Skip to comments.[Photo] French Rafale damages Refueling Probe while taking fuel from U.S. KC-135 tanker over Mali
Posted on 05/22/2014 8:51:19 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
A U.S. Air Force KC-135 and French Rafale involved in an mid-air emergency over Mali.
Taken from a 100th ARW (Air Refueling Wing) KC-135 Stratotanker during what seemed to be (at least until then) a routine aerial refueling mission in support of Operation Serval, in Mali, the above image shows a French Air Force Rafale jet breaking to the left to separate from the tanker after the tip of IFR (In Flight Refueling) probe was severely damaged.
According to the Escadron de chasse 01.091 Gascogne, who posted the image, the aircraft, with full load of weapons, was refueling from the U.S. tanker in turbulent air due to an intertropical front.
A sudden and violent oscillation impossible for the pilot to compensate, forced the Rafale to disconnect from the tankers refueling hose causing a cloud of fuel to surround the cockpit and the basket to hit the probe of the receiver, damaging it.
As a consequence, the Rafale immediately separated from the tanker and, unable to return to NDjamena, it proceeded to the nearest divert field, where it safely landed.
Just in case you thought that AAR operations are just routine
Will France pay for the damage?
Ain’t nothin’ routine about disobeying the rule of gravity. Mother Nature insists.
We will get blamed for it and on top of that another “jihad/fatwa” will be issued on US “just because”
Actually this happens more often than we are told, I use to ride shotgun in KC-130’s that refueled F/A-18s off Norfolk and we would hit a pocket of very warm air, it was a ride from hell. This one will be wrote off as a act of GOD and the plane repair.
Life happens. Then you die.
Good photo, but these damages have been happening since the late 40’s in many thousands of refueling screwups. It is why you refuel BEFORE you run out of alternate bases!
Good! A plan....
Hmmmn. It’s refueling drogue on KC-135? Though they had the flying probe only.
Somebody have a bad photo ID or did the Air Force start stringing drogues as well?
I’ve seen several videos of probe & drogue re-fueling accidents, but never an incident involving a re-fueling boom.
Zut Alors! Débrayer .... grandes boules de feu!
Navy use to have them all the time especially with the old A-6, which in most caes the boom was throw away anyway. The plane crew would replace one of these probes overnight and have the A-6 back up in a day or two same thing with the A-4 too.
Heya TBM...I remember working on those damned D704 (if I remember correctly) buddy stores...
Sometimes the basket would get pretty banged up and we had to replace it (can’t remember now if we had to replace the whole hose)
But when they were just a little dinged up, they kept using them (this was, of course, back in the Seventies) and one day I remember a pilot griping after he landed that the basket was dinged up enough to make it travel tiny, erratic figure-eights, which made mating a bit...tricky!
And the canopies used to get banged and scratched pretty good on occasion. One time, we had a canopy that was scratched and had to be replaced, but instead of just pulling it off, they did a little exercise instead.
They put a fully equipped pilot with mask and helmet on, visor down. They taped off the inside of the cockpit with sheets, then closed and latched the canopy.
They used a stopwatch, and timed how long it took the pilot to pull out his survival knife, punch it through the canopy, unhook and climb out of the plane onto a elevated platform.
I remember being extremely skeptical about punching through that plexiglass canopy with that knife, but he just wrapped both hands around the handle, thrust upwards and it went right through the canopy. He did a few more, then began sawing away with the serrated edge.
I can’t remember how long it took, but I was extremely impressed. Then it made sense to my why it was so easy to eject through the canopy with one of those seats where the knockers on each side would snap upwards in an instant and break the canopy to pieces when the ejection handle was pulled.
You gotta watch out for those intertropical fronts.
KC-135s have been doing drogue and probe tanking for a long time. They used to use a short hose and a really hard basket. The receiver had to bend the short hose to open two knuckle joints. In the late 90’s a wing mounted long hose/reel pod was introduced. Much easier to keep the fuel flowing, but depending on the aircraft you sometimes end up flying in the wingtip vortex.
That short hose would be attached to the boom.
We called that the Iron Maiden. Easy to plug, but then the fun starts.
The hose in the source article looks like a wing pod because of the long hose.
About 20 KC-135R have wing mounted refueling pods.
I’m trying to figure out...from where was the picture taken?
Probably through the boom-operator’s window.
My Windows 8 wonder won’t open the site....can someone repost the pictures!!!
The are designed to break off if put under to much stress. Use to replace them on a lot of Marine Jets.
The drogue is attached to the end of the probe for Jets that still use a fuel probe.
No they can fit the drogue system to the end of the boom
left observation window on the 135, I am guessing