Re: Air Force Aerial Refueling Methods: Flying Boom versus Hose-and-Drogue

Ed Rasimus wrote:

On Sat, 01 Jul 2006 08:38:55 GMT, Guy Alcala
<g_alcala@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Ed Rasimus wrote:


Ed, you only did that on a KC-135, right? If so, I submit that your sole drogue
experience is with the drogue universally acknowledged (by those with experience
of 'real' hose and drogues) to be the worst piece of shit ever to be stuck on a
tanker. Grabbing the first account to hand, John Trotti's ("Phantom over

I didn't say it was good, just that it was the hardest thing I ever
tried to do. I really don't relate it to the installation on the
tanker. It should have been fairly straightforward since the boom
extended the drogue well below any turbulence off the tanker. I
attributed it to the short probe (retractable) on the F-105.

When flying with F-100F Weasels, I never noted them having anywhere
near the difficulty that we did in getting gas using their wing
mounted probe.

It would be interesting to see if any F-105 drivers had tanked from regular drogues
and what their experience was. AIUI, the problem with the KC-135 add-ons were two:
1. Lack of hose length (low inertia due to the lack of hose weight causing it to
bounce around a lot), and 2. The heavy metal fitting just forward of the drogue,
which (because of the wild flailing of the drogue due to item 1) was perfectly
capable of smashing the canopy and/or the pilot's head if it made contact. At least
the first was apparently a not-unknown occurrence, which is why many navy pilots seem
to have been actually afraid of the system.


Then you have to add in the effects of multi-point refueling into the mix. BTW,
did you ever have a tanker unable to pass you gas?


I've never been behind a multiple receiver capable tanker. I don't
think I'd be very comfortable knowing that someone else was just a few
feet off my wingtip, not looking at me and trying to chase a drogue.
Throw in night or weather and the inevitable "Murphy" factor of
someone forgetting which side to come off the hookup after topping off
and the picture gets pretty scary.

At least one account I've read, IIRR the flight lead puts his less-experienced
wingman on the left hose, because it's safer and more comfortable (because the pilot
can see both the hose, the tanker and the other fighter without turning his head a
lot), while the more experienced lead is on the right where the view is more
limited. Offhand I don't recall reading any problems as to who comes off which side
(back up to unkink the hose, then clear away from the tanker seems pretty
instinctive), but we've got several people here who can inform us otherwise if that's
the case.

Never had a tanker unable, but have heard of the situation. I relate a
personal screw-up story in Palace Cobra in which I got saved by an
emergency tanker and in that instance the controllers ran a second
tanker in two mile trail with the primary just to cover that

I've always assumed they would have a spare tanker per anchor.

It was somewhat common in the F-4 to have receptacle door problems
which could usually be cured by the boomer hammering to pop it open or
tap it closed.

Nothing like using an expensive, relatively high tech piece of equipment as a
hammer;-) I wonder if the KC-10s do that with what are presumably far more expensive
FBW booms?