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KC135 tug?

Old 23rd Oct 2020, 15:30
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KC135 tug?

I have recently seen a programme on television on the KC135 during which an account was made of a KC!35 towing an F4 that had had an engine failure during an Atlantic crossing and was unable to maintain height. According to the programme the F4 was plugged into the boom and then towed to landfall and a suitable airfield.
Does the KC135 boom have the facility to lock into the receiver's refuelling receptacle with such strength that it can tow an F4? If so how does a receiver normally break contact? I assume too that there is some form of weak link in the boom assembly to protect the tanker whichmust make towing a delicate manoeuvre. The other somewhat surprising mention in this account was that this F4 (J79 powered) could not maintain height even at 3000' on a single engine and had to be eased back up to 6000' as part of the tow. Most of my F4 time was on the Spey-engined variants where this definitely was not an issue and I don't recall it being an issue from my time on a J79 variant. In fairness this account did not elaborate on the nature of the emergency other than the single engine failure. I am not challenging the veracity of this story but I am very curious as to how it waa achieved mechanically.
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 15:44
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Not an F4 but the mechanics must be the same:

https://theaviationgeekclub.com/time-kc-135-tanker-towed-badly-damaged-f-111-fighter-bomber-skies-vietnam/ ]Tanker Tow

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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 15:46
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I have recently seen a programme on television on the KC135 during which an account was made of a KC!35 towing an F4 that had had an engine failure during an Atlantic crossing and was unable to maintain height. According to the programme the F4 was plugged into the boom and then towed to landfall and a suitable airfield.
https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/th...par-1733187406

https://www.amc.af.mil/News/Features...e-vietnam-war/

Then, of course, there was Pardo's Push.....

https://www.historynet.com/pardos-pu...airmanship.htm


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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 16:38
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F4 story is here

https://tacairnet.com/2014/10/21/nor...-the-atlantic/
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 19:06
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I recall reading that if one engine was at least turning then a KC-135 could pull it for a while.

Canopy to tailhook has working. Nose in the tail pipe has worked. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Not quite the same, but I recall reading about a Mustang landing in a German field to pick up his partner who had parachuted safely. Not sure if that gets you a medal or a court martial...
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 19:28
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The tug story was just on Smithsonian's, Air Warriors prog about the 135. They tugged for 3 hours. The boomer got an award for the skill he showed, given the F4's attitude and handling issues.

CG
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Old 23rd Oct 2020, 21:56
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Originally Posted by LTCTerry View Post
I recall reading that if one engine was at least turning then a KC-135 could pull it for a while.

Canopy to tailhook has working. Nose in the tail pipe has worked. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Not quite the same, but I recall reading about a Mustang landing in a German field to pick up his partner who had parachuted safely. Not sure if that gets you a medal or a court martial...
Depends on whether you get away with it and whether your boss likes you!
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 01:33
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Originally Posted by charliegolf View Post
The boomer got an award for the skill he showed, given the F4's attitude and handling issues.
I think my attitude would be pretty good if that Boeing was helping get home!
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 09:07
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Thank you all for your replies but my main question 'Does the KC135 boom have the facility to lock into the receiver's refuelling receptacle?' remains unanswered. I assume that this facility must exist in some form in order to be able to tow but surely there must be some form of weak link in the boom assembly to protect the boom assembly (and the tanker) if the load becomes excessive. Clearly this facility is one advantage over the probe/drogue system. .
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 09:52
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Originally Posted by nipva View Post
Thank you all for your replies but my main question 'Does the KC135 boom have the facility to lock into the receiver's refuelling receptacle?' remains unanswered. I assume that this facility must exist in some form in order to be able to tow but surely there must be some form of weak link in the boom assembly to protect the boom assembly (and the tanker) if the load becomes excessive. Clearly this facility is one advantage over the probe/drogue system. .
Hi nipva. Yes, the boom is locked into the receiving receptacle. This is done by a hydraulically powered mechanism. And yes, there is a frangible link in the boom that will break. There are many stories of the end being left behind in the receptacle. The receiving aircraft I have worked with also have a system to force boom ejection if refuel pressure is excessive. I think around 75psi.

I don’t think the locking mechanism was ever intended to support towing an aircraft though.
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 10:10
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The link to the 135 operating in Vietnam has this quote.

"We have a thing that we do called locking the toggles," said Hickman. "When you lock the toggles on a receiver you can actually tow him. So we did that, and kept giving him fuel."
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 12:51
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Section 8.2.6 and section 8.4 in toto.

https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/AD1048313.pdf

AERIAL REFUELING SYSTEMS ADVISORY GROUP

Guidance document

Aerial Refueling Boom/Receptacle

8.2.6 Toggle Latches.

The receptacle cavity should be equipped with actuated toggle latches are specified in ATP- 3.3.4.5 paragraph 1.19 and ATP-3.3.4.5 D (D-3) to hold the boom in the locked position during aerial refueling. The toggle latches should function as required in paragraph 8.4 below.

8.4 Receptacle/UARRSI Toggle Latches

8.4.1 Toggle Latch Response Time. The toggle latches should latch or unlatch as specified in ATP-3.3.4.5 paragraph 1.19, item 5.d.

8.4.2 Tension Disconnect. The latch actuator should contain an integral relief mechanism to permit disconnects by forcing the latches open. The latch mechanism should hold the boom nozzle in the locked-in position as specified in ATP- 3.3.4.5 paragraph 1.19, item 5.

8.4.3 Toggles Spring Loaded Open. The receptacle toggle latches should be spring loaded to the open position in the event of toggle shaft breakage or loss of actuation power as specified in ATP-3.3.4.5 paragraph 1.19, item 5.c(1).

8.4.4 Toggle Shaft Structural Fuse. The toggle shafts should break under a tension force, produced by the tanker boom on disconnect as specified in ATP-3.3.4.5 paragraph 1.19, item 5.c.(2).

8.4.5 Operator Initiated Normal/Override. The tanker/receiver aircraft should be provided normal and override modes for latched and disconnect modes of the system.

You can buy a copy of ATP-3.3.4.5 (Stanag 7191) from the link below for $10

https://www.techstreet.com/standards...uct_id=1983202
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Old 24th Oct 2020, 13:25
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Originally Posted by LTCTerry View Post
I recall reading that if one engine was at least turning then a KC-135 could pull it for a while.

Canopy to tailhook has working. Nose in the tail pipe has worked. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Not quite the same, but I recall reading about a Mustang landing in a German field to pick up his partner who had parachuted safely. Not sure if that gets you a medal or a court martial...
In March 1966, more than 2,000 troops of the NVA 95th Regiment, 325th Division, came down the trail to besiege a platoon of Green Berets and several hundred South Vietnamese in the A Shau Valley, near the Laotian border. Diving into the mountains surrounding the base, one pilot said, “was like flying inside Yankee Stadium with the people in the bleachers firing at you with machine guns.” During a March 10 attack on the NVA, Skyraider pilot Maj. Dafford W. “Jump” Myers of the 602nd Fighter Squadron (Commando) radioed, “I’ve been hit and hit hard.” He crash-landed his blazing Spad on the base airstrip. With enemy troops within 20 yards of Myers’ position and the nearest rescue chopper 30 minutes out, Maj. Bernard F. “Bernie” Fisher, an A-1E pilot of the 1st Air Commando Squadron out of Pleiku, told everyone, “I’m going in.”

The runway was so littered with battle trash that Fisher had to abort his first approach. On his second try he stopped at the end of the strip and rolled back to Myers, peppered with small-arms fire all the way. “The enemy was so close,” Fisher noted, “I was afraid a couple of them might jump aboard my Skyraider before Myers could make it.” The prop wash from Fisher’s Spad blew Myers off the plane’s wing. Fisher throttled back to idle, dragged Myers headfirst into the side seat, then revved up and rolled, dodging debris to get airborne. They landed at Pleiku with 19 holes in the Skyraider. Fisher received the Medal of Honor for his heroics. His Skyraider is at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
https://www.militarytimes.com/off-du...ps-in-vietnam/
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Old 25th Oct 2020, 09:44
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Thanks S-D. got there eventually!
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