Air Refueling Archive

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Huge sparks during Air Refueling

A common question that I receive is what happens if there is a spark during Air Refueling; will we blow up? I think this video dramatically puts to rest any notion that there is a risk of explosion if there is a spark. The two aircraft in this video are a KC-135 and an E-4B. As the two aircraft fly through the air they pick up electrical charge at different rates. This difference is equalized by the spark that jumps between the two aircraft. It is difficult to tell from the video, but it looks like these sparks are 3-5 feet long and jumping between the tanker’s ¬†nozzle and the receiver. The dielectric breakdown of air is approximately 3 million volts per meter which suggests that there is something like 3-6 million volts difference between the aircraft.

Video Source:

December 26, 2010 - Posted by | 2000s, Boom Operator, Boom Pod View, E-4B, KC-135R | , , ,

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