These are pictures that I have been in search of for a very long time and I think they might be the new crown jewels of my collection. I was very excited when I finally was able to get copies of them.
Here are pictures of the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey refueling from a KC-135 boom to drogue adapter (BDA). These pictures were taken during flight testing and as of the date of this post the V-22 is not included in the ATP-56(B) refueling manual and therefore is not allowed to be refueled.
The boom to drogue adapter replaces the fuel nozzle on the tip of the boom and is attached to a 10′ internally stiffened hose that terminates in a conical drogue. The drogue and hose are not retracted inside the boom and therefore always hang out from the end of the boom. This unusual configuration often draws the attention of other aircraft and ground controllers when KC-135s operate from civilian airfields. During use, the boom is fully extended to 20 feet so that the fuel pressure in the boom does not cause it to extend.
This F-105D Thunderchief has both a probe for probe and drogue refueling and a receptacle for boom refueling.
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