Air Refueling Archive

Huge Collection of Air Refueling Pictures

KB-29

Here are some pictures of KB-29s and crew that were assigned TDY to the United Kingdom in the fall of 1949. The full story is unclear, but it appears that these KB-29s were fitted with British refueling equipment and then flown north for cold weather trials. Expert comments welcomed in the comment section below. All photos courtesy Paul Lee.

KB-29 (1) KB-29 (2) KB-29 (3) KB-29 (4) KB-29 (5) KB-29 (6) KB-29 (7) KB-29 (8)

Image Source:

Paul Lee

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August 12, 2013 Posted by | 1940s, History, KB-29 | 1 Comment

KB-29 Pilot Director Lights

The pilot director light (often referred to as PDLs or PDIs [Pilot Director Indicators]) are seen here swung out from the belly of a KB-29.

Here is an interesting image showing the pilot director lights of the Boeing KB-29. In this image, the director light panel has been swung out from under the belly of the aircraft, presumably for maintenance. The director lights illuminate to give the receiver aircraft’s pilot information on his position in the air refueling envelope. One set of lights indicates his forward-aft position and the other set indicates the up-down position. All subsequent tanker aircraft including the KB-97, KC-135, KC-10, and now KC-30 and KC-46A include a similar arrangement of pilot director lights.

August 8, 2012 Posted by | 1940s, 1950s, KB-29 | | 2 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

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

Experimenting with jet refueling – Multiple F-84 refueling configurations

By the late 1940s and early 1950s, air refueling had been around in an experimental capacity for nearly 30 years. With the end of the Second World War and the inception of the Cold War, air refueling was seen as a vital technology that had to be further developed so that fuel hungry jet aircraft would have the range and endurance required to perform their required missions. The F-84 Thunderjet existed during this time of air refueling development and refinement; therefore it saw numerous configurations that included multiple drogue and receptacle variants. One of the more interesting configurations tested was a dual probe system that required the F-84 to refuel each of its wingtip mounted tanks with a separate probe that was integral to each tank. This highly offset design made it difficult for the receiver pilot to accurately make contact with the tanker’s drogue. The distance from aircraft centerline meant that the pilot would have to look sideways to align the probe with the drogue. During this time he would have to use his peripheral vision to fly formation off of the tanker. Complicating matters was the fact that any roll would be magnified at the wingtip.

Another drogue refueling method employed by later model F-84s was a single point refueling probe. The probe was located on the left side of the forward fuselage. This positioning made it much easier for the pilot to see the probe while still being able to fly formation off of the tanker. This design has proved to be the best positioning for refueling probes, and aircraft today still feature their probes in a similar position with respect to the pilot.

A third refueling system that can be found on the F-84 is a boom receptacle installed on the upper surface of the left wing. This design allowed an equipped F-84 to receive fuel from a boom tanker. The boom method of refueling lowered the receiver pilot’s workload because all he had to do was fly into the air refueling envelope after which the tanker’s boom operator could precisely place the nozzle into the receptacle. The rigid flying boom also provides a certain amount of stability (especially to small and lightweight aircraft like the F-84) between the two aircraft by resisting forward and aft motion. The receiver aircraft is still free to move for and aft in the envelope, but must first exceed pressure relief valves in the boom’s retract mechanism.

Dual Wingtip Tank Refueling

An F-84 aligning with the drogue. Notice how far off center the pilot must look to line up the probe with the basket. Any turbulence would make this essentially impossible.

F-84 on the basket.

An F-84 refueling its right wingtip tank. Unknown cause of fuel spray, likely slosh from tank vent.

Refueling the left tank from the second probe.

F-84 refueling from KB-29

KB-29 refueling F-84E over Korea in 1952

Single Point Probe

F-84 with single point drogue refueling taking fuel from a KC-135.

Boom and Receptacle

A receptacle equipped RF-84 pulls into the contact position behind a KB-29P

F-84 in contact with a KB-29P

High over West Texas, two F-84Gs of the 31st Fighter Escort Wing pull in behind a waiting KB-29P during Operation Fox Peter One. Note the opened receptacle on the upper surface of the left wing.

A F-84 taking fuel from a KC-97G using the boom and receptacle method of refueling.

An F-84 banks off to the right after refueling from a KC-97. Note the opened receptacle and drop tanks.

An excellent image of an F-84 pulling up behind a KB-29P. The KB-29P was the only tanker to have the boom operator situated above the boom. It was found difficult to align the boom from this position.

F-84 Refueling from KC-97

August 24, 2010 Posted by | 1950s, 1960s, Boom Pod View, External View, F-84, General, History, KB-29, KC-135, KC-135A, KC-97, RF-84 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

KB-29P – Heated Ruddevators

The boom of the KC-29P featured heated ruddevators so that ice would not accumulate on the control surfaces. Click image to enlarge

The boom of the KB-29P featured electrically heated ruddevators so that ice would not accumulate on the control surfaces. Click image to enlarge

This article from the June 1950 edition of Popular Science discusses the electrically heated ruddevators of the newly designed boom fitted to a KB-29p. Heated ruddevators were dropped from future boom designs, presumably due to the different refueling altitude that the KC-97 and KC-135 operated at. Note the B-50 being refueled in the bottom right picture. If anybody has information on the history of heated ruddevators (which booms featured them), please let me know through the comments.

Boeing developed the rigid flying boom system to improve on the hose and drogue in-flight refueling (IFR) system. The boom, mounted at the aft-most portion of the KB-29P, was fitted with two small wings that allowed the boom operator to maneuver the boom. The pilot of the receiver aircraft, guided by the boom operator and light signals on the tanker belly, flew behind and below the tanker for refueling. Once in position, the boom operator “flew” the boom into the refueling receptacle, and the KB-29P flight engineer began fuel transfer.

The flying boom system became the most common method for IFR and was used on KB-50s and KC-97s. It is still used on the USAF’s modern tankers — the KC-135 and KC-10.

Sources:

May 10, 2009 Posted by | 1950s, External View, History, KB-29 | , | 1 Comment

KB-29P Boom Operator’s Station

The boomer in the KB-29 operated his equipment from a station in the converted tail turret of the bomber. Click image to enlarge.

The boomer in the KB-29P operated his equipment from a station in the converted tail turret of the bomber. Click image to enlarge.

The Boom Operator’s station in the KB-29P was in approximately the same location as where the tail gunner would sit in a conventional B-29. A large hemispherical Plexiglas bubble provided a generous view of the refueling operation. The boom was mounted beneath the operator which made the job of effecting a contact more difficult. Subsequent aircraft would be configured with the boom mounted above the operator so that he could more accurately sight down the boom.

Boeing developed the rigid flying boom system to improve on the hose and drogue in-flight refueling (IFR) system. The boom, mounted at the aft-most portion of the KB-29P, was fitted with two small wings that allowed the boom operator to maneuver the boom. The pilot of the receiver aircraft, guided by the boom operator and light signals on the tanker belly, flew behind and below the tanker for refueling. Once in position, the boom operator “flew” the boom into the refueling receptacle, and the KB-29P flight engineer began fuel transfer.

The flying boom system became the most common method for IFR and was used on KB-50s and KC-97s. It is still used on the USAF’s modern tankers — the KC-135 and KC-10.

Source:

Image Source:

May 10, 2009 Posted by | 1950s, Boom Operator, KB-29 | , | 1 Comment

KB-29P Refueling a RB-45C

A KB-29P from the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., puts Strategic Air Command's long reach into practice by refueling an RB-45C of the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. ( U.S. Air Force photo) Click on image to enlarge.

A KB-29P from the 91st Air Refueling Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, La., puts Strategic Air Command's long reach into practice by refueling an RB-45C of the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. ( U.S. Air Force photo) Click on image to enlarge.

Image Source:

May 10, 2009 Posted by | 1950s, B-45, External View, KB-29 | , , , | Leave a comment