Helicopter In-flight refueling

Discussion in 'Post-War' started by Graeme, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    The caption that came with this photo explains that these Wessex helicopters were performing in-flight refueling at the 1964 Farnborough display.
    You can just make out the drogue at the bottom of the loop. How would they have made the connection in flight? as both hoses appear flexible.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. wilbur1

    wilbur1 Active Member

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    Hmmmm. got me. maybe dragged a lighter cord behind for tether?
     
  3. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    More than likely it is no different than when helicopters do inflight refueling today, just a slightly different set up.

    The lead aircraft is travelling at a speed fast eneogh to make the drouge extend past the aircraft the other aircraft flies up behind it and connects to the drouge and refueling commenses.

    This hose is probably just so laxed and hanging so far down because both aircraft slowed down.

    Again I am not sure though.
     
  4. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    It could be that the recipient rotorcraft has its receptacle on a reel to minimize a rotor strike.
     
  5. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    There is definitely a cone drogue on the leading Wessex's hose, just visible at the bottom of the loop. In flight I reckon that they would look something like this. (please excuse my 'cut and paste' diagram)

    [​IMG]

    Unlike the Sea Stallion, there is no protruding refueling probe beyond the rotor arc of the receiving Wessex.
    All of my googling only reveals that the Wessex was capable of refueling in flight by hovering above a Navy ship and dropping a refueling line down.
    I'm thinking that they hooked together on the ground and then took off..just for the Farnborough audience?
     
  6. Glider

    Glider Well-Known Member

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    I admit that I have never heard or seen this type of refueling, so can only assume that it wasn't standard.
    In the RN we used to refuel Sea Kings from frigates that were too small to land on and also change crews at the same time. This allowed the Sea King to spend a considerable time away from the mother ship, way beyond normal range limits.
     
  7. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Our CH-53's have teh capability of refueling each other. If they inflight it is normally done from a KC-130 however.
     
  8. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    What is not apparent is that there may be aerodynamic surfaces in the receiving "chute". These surfaces could be use to offset the drogue-chute attachment off-axis. Or perhaps the drogue is reeled out enough that a connection could be made by the recipient rotorcraft and, once a connection is made, an unreeling from the recipient rotorcraft to prevent a rotorstrike.

    There are so many scenarios that one can't fathom what the engineering might be for the picture. Multiple scenarios are possible.
     
  9. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    While looking into the history of the Wessex, I came across this photo. Changing an oleo on a Wessex in the hover position, on HMS Bulwark, 1972. Would this type of maintenance? procedure break all safety protocols today? or is it still common practice with modern helicopters?

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Oh c'mon Graeme. Surely it would. They would normally put a hard cover over the turbine exhaust, of course. :shock:
     
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