Air Refueling Archive

Huge Collection of Air Refueling Pictures

KC-135 Boom Operator Panel

Boom operator's panel.

Boom operator’s panel

Here is a picture of the boom operator’s panel of the KC-135 stratotanker.

  • The gauges at the top indicate the position of the air refueling boom. The green arcs represent the air refueling envelope that the receiver aircraft must remain inside of. The red markings on the gauges are the limits of the air refueling envelope. If the receiver exceeds these limits and the tanker’s signal system is in NORMAL, then an automatic disconnect will occur.
  • The boom signal coil voltmeter on the right of the panel shows the status of the boom nozzle signal coil when the PUSH TO TEST button is pressed. The voltmeter displays OPEN, GOOD, and SHORTED.
  • The TEST CONTACT button advances the signal system to CONTACT when pressed if the signal amplifier is operational.
  • The RESET READY button resets the signal system to READY.
  • The blue, green, and orange lights display the current status of the air refueling signal system. The blue READY light indicates the system is ready for contact with a receiver. The green CONTACT light indicates that the boom is in contact with a receiver and that fuel transfer can occur. The orange DISCONNECT light indicates that a disconnect signal has been received.
  • The TLSCP AT DISCONNECT (telescope at disconnect) switch selects if the boom will automatically retract when a disconnect signal is received. It has two positions AUTO, and MANUAL.
  • The PILOT DIRECTOR LIGHTS are controlled by four rheostats for the background elevation & letters and telescope and for the position elevation and telescope pilot director lights.
  • The NACELLE ILLUMINATION rheostats control the brightness of the engine illumination lights.
  • The A/R FlOODLIGHT rheostat controls the brightness of the tail mounted air refueling floodlight.
  • The BOOM NOZZLE rheostat controls the brightness of the boom mounted nozzle light that shines light on the boom nozzle.
  • The UNDER BODY rheostat controls the brightness of lights mounted on the inboard side of the inboard engine struts that illuminate the under body of the aircraft to help with night air refueling.
  • The UNDER WING rheostat controls the brightness of lights mounted on the underside of the aft fuselage that illuminage the underside of the wings.
  • The BOOM MARKER controls turn on ultraviolet fluorescent tube lights mounted in the boom that cause fluorescent markings on the boom to glow for night air refueling. The ON/OFF switch controls power to the lights and the START positions of the start switch each turn on one of the two fluorescent lights. The neon lights indicate the status of the marker lights.
  • The DIRECTOR LIGHTS GROUND TEST switch is used to turn on all pilot director lights at once for maintenance testing.

 

November 3, 2013 Posted by | 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, Boom Operator, Boom Pod View, KC-135A, KC-135E, KC-135Q, KC-135R | Leave a comment

Air Refueling the A-12 and SR-71 Blackbird

Here are a bunch of pictures of aerial refueling with the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird and A-12 Oxcart. Feel free to leave comments below about your experiences and as always, please email me your pictures at the email address listed to the right. KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird

SR-71A #61-7952 during the first ever in-flight  refuelling of an SR-71, on 29April1965.  Lockheed photo via Tony Landis

SR-71A #61-7952 during the first ever in-flight refuelling of an SR-71, on 29April1965. Lockheed photo via Tony Landis

KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird

KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird at sunset.

KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird at sunset.

KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird KC-135 refuels SR-71 KC-10 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird

ca. 1991, NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA --- NASA's triple-sonic SR-71B experimental reconnaisance jet flies up to the refueling probe from an aerial tanker near Edwards Air Force Base, California.  1991. --- Image by © CORBIS

ca. 1991, NASA Dryden Flight Research Facility, Edwards Air Force Base, California, USA — NASA’s triple-sonic SR-71B experimental reconnaisance jet flies up to the refueling probe from an aerial tanker near Edwards Air Force Base, California. 1991. — Image by © CORBIS

KC-135 refueling M-21 with GTD-21 Drone.

KC-135 refueling M-21 with GTD-21 Drone.

KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird

Close up view from the Boom Pod while refueling a SR-71 Blackbird.

Close up view from the Boom Pod while refueling a SR-71 Blackbird.

Post AR with an SR-71.

Post AR with an SR-71.

KC-135 Refueling A-12 Oxcart

A left side view of an SR-71 aircraft moving toward a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft for inflight refueling.  The SR-71 is from the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.

A left side view of an SR-71 aircraft moving toward a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft for inflight refueling. The SR-71 is from the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.

KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird

Lockheed SR-71 in flight refueling. SR-71A (S/N 61-7952) refuels from KC-135A (S/N 58-0094). (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lockheed SR-71 in flight refueling. SR-71A (S/N 61-7952) refuels from KC-135A (S/N 58-0094). (U.S. Air Force photo)

KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird KC-135 Refueling SR-71 Blackbird

 

Image Source:

Various

January 29, 2013 Posted by | 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, A-12, Boom Pod View, KC-10, KC-135, KC-135Q, SR-71 | 3 Comments

Boom Operator Memorial – Altus AFB, OK

Click for a 50 Megapixel image

This memorial is a lasting tribute to those who gave the last full measure of devotion that freedom might survive lost in the steadfast performance of duty they, their crews, and families have the gratitude of an eternally thankful nation. It is with solemn pride and a heavy heart that we acknowledge these who have laid so costly an offering upon the altar of freedom and ensured we shall never forget their sacrifice.

Boom Memorial Names

KB-29 SUPERFORTRESS
7-Jul-51 TSGT HENRY H. HILL
7-Jul-51 1LT JACK W. KERN
7-Jul-51 CPL REGINALD F. RUSSELL
7-Jul-51 SSGT SCOTT L. WALLACE
10-Jul-53 SGT WALTER F. OLSEN
26-Dec-56 TSGT THURMAN RANIER
10-Jan-57 TSGT EDWARD C. CLEMONS
10-Jan-57 SSGT MICHAEL B. MCINTOSH
2-Feb-57 MSGT LAWRENCE M. GRIGORY
2-Feb-57 A2C ARTHUR B. KOSIER
2-Feb-57 A3C FRANKLIN D. SCHWEIGERT
KB-50 SUPERFORTRESS
13-Mar-57 A2C ROBERT E. CRAIG
13-Mar-57 A2C BILLY B. ROSE
8-May-57 SSGT THOMAS E. O’CONNOR
8-May-57 A3C DONALD E. COSPER
13-Aug-58 A2C FRANCIS C. HERMANCE, JR.
13-Aug-58 SSGT NORBERT T. KNULTY
22-Jan-59 A2C IGNACIO W. SANCHEZ
22-Jan-59 TSGT WAYNE M. SOUDER
4-Aug-59 A2C THOMAS M. PAYTON
18-Oct-60 SSGT HARDIN A. BAILEY
18-Oct-60 A2C THOMAS J. LANE
18-Oct-60 A3C MICHAEL W. MILLER
5-Mar-61 SSGT HAROLD D. MEEUSEN
5-Mar-61 A2C CLIFTON C. TABOR
8-Jan-62 A2C PAUL M. CLAWSON
8-Jan-62 A2C CARLTON A. LINK
8-Jan-62 SSGT BILLIE D. MOORE
9-Feb-62 A1C GUY L. POWELL
9-Feb-62 A2C RALPH E. REUTZEL
20-Dec-62 SSGT ROBERT T. CRAIG
20-Dec-62 SSGT JAMES R. HAYES
13-Aug-64 SSGT WALTER B. HICKMAN, JR.
13-Aug-64 SSGT CAREY A. LIVINGSTON
KC-97 STRATOFREIGHTER
9-Nov-51 SGT JAMES A. MAINS
27-Jun-54 A1C DAVID ARAMBULA
27-Jun-54 SSGT ROBERT O. GONZALES
27-Jun-54 SSGT VINCENT PROVENZANO
23-Feb-55 SSGT ROBERT E. ROSENCRANCE
23-Feb-55 A2C CHARLES J. SITFA
4-May-55 A1C MARVIN R. DEVRIES
4-May-55 A1C JOSEPH L. PRIDGEN
13-Jul-55 SSGT GEORGE R. MIGNOSA
13-Jul-55 SSGT MARVIN F. RUSK
25-Apr-56 SSGT DONALD S. DELPRIORE
25-Apr-56 A2C JURI E. JOONAS
25-Apr-56 SSGT KENNETH E. VANPATTON
26-Jun-56 TSGT BARDEL A. CRUM
26-Jun-56 SSGT ROBERT L. WALLACE
6-Jul-56 A2C WILLIAM L. FALCONER
22-Jan-57 SSGT JOEL V. BLACKWELL
22-Jan-57 SSGT RAYMOND E. NOAH
18-Jul-57 SSGT JACKIE J. JAMERSON
29-Oct-57 TSGT RONALD E. RUBLE
12-Nov-58 MSGT CURTIS W. KING
12-Nov-58 A2C JOHN M. SCSERBAK
22-Jul-59 TSGT JAKE SCHMIDT
30-Mar-60 SSGT SHIRLEY D. RENNER
27-Jun-60 TSGT ROBERT P. COSTELLO
28-Feb-61 SSGT ERNEST J. LEMOINE
5-Nov-64 SSGT GERALD W. SHULTZ
19-Dec-64 TSGT JAMES R. BILL
KC-135 SRATOTANKER
27-Jun-58 MSGT DONALD H. GABBARD
25-Nov-58 TSGT RONALD L. CHAMPION
31-Mar-59 TSGT HERMAN A. CLARK
15-Oct-59 SSGT PAUL R. THOMASSON
3-Feb-60 SSGT GEORGE W. SHORT
9-May-62 SSGT WALLACE R. ADAMS
10-Sep-62 TSGT JOHN L. DUNCAN
10-Sep-62 TSGT KENNETH A. QUINN
27-Feb-63 TSGT DANIEL C. CAMERON
21-Jun-63 MSGT DANIEL F. DONAHUE
28-Aug-63 MSGT CARL H. BURRIS
28-Aug-63 TSGT RAY L. FISH
8-Jul-64 SSGT ROBERT L. GRAVES
4-Jan-65 SSGT JIMMY TARDIE
16-Jan-65 SSGT REGINALD R. WENT
26-Feb-65 MSGT CAREY W. ADDISON JR.
3-Jun-65 TSGT LESTER M. ALLSOP
17-Jan-66 MSGT LLOYD POTOLICCHIO
17-May-66 TSGT HARRY L. ALEXANDER
19-May-66 SSGT CHARLES E. STUART
19-Jan-67 MSGT ORVILLE MONTGOMERY
17-Jan-68 TSGT CHARLES C. CHAPLIN
30-Jul-68 SGT CHARLES A. OLVIS JR.
30-Jul-68 SSGT HURSCHEL D. PRIDDY
2-Oct-68 TSGT EARL B. ESTEP JR.
22-Oct-68 SMSGT HOWARD B. BENGE
19-Dec-69 SMSGT HOWARD G. BENFORD
3-Jun-71 SSGT RICHARD D. ROUSHER
13-Jun-71 TSGT HUBERT MILES JR.
13-Mar-72 SGT BRUCE J. KLAVERKAMP
25-Mar-75 SMSGT JACKIE V. EGBERT
7-Dec-75 SGT DAVID M. WANDEL
6-Feb-76 SSGT LLOYD D. BAKER
26-Sep-76 TSGT GARY L. CARLSON
19-Sep-79 SMSGT ALBERT L. EVANS
13-Mar-82 TSGT DONALD J. PLOUGH
19-Mar-82 MSGT RICHARD A. CROME
27-Aug-85 TSGT CLAUDE F. ARDEN
27-Aug-85 SSGT DESIREE LOY
17-Jun-86 SSGT QUINN L. DEWITT
13-Mar-87 SSGT RODNEY S. ERKS
13-Mar-87 SMSGT PAUL W. HAMILTON
11-Oct-88 A1C ROBERT L. PARHAM
20-Nov-88 MSGT JAMES L. BORLAND
31-Jan-89 CAPT ROBERT LEWELLYN
31-Jan-89 SSGT DAVID VICKERS
20-Sep-89 MSGT CHERYL HELGERMAN
20-Sep-89 MSGT WILLIAM J. MALICO
4-Oct-89 A1C JACK D. CUPP
19-Nov-97 MSGT ROBERT “TUG” MCGRAW
13-Jan-99 TSGT RICHARD D. VISINTAINER
ADDED SINCE BOOM MEMORIAL DEDICATION
KC-97 STRATOFREIGHTER
27-Aug-56 A1C WILLIAM R. DENNIE Jr.
27-Aug-56 A3C RICHARD A. RIDLON
ADDED SINCE BOOM MEMORIAL DEDICATION
KB-29 SUPERFORTRESS
8-Apr-54 A2C FREDERICK L. MARSHALL
8-Apr-54 A2C WAYNE D. WHITSELL

June 11, 2011 Posted by | 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, Boom Operator, KB-29, kb-50, KC-10, KC-135, KC-135A, KC-135E, KC-135Q, KC-135R, KC-97 | 5 Comments

F-16XL Air Refueling Pictures

Here are some pictures of an F-16XL refueling from a KC-135. These pictures are quite rare and it took me a very long time to track them down.

F-16XL Behind a KC-135.

F-16XL refueling from a KC-135.

F-16XL refueling from a KC-135.

F-16XL refueling from a KC-135.

Image Sources:

http://kr.blog.yahoo.com/shinecommerce/6901.html?p=1&t=3
http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/gallery/Photo/F-16XL2/HTML/EC96-43811-2.html

April 23, 2011 Posted by | 1990s, Boom Pod View, External View, F-16XL, KC-135R | , | 2 Comments

History of Refueling

Great documentary about Air Refueling that aired on the Military Channel.

January 22, 2011 Posted by | 1920s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, B-47, B-52, Boom Operator, Boom Pod View, F-104, F-105, F-15, F-16, F-4, History, KB-29, kb-50, KC-10, KC-135, KC-135A, KC-97, Probe/Drogue, Question Mark, Receiver View, Video | 2 Comments

50 Years Of The KC-135

Excellent documentary on the KC-135 Stratotanker including details on the tri-level refueling that earned the 1967 Mackay Trophy. Also included is a first hand account of towing a crippled F-4 Phantom. This mission received the 1983 Mackay Trophy.

Video Source:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehPg2aDJot4

November 25, 2010 Posted by | 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, KC-135, KC-135A, KC-135R | Leave a comment

Convair UC-880 Tanker

A US Navy Convair UC-880 refueling an F-14

An air-to-air left side view of a UC-880 Convair aircraft assigned to the Naval Air Test Center, Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, refueling a TA-4J Skyhawk aircraft.

A Convair UC-880 aircraft, the only such aircraft in U.S. Navy service, refuels an F/A-18A Hornet aircraft. The Convair is assigned to Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, and is employed in Tomahawk cruise missile testing and refueling aircraft procedures.

The United States Navy purchased one 880 which was modified as an in-flight tanker. Unofficially designated UC-880, it was assigned to the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, and employed in Tomahawk cruise missile testing and aircraft refueling procedures. The UC-880 was destroyed in a cargo hold explosion test at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland in 1995.

Image Source:

http://www.dodmedia.osd.mil/DVIC_View/Still_Details.cfm?SDAN=DNST9210041&JPGPath=/Assets/Still/1992/Navy/DN-ST-92-10041.JPG

http://www.dodmedia.osd.mil/DVIC_View/Still_Details.cfm?SDAN=DNSC8611792&JPGPath=/Assets/Still/1986/Navy/DN-SC-86-11792.JPG

http://www.dodmedia.osd.mil/DVIC_View/Still_Details.cfm?SDAN=DNSC9210044&JPGPath=/Assets/Still/1992/Navy/DN-SC-92-10044.JPG

May 2, 2010 Posted by | 1990s, CV-880, External View, F-14, F-18, Probe/Drogue, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

KC-135: History of Destroyed Aircraft

If anybody has information on these crashes, please use the comments below as a forum to add your inputs.

Below is a table that shows all destroyed -135 aircraft. The list includes KC-135, RC-135, and EC-135 aircraft. Even a brief look at this listing shows that flying the KC-135 and similar aircraft was anything but safe. Since the R model conversion the safety record has been on par with that of any modern airliner.

Date Tail Number KC-135 Model Base Summary of Events
27-Jun-58 56-3599 A Westover Heavy weight on takeoff, crashed one mile beyond runway
24-Nov-58 56-3598 A Loring Crosswind takeoff, lost No. 4 engine, lost control
21-Mar-59 58-0002 A Bergstrom Flew through thunderstorm, experienced structural failure
22-Jun-59 57-1446 A Walker Main fuel tank explosion on ramp (maintenance)
15-Oct-59 57-1513 A Columbus In-flight collision with B-52
3-Feb-60 56-3628 A Walker Gusty wind during takeoff, lost control, went off runway and crashed into 57-1449 and 57-1457 on ramp and a hanger, all three burned
3-Feb-60 57-1449 A Walker
3-Feb-60 57-1457 A Walker
8-Mar-60 57-1466 A Carswell Fog, aircraft landed on nm short, hit a power line and a building
18-Nov-60 56-3605 A Loring Hard landing, broke nose gear off, caused fuel fire
25-Jan-62 56-3657 A Altus Starter explosion during engine start, caused fuel fire
9-May-62 56-3613 A Loring Heavy weight takeoff, No. 2 engine failed, crashed 2500 feet beyond end of runway
8-Aug-62 55-3144 A Wright-Patterson Landed 2700 feet short of runway
10-Sep-62 60-0352 A Ellsworth Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) at Mt. Kit Carson near Fairchild AFB, WA
23-Oct-62 62-4136 B McGuire Landed 1000 feet short of runway in right bank at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
27-Feb-63 56-3597 A Castle Lost No. 1 engine during takeoff at Eielson, low visibility, night time
21-Jun-63 57-1498 A Westover Controlled flight into terrain; struck 790-foot hill, 5 nm short and 1 nm left of runway
28-Aug-63 61-0319 A Homestead In-flight collision with another KC-135 (Tail No. 61-0322) over Atlantic Ocean
28-Aug-63 61-0322 A Homestead In-flight collision with another KC-135 (Tail No. 61-0319) over Atlantic Ocean
11-May-64 60-0332 B Travis Hit a tower, 3500 feet short of runway, in heavy rain
8-Jul-64 60-0340 A Larson In-flight collision with F-105 during aerial refueling
4-Jan-65 61-0265 A Loring Lost No. 3 and No. 4 engines during takeoff, crashed 12,000 feet past runway
16-Jan-65 57-1442 A Clinton-Sherman Suspected hard-over rudder at Wichita
26-Feb-65 63-8882 A Dow In-flight collision with B-47, clear weather, over North Atlantic
3-Jun-65 63-8042 A Walker Controlled flight into terrain on low approach, in blowing sand storm
25-Jun-65 60-0373 A McGuire Controlled flight into terrain, night takeoff at El Toro, hit hills four miles beyond runway
17-Jan-66 61-0273 A Seymour Johnson In-flight collision with a B-52. Famous loss of nuclear weapons of Spanish coast.
17-May-66 57-1424 A Amarillo Wind rock during landing, lost control
19-May-66 57-1444 A Kadena Crashed during takeoff, performance problem, possibly windshear
19-Jan-67 56-3616 A Fairchild Controlled flight into terrain; hit Shadow Mountain during landing to base
19-Apr-67 55-3140 A Castle Destroyed during maintenance at Wake Island, right main gear failure
17-Jul-67 58-1465 R (rec) Offutt Stalled during takeoff, high rotation, in clear weather
17-Jan-68 58-0026 A March Crashed during takeoff in poor weather at Minot
30-Jul-68 56-3655 A Castle Structural failure during Dutch roll demonstration
24-Sep-68 55-3133 A Loring Three-engine go-around, forgot speed brakes, landed short
2-Oct-68 55-3138 A Robins Takeoff aborted after nose tires blew, went off runway at U-Tapoa
22-Oct-68 61-0301 A Westover Controlled flight into terrain; contact lost near CCK Taiwan
13-Jan-69 59-1491 RC/S Eielson Landing; lost control on icy runway in snow, at night
25-Mar-69 56-3602 A Loring Takeoff; aborted after S-1 following loss of water injection, broke apart
5-Jun-69 62-4137 RC/E Eielson Unknown cause; in-flight vibration reported, lost contact
19-Dec-69 56-3629 A Ellsworth Structural failure; lost contact, CCK Taiwan
3-Jun-71 58-0039 Q Torrejon Crashed following in-flight explosion of the nr. 1 main fuel tank. Chafing of boost pump wires in conduits was determined to be as a possible ignition source.
31 June 1971 61-0331 B Wright-Patterson Cause unknown; lost over Pacific Ocean
13-Mar-72 58-0048 A Carswell landed short; steep, idle approach
1-Jul-72 63-8473 F French AF Takeoff; lost No. 3 engine initially, then No. 4 later
8-Mar-73 63-7989 A Lockbourne Collided with another KC-135 (Tail No. 63-7980) during alert exercise
5-Mar-74 57-1500 A McConnell Crashed on takeoff; applied wrong rudder
8-Dec-75 60-0354 A Eielson Extreme cold weather; gear problem, stalled
6-Feb-76 60-0368 A K.I. Sawyer Crashed during approach into Torrejon
26-Sep-76 61-0296 A K.I. Sawyer Crashed near Alpena, Michigan
4-Mar-77 62-3522 A Griffiss Engine fire during maintenance
29-Apr-77 58-0101 A Castle Hit cattle on runway during touch-and-go at Beale
14-Sep-77 62-3536 EC/K Kirtland Controlled flight into terrain; after takeoff, hit mountain
19-Sep-79 58-0127 A Castle Flight instructor simulated engine failure on runway, lost control
30-Jan-80 58-0007 EC/P Langley Burned on ramp during heating of water
8-Feb-80 60-0338 Q Plattsburg Burned on ramp; aft body fire during refueling
15-Mar-81 61-2664 RC/S Eielson Landed short at Shemya, sheared off landing gear
6-May-81 61-0328 EC/N Wright-Patterson Runaway trim, rapidly lost altitude, Maryland
13-Mar-82 57-1489 A Arizona ANG In-flight collision with light aircraft during approach
19-Mar-82 58-0031 A Illinois ANG Exploded at 13,500 feet on approach to O’Hare
25-Feb-85 55-3121 RC/T Offutt Controlled flight into terrain; struck mountain near Valdez, Alaska during approach
19-Mar-85 61-0316 A Barksdale Burned on ramp in Cairo during refueling
27-Aug-85 59-1443 A Castle Hard landing, engine fire, stalled in turn
17-Jun-86 63-7983 A Grissom Hit the runway at Howard AB Panama, became airborne again and crashed into a hill in the jungle.
13-FEB-87 60-0330 A Altus Landed on the runway at altus afb on fire, cause was an arc in the fuel vapor area due to a compromised coax from the HF radio, aircraft subsequently burned to the ground in the infield after it rolled off the runway
13-Mar-87 60-0361 A Fairchild Airshow practice, hit wake turbulence, lost control
11-Oct-88 60-0317 A Wurtsmith Crashed on landing
31-Jan-89 63-7990 A K.I. Sawyer High crosswind, performance loss, lost control
21-Sep-89 57-1481 E Eielson Burned on ramp at Eielson
4-Oct-89 56-3592 A Loring In-flight explosion (aft body tank) during approach
11-Jan-90 59-1494 E Pease Burned on ramp at Pease
29-May-92 62-3584 EC/C Eielson On landing; ran off end of runway at Pope
10-Dec-93 57-1470 R Wisconsin ANG Burned on ramp; center wing explosion
13-Jan-99 59-1452 E Washington ANG Runaway trim in flare, nose up, stalled
26-Sep-06 63-8886 R Fairchild Struck on runway by departing aircraft at Manas AB, Kyrgyzstan.
3-May-13 63-8877 R McConnell In-flight breakup over Kyrgyzstan due to malfunctioning rudder power control unit.

June 4, 2009 Posted by | 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, KC-135, KC-135A, KC-135Q, KC-135R | , , | 337 Comments

Northrop YF-23 – In-Flight Refueling

A Northrop YF-23 inches toward the boom of a KC-135 during the Advanced Tactical Fighter test program. Click image to enlarge.

A Northrop YF-23 inches toward the boom of a KC-135 during the Advanced Tactical Fighter test program. Click image to enlarge.

Design and development

The YF-22 and YF-23 were competing in the USAF’s Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) program, conceived in the early 1980s, to provide a replacement for the F-15 Eagle. Contracts for the two most promising designs were awarded in 1986.

The YF-23 was designed to meet USAF requirements for survivability, supersonic cruise (supercruise), stealth, and ease of maintenance. Designed with all-aspect stealth as a high priority, Northrop drew on the company’s experience with the B-2 Spirit and F/A-18 Hornet. The YF-23 was an unconventional-looking aircraft with trapezoidal wings, substantial area-ruling, and a V-tail. It introduced the novel feature of rear jet nozzle troughs lined with heat ablating tiles developed by Allison, which shielded the exhaust from infrared (IR) detection from below. All the control surfaces were coupled together via the Vehicle Management System to provide “net effect” aerodynamic control. The wing flaps and ailerons deflected inversely on either side to provide yaw, while the tail provided pitch. Aerodynamic braking was achieved by deflecting the flaps and ailerons on both sides simultaneously.

Although possessing an advanced design, in order to reduce costs and development, a number of F-15 Eagle components were utilized including the standard F-15 nose wheel unit and the forward cockpit of the F-15E Strike Eagle. Two aircraft were built. YF-23 #1 (PAV-1) was fitted with Pratt & Whitney YF119 engines, while YF-23 #2 (PAV-2) was fitted with General Electric YF120 engines. The YF-23 featured fixed nozzles. The first YF-23 was rolled out on 22 June 1990, and first flew on 27 August 1990. YF-23 #2 first flew on 26 October 1990.

The black YF-23 (PAV-1) was nicknamed “Black Widow II”, after the Northrop P-61 Black Widow of World War II and had a red hourglass marking resembling the underbelly marking of the black widow spider. The black widow marking was briefly seen under PAV-1 before being removed at the insistence of Northrop management. The gray colored YF-23 (PAV-2) was nicknamed “Gray Ghost”.

Operational history

Evaluation

Both YF-23s were furnished in the configuration specified before the requirement for thrust reversing was dropped. The weapons bay was configured for weapons launch but no missiles were fired, unlike Lockheed’s demonstration aircraft. The YF-23s flew 50 times for a total of 65.2 hours. The YF-22 achieved Mach 1.58 in supercruise. The first YF-23 with P&W engines supercruised at Mach 1.43 on 18 September 1990 and the second YF-23 with GE engines reached Mach 1.6 on 29 November 1990. The flight testing demonstrated Northrop’s predicted performance values for the YF-23.

The YF-22 won the competition in April 1991. The YF-23 design was more stealthy and faster, but the YF-22 was more agile. It has been speculated in the aviation press that the YF-22 was also seen as more adaptable to the Navy’s Navalized Advanced Tactical Fighter (NATF), though as it turned out the US Navy abandoned NATF a few months later.

After losing the competition, both YF-23 prototypes were transferred from Northrop to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, at Edwards AFB, California. The engines were removed. NASA had no plans to perform flight tests with the airframes, but a proposal was put forward to use one of the two aircraft to study strain gauge loads calibration techniques. The possible production configuration of the F-23A has never been publicly revealed.

Source:

Image Source:

May 28, 2009 Posted by | 1990s, External View, KC-135, YF-23 | , | Leave a comment

Sargent Fletcher ART/S Pod – F-16 VISTA

This F-16 is fitted with a Sargent Fletcher 370-Gallon Aerial Refueling Tank/System that allows the aircraft to refuel from drogue equipped tankers. Click image to enlarge.

This F-16 is fitted with a Sargent Fletcher 370-Gallon Aerial Refueling Tank/System that allows the aircraft to refuel from drogue equipped tankers. Click image to enlarge.

In this picture a Sargent Fletcher Aerial Refueling Tank/System (ART/S) pod is attached to an F-16 VISTA.

This unique concept is the product of the vast Sargent Fletcher experience in External Fuel Tank and Probe/Drogue Aerial Refueling systems design. The Sargent Fletcher 370-Gallon wing tank is modified to accept a retractable probe that will permit a F-16 aircraft to receive fuel from a Probe/Drogue-equipped tanker. A proof of concept flight test was conducted to verify the compatibility of the design to the hoop-up loads. No fuel was transferred in this test. Instrumentation was installed to measure loads, deflection, and stiffness. The test confirmed the loads placed on the probe and the ease of hook-up including the compatibility of the system to several different tankers.

VISTA with ARTSA later test was conducted with the ART/S® installed on the specially configured F-16 Variable Stability In-flight Simulator Test Aircraft (VISTA). The VISTA test flights confirmed that the ART/S® was compatible with various aircraft computer programs. When a F-16, and many other aircraft in the USAF inventory, is equipped with an ART/S®, it can receive fuel, not only from the boom/receptacle tankers, but also from any tanker in the worldwide fleet.

F-16 VISTA Sargent Fletcher ART-S Pod

Click image to enlarge.

The Lockheed Martin F-16 VISTA (“Variable stability In-flight Simulator Test Aircraft”) program, which ran from 1988 to 1997, began as a privately funded joint venture between General Electric and General Dynamics, to produce a Multi-Axis Thrust-Vectoring (MATV) variant of the Fighting Falcon.

The F-16 VISTA testbed aircraft incorporated a multi-axis thrust vectoring (MATV) engine nozzle that provides for more active control of the aircraft in a post-stall situation. The resulting aircraft is supermaneuverable, retaining pitch and yaw control at angles of attack beyond which the traditional control surfaces cannot change attitude.

The VISTA program was considered successful, but the thrust vector control (TVC) never made it into production fighter versions.

The program was also notable for the development of Direct Voice Input and the “Virtual HUD”, which were both eventually to be incorporated into the cockpit design for the F-35 Lightning II. The STOVL F-35 variants also incorporate MATV while hovering to provide attitude control.

The Sargent Fletcher ART/S Pod features a retractible refueling probe. Click image to enlarge.

The Sargent Fletcher ART/S Pod features a retractible refueling probe. Click image to enlarge.

Characteristic Model 27-370

Diameter

27 Inches

Capacity

340 U.S. Gallons

Aircraft

F-16, etc.

Mounting

Wing Pylon,
30-Inch Suspension Lugs

Tank Length

213.83 Inches

Overall Length

297.83 Inches

Operating Pressure

3 to 40 Pounds
per Square Inch

Special Feature

Equipped with Fully-Retractable,
Aerial Refueling Probe

Sources:

Image Source:

May 12, 2009 Posted by | 1990s, External View, F-16, F-16 VISTA, Probe/Drogue | , | Leave a comment