Air Refueling Archive

Huge Collection of Air Refueling Pictures

First KC-30A boom refuelling with an E-7A over Iraq

RAAF KC-30A Boom Operator Station Remote Vision

KC-30A E-7AAirbus KC-30A Remote Vision SystemThe KC-30A features a remote vision system consisting of 3D cameras and panoramic cameras. The operator wears polarized glasses in order to see the 3D screen. An advanced user interface provides the operator with all information in an easy to understand format.

October 30, 2015 Posted by | 2010s, Boom Operator, E-7A, KC-30, Video | , , , | Leave a comment

F-105 with both probe and receptacle

This F-105D Thunderchief has both a probe for probe and drogue refueling and a receptacle for boom refueling.

\F-105 probe and drogue receptacle

Close up view of the F-105 Thunderchief's refueling probe.

F-105 probe and drogue receptacle

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January 20, 2011 Posted by | 1960s, Boom Pod View, F-105, KC-135, Probe/Drogue | , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Airbus A330 Tanker Boom

The fly-by-wire boom allows refueling at altitudes up to 35,000 ft and speeds of 180-325 knots, Airbus says, adding that the fuel transfer rate is up to 1,200 US gal/min (4,500 l/min) at 50 psi. Fully extended, the boom measures 17 meters in length.

A F-16 sits in contact behind an Airbus A330 MRTT. The ruddevators appear to form a more acute angle than those of the KC-135. Also to be noted are the fences on the ruddevators and vortex generators on the boom fairing. Otherwise this is a very familiar sight  to KC-135 boom operators.

This image is 1920×1080 pixels and may be an indication of the fidelity that can be expected from the remote viewing system.

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May 5, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, A330, Boom Pod View, F-16, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

KC-135 Boom

KC-135 Boom

A KC-135's boom is lowered and extended for maintenance.

This is a nice picture that shows a closeup of the KC-135’s boom. In this picture the boom is not fully extended and still has approximately 6′ before it reaches full extension. The colorful marking on the boom give the receiver crew a visual indication of the extension of the boom. During night operations the markings are illuminated by ultraviolet lamps that causes them to fluoresce.

Image Source:

Daniel P.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | 2000s, KC-135R | , , | 3 Comments

KC-10 Boom Nozzle vs. KC-135 Boom Nozzle

KC-10 Boom Nozzle. Click image to enlarge.

KC-10 Boom Nozzle. Click image to enlarge.

KC-135 Boom Nozzle. Click image to enlarge.

KC-135 Boom Nozzle. Click image to enlarge.

Shown here are the nozzles of the KC-10 and of the KC-135. The nozzle mates to the air refueling receptacle installed on the receiver aircraft. The nozzle incorporates a ball joint swivel and a universal joint. These two items provide flexibility to the nozzle assembly that is required when making contact and when the tanker and receiver are hooked up. The universal joint is used to transmit impact loads through the nozzle assembly to the shock absorber recoil assembly. The nozzle assembly is approximately two feet long.

A spring-activated check valve, referred to as the poppet valve, forms the fuel seal in the aft end of the nozzle when not in contact. The poppet valve is automatically depressed during the coupling operations by the receiver’s receptacle assembly. The spring in the poppet valve assembly, coupled with fuel pressure, exerts sufficient force on the poppet valve to close it rapidly, which results in very little fuel spillage. The resultant surges in fuel pressure are absorbed by the rubber surge boots.

The boom nozzle incorporates an induction coil at the 6 o’clock position that allows the tanker and receiver air refueling signal systems to transmit contact and disconnect signals. The induction coil also allows the two aircraft to share interphone communications.

At the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock position on the nozzle are detents that the receiver’s latch toggles engage when contact is established. The detents on KC-10 nozzle can be retracted (IDS), this allows the tanker to disconnect from the receiver even if the receiver’s air refueling system malfunctions. The independent disconnect system (IDS) is an electrically controlled, pneumatically actuated system located in the nozzle assembly. Pneumatic pressure is supplied from a compressed air reservoir mounted on the telescope tube. The IDS is operated by depressing the disconnect switch through the second detent. When the system is activate, pneumatic pressure reacts the toggle latches on each side of the nozzle to a flush position. This allows the boom to be retracted from the receiver aircraft while its toggles are in the latched/extended position. The toggle latches have a holding circuit installed that retains them in the retracted position after IDS actuation, until the RESET TO READY button is pushed.

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May 19, 2009 Posted by | 2000s, KC-10, KC-135 | , , , | 2 Comments