Air Refueling Archive

Huge Collection of Air Refueling Pictures

A-10 Cracked UARRSI during flight test

The following photos and narrative were provided by Billy Meeks, a former flight test boom operator at Edwards AFB.

It’s been said , “one good test is worth a thousand opinions”. It’s also axiomatic that no test, regardless of outcome, is a failure. It may contain some elements of failure but, if something is learned that can lead to success, then the test is a success even in failure. The accompanying photos are an example. Phil Zamagne was the lead on a night lighting evaluation of A-10 lighting. We went out after dark and caught up with an A-10 being piloted by an AFTEC (previous to AFOTEC) pilot for an operational look. Phil completed his test card deck and concluded the test. I sniveled for one more contact and he permitted me to do so. The A-10 returned to the precontact, reported ready and moved forward. I put the nozzle in the receptacle and instead of a contact made light, all the lights went dim on the instrument panel. I reset with the nozzle in contact and got the same result. So, I thought let’s start over here and retracted the boom except it would not come out of the receptacle. Uh, Oh. So I monkeyed with it and it still would not come out. By now the A-10 guy was starting to get a little antsy and pretty much started running th limits. I/we finally got him settled down and following us and we tried a bunch of stuff all to no avail. I/we are starting to get concerned. After discussing our options we were down to a forced disconnect. So I set it up with him at mid boom and he retards his throttles, slides back to the end and, KLUNK. We are still stuck with him and him with us. Oookaay, let’s try this again. Same thing. All right, let’s enhance this a bit. Started him at 6 feet, he pulls his throttles and I stand on the extension. Zip, KLUNK. So we know we can’t land this way and he’s not amenable to us dragging him off on Mount Whitney. Just what are we going to do. I’m wondering if Phil is laughing at me but I’m scared to look to see. As it turned out the A-10 is one of two prototypes and had hydraulic system control switches. Someone asks and he confirms and turns off the switches and just like FM the boom comes out. This whole thing went on for what seemed like 30 minutes.

What happened? The A-10 has/had a “T” handle which controlled the deploy/retract function of the UARRSI. When he came back he pulled the handle but not all the way out. That allowed the slipway to bleed down but not lock down. He got a ready light as he normally would. When the boom went in it created an air flow situation such that the slipway door floated up behind the ball joint and captured the receptacle. See fotos, zoom and note the fractures in the assembly.

The fix: redesign such that the handle had to be fulled extended and locked by turning 90 degrees. This is a test failure that resulted in a successful outcome.

I’m claiming hero status for Phil and I since we maybe prevented some youngster from from finding out what it was like to land hooked up to an A-10.

A-10 Cracked UARSSI refueling recptacle (1)

A-10 Cracked UARSSI refueling recptacle (2)


February 19, 2018 Posted by | 1970s, A-10, History, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

KC-97 Refueling F-84 Thunderjets

Great video with a scene showing the F-84’s receptacle pop up from the left wing.

July 28, 2016 Posted by | 1960s, F-84, History, KC-97, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Air Force C-141B Aerial Refueling Tests

February 14, 2016 Posted by | 1970s, C-141B, KC-135, KC-135A, Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

KC-46A First Air Refueling – Video


February 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Boeing KC-46A makes first contact

First Contact

The KC-46A Pegasus performs its first-ever aerial refueling passing 1,600 pounds of fuel to an F-16 fighter Jan. 24. Credit Paul Weatherman / Boeing Boeing Flight Test & Evaluation – Boeing Field – KC-46, VH004, EMD2, Initial Contacts with F-16, Boeing KC-46 Pegasus Tanker Refueling F-16, Edwards AFB 412th TW,

KC-46A Test 004-002

KC-46A Test 004-002 was the initial F-16 contact and fuel pass flight on January 24, 2016. Air Force Photo by SSgt Brandi Hansen.

KC-46 C-17

KC-46A performs an aerial refueling contact with a C-17A.

Link to full article:

January 25, 2016 Posted by | 2010s, C-17, F-16, KC-46, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

SR-71 Refueling Pictures

Collection of SR-71 aerial refueling pictures.

January 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Boeing 707 Tankers

The Boeing 707 has been used as a refueling tanker for many years. It looks similar to the KC-135, but it is in fact a completely different airframe with different refueling hardware and systems.

January 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Zealand A-4 performs formation barrel roll during refueling

January 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Navy’s X47B UCAV Drone completes first ever autonomous aerial refueling

January 10, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US Navy C-2A Greyhound Refueling From a KC-130


C-2 Greyhound refueling from a US Marine Corps KC-130 tanker.

C-2 Greyhound refueling from a US Marine Corps KC-130 tanker.

Here is a rare picture of the only C-2A Greyhound fitted with a refueling probe. The C-2 is making contact with a drogue basket from a US Marines KC-130 tanker. Picture is dated from around 1979 or 1980.

Photo submitted by E. Hamilton and found at the Air Movements Terminal RAAF Base in Darwin, Aus.

January 2, 2016 Posted by | 1970s, 1980s, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment