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In Flight Refuelling

PMN1

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This idea was proved pre WW2 but for some reason doesn't seem to have been considered for use in extending the range of LRMP aircraft.

What method was used, my reading of it is that the tanker trailed a hose (with a drogue to prevent wild movements) and the receiving aircraft caught this with a grapple and pulled it in.

Am I right in saying the method used today with a probe on the receiver aircraft and a trailing hose with a receiving drogue on the tanker was developed after WW2?
 

PMN1

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GTX said:

Yes, thats one of the sites i've seen and it does seem to suggest pre WW2, it was hose and grapple.

It doesn't however explain why IFR wasn't used in the Battle of the Atlantic, given the limited number of aircraft needed, you shouldn't have needed too many tankers especialy if you were just topping up after a climb to altitude.

Would have also bee useful in 9 and 617 sqds ops agianst the Tirpitz.
 

starviking

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PMN1 said:
GTX said:

Yes, thats one of the sites i've seen and it does seem to suggest pre WW2, it was hose and grapple.

It doesn't however explain why IFR wasn't used in the Battle of the Atlantic, given the limited number of aircraft needed, you shouldn't have needed too many tankers especialy if you were just topping up after a climb to altitude.

Would have also bee useful in 9 and 617 sqds ops agianst the Tirpitz.

Could there have been a problem locating the tanker with WW2 tech? I'd guess that over the featureless ocean it could be difficult.

Also, weren't the WW2 Maritime Patrol Aircraft operating near the limits of their crews? Muscle-powered controls, no climate control, noisy environment...

You could add a relief crew, but given the manning levels of those aircraft you'd need a lot of extra space - which would mean a new design.

Starviking
 

PMN1

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starviking said:
Could there have been a problem locating the tanker with WW2 tech? I'd guess that over the featureless ocean it could be difficult.


Starviking

Possibly but the patrol aircraft themselves managed to find the convoys so i'd say the tankers could do the same.
 

elmayerle

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I'd say the biggest problem pre-WW2 would've been that you appear need a crew member to receive the hose after grappling it and connect it to the fuel system. It could be argued that the big advance, first with probe and drogue and later with the flying boom, was to eliminate that need.
 

starviking

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PMN1 said:
starviking said:
Could there have been a problem locating the tanker with WW2 tech? I'd guess that over the featureless ocean it could be difficult.


Starviking

Possibly but the patrol aircraft themselves managed to find the convoys so i'd say the tankers could do the same.

I'm not so sure about that. With the convoys they have slow moving 'targets', an area they're likely to be in and an eagles-eye view.

With an air-to-air refueling a/c they have a fast-moving target, a much bigger area they're likely to be in (speed adds to the uncertainty), and they can be above, below, or at a similar altitude to the MPA.

Actually when did air-to-air refueling come to the fore? Late 50's early 60's? I remember Supermarine Scimitars being used to buddy refuel Buccaneers, but they were launched on the same track...

Starviking
 

elmayerle

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Ait-to-air refueling first started to be used operationally in the very late 40's or early 50's. With the USAF, some of the earliest tankers were KB-29s.
 

Sundog

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IIRC, the first A2A refueling of the probe and drogue system took place between a Lancaster tanker and a Meteor.
 

Robert Hilton

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Sundog said:
IIRC, the first A2A refueling of the probe and drogue system took place between a Lancaster tanker and a Meteor.
That is correct, the system was pioneered by the company Flight refuelling in response to a claim Sir Alan Cobham made to the USAF that they were developing for jet aircraft (they weren't at the time and it took a fair bit of midnight oil to produce the system in time).
 

phil gollin

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There is a recently published book “History of Air-to-Air Refuelling” (which isn’t what it says, but is really a TECHNICAL history of Flight Refuelling Limited).

Here is a summary of what it says about the Tiger Force Lancasters and flight refuelling (there are pages and pages of technical drawings and explanations showing how the system worked) from pages 24 to 34. It covers a lot about the pre- and early-war work by Flight Refuelling Limited, but the following is only really about work associated with the far-east war :-

In 1942 the US Army Air Corps placed an order for a set of tanker and receiver equipment for a B-24 tanker and B-17 receiver aircraft. These conversions were complete and flight trials commenced in April 1943. The B-17’s range being “increased to 5,800 miles with full bomb load”. It was planned to take off from the Aleutians and land in China. These plans seem to have come to naught because of the time required to convert the aircraft and train crews and the coming of the B-29.

In the “latter part of 1943” there were plans made for the RAF to bomb Japan from bases in Burma. By 1944 it was decided that these were to be Lancasters equipped with the pre-war looped hose system (as were the B-17 and B-24). In January 1944 three different designs had been prepared, the third of which was adopted. In this the hose-drum and equipment was placed towards the front of the aircraft and the fuel supply consisted of two 640 imperial gallon (2,880 litres) tanks in the bomb bay.

50 sets of equipment were ordered for development and training. It was then intended to convert a total of 500 tanker and receiver aircraft to mount the long-range operations.

Originally the force was to be called “The Long-Ranged Force”

The prototype tanker (PB.972) and receiver (ND.648) aircraft had both been successfully flown by November 1944.

Not only were the two bomb bay tanks available, but also the Port and Starboard Inboard wing tanks (580 gallons [2,880 litres] in each)

The average fuel transfer rate was “better than100 imperial gallons (450 litres) per minute”.

AND;

“The trials for the Tiger Force operation were carried out with the prototype Lancaster tanker PB.972 and receiver ND.648, using the equipment described, and it proved that refuelling could be carried out at an indicated airspeed of 160 mph at any reasonable altitude, over or in cloud and at night, there being no difficulty in illuminating the receiver’s hauling cable.

Then, due to ”progress made in the Pacific Theatre” the whole programme of the Tiger Force was cancelled.

-------------------

The book later (page 39) states that post war that it supplied the US with sufficient equipment to convert 92 KB-29M aircraft to tankers and seventy-four B-29s and fifty-seven B-50As to receivers and implies that the 43rd Air Refuelling Squadron used this equipment in achieving their air-refuelled non-stop around-the-world flight between 26th February and 2nd March 1948 (???)
 

Michel Van

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the German had also experiment with In Flight Refuelling

Felix Kracht had The Idea for In Flight connects Airplane (late also Refuelling concept)
Kracht had Idea that Bombers pull their Fighter with them.
before Target they uncouple and the Fighter attack the enemy interceptor.

Late they had Idea
a Ju 390 V-1 refuel by a Ju 290
to increase range from 4740 km op to 10700 km

the DFS (Deutsche Forschunginstitutes für Segelflug E.V.)
1942 make Experiment with Focker Wulf FW 58 and JU 52 as "Tractor"
1943 DFS start Experiment with Fuel Transfer between couple Aircraft.

12 November 1943 a Ju 290 and another Ju 290 made first Fuel Transfer.
they made The Test until 1944 then was forbitten because of lack of gasoline

Source:
Geheimprojekte der DFS
Horst Lommel
Motorbuch verlag 2000
ISBN 3-613-02072-6
only in German Language
 

Antonio

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More info about German WWII research on flight refuelling on:

Luftwaffe over America by Manfred Griehl

http://www.amazon.com/Luftwaffe-over-America-Secret-United/dp/185367608X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-5848612-3323847?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1190316097&sr=1-1

Drawings on pages 218 and 219
 
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