s. They eventually were upgraded to R-models and live at McConnell AFB these days.

Image
 
superbizzy73
Posts: 194
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:43 am

Re: Air refueling while banking

Tue Nov 22, 2022 2:04 am

FGITD wrote:
I recommend looking up the old whifferdill turn photos. Crazy stuff there.

Also drives home the point that as long as both crews are honed in together and paying attention, interesting things can be done seamlessly


Had to look it up...and I'm glad I did. A B-52 nearly on its side while refueling is definitely a sight to see! :shock:
 
JayinKitsap
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Re: Air refueling while banking

Tue Nov 22, 2022 12:00 pm

So how much travel does the boom allow when connected? A couple of feet from minimum to maximum with it centering at the mid point? Mechanical spring, air, or hydraulic? What is the break away force - 2,000 pounds? I assume the tanker 'leads' as in setting course and speed, the receiver matches to it. Are there signal lights, indicators, or other guidance provided between the two aircraft?

In air refueling, like carrier ops, there are many things that look simple at first glance but have taken decades in real life to get right. Just the thought of angular rotation of the tanker with the offset radius, means holding parallel tracks would be a real challenge. Refueling seems high risk, but striving for perfection may keep the incidents quite low.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Air refueling while banking

Tue Nov 22, 2022 3:53 pm

In the photo above, see the two black tracks near the boom end on the fuselage? Those are director lights-up/down, in/out. You get two green lights in the center of the envelope. There are limit switches which disconnect as you approach the boom limits. Can’t say how big the envelope is, but on a bad day, it seems pretty small.

Tankers does all the navigating and communicating during refueling. Arranges the hand off back to ATC. Remember the tankers are usually in a cell of two or three. C-5s would refuel off both tankers for a full load.
 
889091
Posts: 1000
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2019 7:56 pm

Re: Air refueling while banking

Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:46 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
In the photo above, see the two black tracks near the boom end on the fuselage? Those are director lights-up/down, in/out. You get two green lights in the center of the envelope. There are limit switches which disconnect as you approach the boom limits. Can’t say how big the envelope is, but on a bad day, it seems pretty small.


So I assume they're similar to PAPI lights/meatball (on aircraft carriers)? Would they also be specific to the type of aircraft being refuelled? The Vipers have their IFR receptacle way back, the Eagles on the side and the Warthog at the front...
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Air refueling while banking

Wed Nov 23, 2022 8:08 pm

Yes, but the reference is the center of the boom, regardless of type. The idea being in the heart of the boom’s envelope, so it didn’t change with receiver. In the A-10, we didn’t use the lights much, just look at the boom at a glance. But in the C-5 you could t see the boom, so the lights were used all the time. The A-10 receptacle was right in front, the C-5 was over rear of the FE panel

In the C-5, you could hear the boom approaching the receptacle, it’d shriek increasing noise, then silence when connected.
 
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LyleLanley
Posts: 790
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Re: Air refueling while banking

Sun Nov 27, 2022 9:22 pm

JayinKitsap wrote:
So how much travel does the boom allow when connected? A couple of feet from minimum to maximum with it centering at the mid point? Mechanical spring, air, or hydraulic? What is the break away force - 2,000 pounds? I assume the tanker 'leads' as in setting course and speed, the receiver matches to it. Are there signal lights, indicators, or other guidance provided between the two aircraft?


With a maximum of 25 degrees left or right roll limitation on the KC-10, I believe the range-of-travel is something like 20 feet either side of centerline. The airflow off the KC-10's wings also apparently helps the receiver stay close to centerline, at least when refueling other KC-10s. The KC-135's maximum of 10 degrees azimuth obviously offers a much smaller envelope.

JayinKitsap wrote:
...striving for perfection may keep the incidents quite low.


Just like all of aviation :)

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