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F-16XL Aerial Refueling

Old Viper Tester

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Refueling F-16XL #2, 75-0747, assigned to the F-16XL Combined Test Force (CTF), 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. The KC-10A was out of March AFB. This event taking place at dusk over the Sierra Nevada foothills, March 1983.


XL-2 in pre-contact position, waiting for clearance from the "boomer". I can still hear the boomer softly singing "Boom Operator" to the tune of "Smooth Operator" during this event.

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Taking fuel, couldn't see the boom from my position in the boom operator's station.

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This image was used in the CTF to emphasize the "C" stood for "Combined". The pilots wear the patches of AF Systems Command and Tactical Air Command. Other players in the CTF were AF Operational Test Center, General Dynamics, Pratt & Whitney, and General Electric.

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Disconnect from the boom as the sun gets lower.

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Thanks for looking,


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Magic, those aren't the sort of photos you see every day, thanks Keith. A2A refueling, be it boom style or probe & drogue has long struck me as a severely challenging manoeuvre. The fact that guys & girls do it many times a day with very few mishaps is a credit to the training on both ends or the connection


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16 hours ago, whiskey said:

Were you ever part of the program Sven?

I worked for the first year and a half of the flight test program as a performance and flying qualities flight test engineer. Most of the time, the two-seater was flown with two pilots in the early days, but I did get about 25 flying hours in the XL-2 RCP before leaving the program for A-10s.



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Even more fascinating details. Little tidbits of aviation history from the crews that were there are the best stories ever. You're pictures say so much but I'm sure I wouldn't be alone in asking for more stories to read about. Thanks again Sven.

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