Air Refueling Archive

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US Navy P-3 Orion Aerial Refueling Testing with USAF KC-135

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

P-3 proximity tests. The Navy wanted to demo it , we wanted to demo it, and everyone wondered why an airplane that could fly 23 hours could possibly want more fuel. A bunch of photos showing various az/el deflections at short, mid and long boom lengths. All were planned test points and the boom operator directed the receiver to the coordinates where the FTE and aerial photog recorded the event. “Receiver” pilot offered comments. A few flights and several hours to complete. Hope didn’t bore.

P-3 Orion Aerial Refueling Testing KC-135 boom receptacle Edwards AFB Flight Test (2)

P-3 Orion Aerial Refueling Testing KC-135 boom receptacle Edwards AFB Flight Test

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P-3 Orion Aerial Refueling Testing KC-135 drogue Edwards AFB Flight Test (24)

Navy P-3 testing with the KC-135 boom to drogue adapter.

February 19, 2018 Posted by | 1970s, Boom Pod View, KC-135, KC-135A, P-3, US Navy | Leave a comment

US Navy C-2 Greyhound refueling trials

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

PROPELLERS. After developing a friendship with the NAVY Flight Test crowd it seemed like they developed a taste for compatibility testing. After the P3 they brought their C2 over for some prox work. We guessed they were using it as a surrogate for their E2. Initially, two Grumman test pilots flew the tests. Unfortunately neither of them were familiar with air refueling by our method. Two Navy test pilots assumed the duties. The tests were rather straight forward and unremarkable. Compatibility was assured. We watched the propellers constantly as in a normal refueling position the drogue appeared to be — at times— very near the propeller arc. However, manageable. Then.. came the night evaluate we had insisted on. We have the guy in the precontact for a period so we could all get our situational awareness spun up. I brought him forward and stopped him at 10 feet to evaluate that. Then on to the contact position. As he was maneuvering around while in contact, with the “S” in the hose, it became obvious if the drogue were to be released while forward it could, and likely would, penetrate the propeller arc. I requested he disconnect and fly the precontact. I turned on the light looked at Jimmy and he at me for a long moment and his look confirmed my thoughts.l terminated the test. In debrief I stated that the operation posed an unacceptable risk and I would recommend the practice not be continued. The Navy guy stated that he had hoped we would make that recommendation. No further action.

Navy C-2 Greyhound Air Refueling KC-135 Drogue (3)Navy C-2 Greyhound Air Refueling KC-135 Drogue (4)Navy C-2 Greyhound Air Refueling KC-135 Drogue (2)Navy C-2 Greyhound Air Refueling KC-135 Drogue (1)

February 19, 2018 Posted by | 1970s, Boom Pod View, C-2 Greyhound, History, US Navy | 1 Comment