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.
Boom Memorial Names
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|27-Aug-56||A1C WILLIAM R. DENNIE Jr.|
|27-Aug-56||A3C RICHARD A. RIDLON|
|ADDED SINCE BOOM MEMORIAL DEDICATION|
|8-Apr-54||A2C FREDERICK L. MARSHALL|
|8-Apr-54||A2C WAYNE D. WHITSELL|
Special thanks to Scott Mahew for bringing these great pictures to my attention. These are very rare pictures of a McDonnell Douglas YC-15 being refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker. The YC-15 was McDonnell Douglas‘ entrant into the U.S. Air Force‘s Advanced Medium STOL Transport (AMST) competition, to replace the C-130 Hercules as the USAF’s standard STOL tactical transport. In the end neither the YC-15 norBoeing YC-14 was ordered into production, although the YC-15’s basic design would be used to form the successful C-17 Globemaster III.
Great documentary about Air Refueling that aired on the Military Channel.
This image was taken in 1984 with pilot Les Dyer at the controls of the sleek Mach 3 SR-71 Blackbird. The KC-135Q was a specially modified version of the KC-135 that could separate its body tank fuel from the wing tank fuel so that it could carry the JP-7 fuel that the SR-71 required. Reengined KC-135Qs were redesignated KC-135T.
Image Source:Les Dryer
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.
This is a nice refueling scene from the classic movie “A Gathering of Eagles”. During the refueling a fuel manifold bursts open in the cockpit of the B-52 and an emergency breakaway is executed. All electrical equipment is shut off and the aircraft is forced to perform a high speed flaps up landing resulting in hot brakes.
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
Single Point Probe
Boom and Receptacle
The Convair F-106 Delta Dart was the primary all-weather interceptor aircraft for the United States Air Force from the 1960s through the 1980s. Designed as the so-called “Ultimate Interceptor”, it has proven to be the last dedicated interceptor in USAF service to date. It was gradually retired during the 1980s. In this picture, a threesome of Darts take on fuel from a KC-135.