KC-135 In-air Refueling Flight- 29 July, 2009

Great Thanks to all the folks at the 108th Refueling Wing at McGuire Air Force Base.

Prof. Nial McCabe (Mechanical Engineering), County College of Morris, Randolph, NJ

We saw a truly amazing display of the skill and technology of our U.S military.

~For full information on the NJANG 108th Refueling Wing, Please Click Here.~


A small group of us representing faculty, staff and students from New Jersey colleges were invited to ride along on a training mission for the 108th Refueling Wing. It was probably one of the most spectacular things I've ever done.


~Video~CLICK HERE to see an actual in-air refueling to an F-15~

The video also shows some neat footage of F-15s flying in close formation to our KC-135 and even some views of the Jersey Shore.


(Below) Not what you would normally see out the window of a big airplane.

Gassing up a two-place F-15 at about 22,000 foot altitude. I think that's North Carolina below.

Our "ride". A KC-135 Stratotanker. A 50 year old design somewhat related to the Boeing 707. Still serving well but probably should be retired.

All seats are "coach". But no was a great trip.

This is the "office" of the boom-operator. It's in the very rear of the plane under the tail. KC-135 boom operators lay flat on their stomachs after walking down two, steep steps. They look out a window (partly visible) and lay directly under the yellow cylinders (oxygen). Observers (like me) lay on the dark blue mat next to the operarator. There's another observer mat on the right side. This plane can re-fuel all USAF planes including C17s, C-130s, and even A10s. Many Navy and Marine aircraft require a different fuel boom and aren't compatible with the USAF setup. In newer KC-10 aircraft, boom operators sit in a chair.

"Front office". One member of our group got to sit in a center observer seat between the two pilots.

Group member laying on observer mat next to boom operator. The view is jaw-dropping!

I'm like a kid in a candy store. That is a "you-know-what" eating grin.

Great Thanks to Autumn Johnson for the next seven pictures. Excellent photography!

This picture taken at 425 MPH while there was a fighter jet off our left wing. Amazing.

One of two boom operators onboard. Both really neat guys and great to talk to. They make it look easy but it's a critical job that requires great skill. They work in all-weather conditions and 24/7.

F-15 "Eagle" (two-place version) carefully moving into position at over 400 MPH.

Fill it up with premium! (actually JP-4 jet fuel...the KC-135 can carry 32,000 gallons).

The photograph doesn't do this scene justice.

The next series of photographs speak for themsleves.

Slowing down and dropping altitude (note "brakes" raised).

Around Cap May, NJ

Atlantic City / Wildwood area of the Jersey Shore.

Ride over. About 3.5 hours. The time really flew by! (pun intended).

That's the window the boom operator looks out of. The "bulge" is the area where the boom operator lays while "flying" the boom. The fuel boom is in the "up" position on the right side of the picture.

The boom controlled by "ruddevator" control surfaces.


Links to Nial McCabe's Other Stuff

Click on the links below to view various web pages


~My "Sport".


~Video~Flyover County College of Morris in a 1946 Piper Cub J-3


~N. McCabe Engineering Technology Curriculum Project involving project-based model steam engine plans.

~(as of late-2008, this page has about 1.2 million "hits")


~N. McCabe #909 Austin-Healey Sprite vintage racer and #909 Escort GT club racer.


~ ~ ~ Our Gang