Welcome to the sixty-third episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast! I’m your host Mark Hasara, retired KC-135 pilot and veteran of four wars.
On Tuesday 27 June 2023, the Air Force celebrated a 100-year anniversary. On 27 June 1923 was an event making aviation history! For the first time, fuel was transferred from one DeHavilland DH-4B Biplane to another DH-4B Biplane flown by Captain Lowell Smith and 1Lt John Richter over Rockwell Field on North Island near San Diego California. 1Lt Virgil Hine and 1Lt Frank Siefert flew the DH-4B tanker which John Richter had reconfigured with a 40-foot hose. Air Mobility Command celebrated the centennial of air refueling with Operation Centennial Contact, KC-10, KC-46, and KC-135 tankers flying over all fifty states passing gas to receivers.
This episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit podcast is supported by Wall Pilot, custom aviation art for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. Over one hundred sixty extremely detailed Ready-to-Print aircraft profiles are available in four, six, and eight-foot-long graphics, reproduced on vinyl you can peel off and stick t any flat surface. Wall Pilot will also create your favorite airplanes in custom profiles with your name, unit, tail codes, and weapons load. Wall Pilot even did a thirty-footer for one customer. Go to www.wallpilot.com and purchase one or two of these incredible prints.
The KB-50J tanker was Tactical Air Command’s front-line tanker for many years, based on the B-50 bomber airframe. This 420th Air Refueling Squadron KB-50J stationed in the United Kingdom refueled US Air Forces Europe and tactical fighters based throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The Young Tiger Tanker Task Force flew missions supporting air operations over North Vietnam employing KC-135s stationed in Japan. The 909th Air Refueling Squadron has been stationed on the island of Okinawa for decades, flying the KC-135A “Water Wagons” with the J-57 water-injected engines. Upgrading in 1991 to the KC-135R Model with the much more powerful CFM56 turbofan engines, the Young Tiger Tanker Squadron flew missions all over the Pacific Rim.
KC-10A Extender has flown with the 60th Air Mobility Wing from Travis Air Force Base since the early-1990s after moving from March Field in southern California. This KC-10A is assigned to the 9th Air Refueling Squadron and is available in the Ready-to-Print section of Wall Pilot’s website.
The United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force purchased the Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport as has many other nation’s Air Forces such as the Royal Saudi Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force. This A330 Voyager MRTT flies with the RAF’s 10 Squadron out of RAF Brize-Norton airfield.