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Lightning refuelling probe question for WIWOLs

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Lightning refuelling probe question for WIWOLs

Old 10th Dec 2018, 03:57
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Lightning refuelling probe question for WIWOLs

I was recently watching a video about Lightnings and I noticed that the refuelling probe under the port wing complicated the pilot's climb up the cockpit ladder. He had to wriggle under it.

Why wasn't the probe placed on the starboard side?
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Old 10th Dec 2018, 12:05
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That's a very good question, but if memory serves it had something to do with the positioning of the main gallery piping. It was a retro fit after the F1A.

But I never had to wriggle beneath it.

It's further from the fuselage than you think.

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Old 10th Dec 2018, 12:49
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It must be unnoticeable.

I was flying a Valiant tanker in the early days when Wattisham's Lightnings were doing their first refuelling training. No1 did his practice engagements and then took a couple of thousand of fuel. His No2 came astern and there was a long period of inactivity. There than came a bleat from the No2.

"You'll never believe this; I've brought up an aircraft without a probe." Followed by a mad dash to get to Coltishall before it went quiet.

His original aircraft had gone u/s so he had rushed into the line with a 'give us another one, Chief' and got one which wasn't fitted with a probe.
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Old 10th Dec 2018, 13:00
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You couldn't see the probe from the cockpit when tanking.

Worst still during closing with the tanker the basket would swing outwards as it encountered the airflow around the Lightning but then, out of sight, it would swing back in again.

You had to hold the jet very steady indeed to be sure of a contact, in addition to faith.

Still, watching the fuel gauge readings increasing was an absolute joy.
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Old 10th Dec 2018, 13:35
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And this was not the way to come home after a refuelling trip....

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Old 10th Dec 2018, 14:15
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8th Dec 1964. Carrying out refuelling training on the racetrack with Leconfield Lightnings. Drogue come unscrewed and deposits itself on Lightening probe. Lightning loses at least one engine owing to fuel ingestion and darts off to relight it and return to Leconfield. We ventilate the bomb bay for twenty minutes before closing up and returning to Marham. When we landed Valiant Tanker operations ceased.

The Lightning had it's own problem. The Valiant's basket was a good deal heavier and more solid than the illustration. It caused all sorts of problems when landing as it prevented the aircraft lining up properly but he managed in the end.
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Old 10th Dec 2018, 15:06
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Why wasn't the probe placed on the starboard side?
I too do not know the reason why but it was a godsend if you needed to get in if there was no boarding ladder available. The technique involved running towards the aircraft, grabbing the probe and, with the momentum, swinging your feet up onto the missile pylon. From there it was relatively easy to get to the cockpit via the wing leading edge.
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Old 10th Dec 2018, 19:32
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That was subsequently banned.
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Old 10th Dec 2018, 23:52
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I was recently watching a video about Lightnings and I noticed that the refuelling probe under the port wing complicated the pilot's climb up the cockpit ladder. He had to wriggle under it.
This is the video in question. Watch at 44:30:

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Old 11th Dec 2018, 15:17
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No matter what its boarding and refueling quirks, I love the lines of the English Electric Lightning! Just sitting still on the apron, she speaks of sparkling speed and unbridled power. Like the single-engine Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, the Lightning truly was "a missile with a man in it"! I wish I had one parked in our garage...

- Ed
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Old 11th Dec 2018, 15:30
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And I first flew it when I was 21.
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Old 21st Dec 2018, 09:31
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Me too dook! My very first tanking sortie, the guy leading it explained the proceedure in the briefing. Told me about the pod and it’s lights and how not to look at the basket! Away we went to join the tanker! He sat behind me to watch and all he said was “ Three o’clock” when I missed the first time! Attacked it again and the call was “Six o’clock”. Next attempt, connected and started to refuel! In later years one had to do a course at Marham before you were allowed anywhere near a tanker! And they call it progress!
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Old 5th Sep 2021, 10:18
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Was the probe speed limited? Could it do the high mach numbers? Was it more of a ferry thing?
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Old 5th Sep 2021, 10:19
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Was the probe speed limited? Could it do the high mach numbers? Was it more of a ferry thing?
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Old 5th Sep 2021, 13:32
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According to the FRCs that I have at Issue 2 the limit was 2.0M/650 knots clean and 2.0M/625 knots with AAR probe. My memory is that we were limited in the 60's to 2.0M/525 knots. Anyone remember this?
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Old 5th Sep 2021, 15:24
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525 knots it was, maybe higher than that in the very early days before anyone noticed how the probe could move around at speed.
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Old 5th Sep 2021, 16:29
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Certainly 525kts in my day. I seem to remember some intercept profiles were called 525 Fast or 525 Slow but canít for the life in me recall the nuts and bolts of these profiles.
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