Copilot KC-135R Block 40 Training

As I’m rambling on, Are there any questions or requests?


  1. Can you relate your experiences to any flight sims? Falcon 4.0, DCS
    World, etc.? e.g., how realistic is the aerial refueling process in
    these sims? What’s done right? What could be done better?

  2. How is the airspeed/altitude set for a refueling? Based on aircraft
    type? Frag? Refueling pilot request?

  3. Can you share some terminology with us? “Cold nose”, for example, refers to an aircraft turning off their radar, a requirement before tanking, I believe.

  1. While you are doing your training - are you also conducting air-to-air refueling operations too? I’d assume its pretty expensive to just drive around a KC-135 without doing simultaneous training with aircraft needing to practice refueling.

  2. During air-to-air refueling ops…are you hand flying or on the autopilot?

Thanks for sharing - it’s very interesting!


I’ve done A/R in DCS World using A-10 and it seems most of terminology is correct. But right now I can’t relate since I’ve only done paint parallel and in-route while DCS simulates RV-Alpha only.
What can be done to make it better? …a lot. I’ll try to talk about it little bit later.

US and its allies got together and created a refueling guidance so that everyone is on the same page. In that document (ATP-56B…goggalable) it describes most of refueling procedures which include airspeed and types of rendezvous. So when CONUS mission dictate that receiver needs fuel, they select most conveniently aligned track. Here’s what google found for tanker tracks over US. Each track is defined by another document that has waypoints, altitudes, frequencies and such.

I’m not going to comment on the way tanker is employed in overseas missions…sorry

You could page thought :wink: I’m playing with C-17s right now and I can’t think of any brevity words with those aircraft.

On a normal training profile, you taking off to a refueling track where you meet a C-17. There you practice A/R with autopilot on and off. Usually 5 minutes on / 5 minutes off. Then you do some emergency separations and then breakup and do landings. C-17 has 2 student pilots and a student load-master plus instructors for both. 135 will have 2 student pilots and student boom with their own instructors. Each pilot usually needs 5 on and 5 off. So training missions are busy and there isn’t much lull of nothingness since instructors will always find something to do.

What a great thread. Thanks for sharing you experience.

   In order to practice for my next flight, I wanted to improve my pattern pacing so I loaded up DCS with Mig-15BIS and just kept doing touch and goes while pulling closed pattern all while practicing crew brief and responses to the checklist. After over half a hour session, crew brief sounds nice and pacing in dialed in.  
      A typical close pattern in 135 is done with 20 degree flaps; 
 After liftoff with positive climb call for a gear up and pull back power since those engines are very powerful.  Once ATC clears you for closed pattern, good airspeed (~180 kias) and at least 400 agl, start 30 degree bank turn while climbing to a pattern altitude.  Start "Approach and landing" checklist up to gear.  Midfield to approach end configure aircraft with 30 flaps and gear down. Continue checklist to step 9. When 45 degrees to approach end - call for "flaps 40" and start 30 degree bank descending turn (700-1000 vvi).   Your aircraft should roll out about 2 miles in front of the runway.


  1. Approach Procedures & Equipment − Review and set (P, CP, N, BO)
  2. Speed Brakes − 0 degrees (P)
  3. RGA Power & Speed Deviation Switches − ON (CP)
  4. Altimeters − Set, if required (P, CP, N)
  5. Gear − DOWN; three down and checked (P, CP)
  6. Antiskid System − Four REL (P)
  7. Hydraulic Systems − Checked (P, CP)
  8. Fuel Panel − Set for landing (P, CP)
  9. EFAS & SYD Switches − ON, lights out (P)
  10. Flaps − Set for landing (P, CP)
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                Night flight  
    Weather has not been kind around here. Although over the base it's nice and sunny, air refueling tracks are covered in clouds and thunderstorms. A day prior to my night flight, weather folks predicted that refueling track X will be good to go and so I planned my flight to that track.  Then when I show up before the flight, that track is unusable so I had to quickly re-plan to something that is usable. Finally we step to a jet and notice wind changed while huge storm hovered our planned departure.  So we quickly re-file out flight plan. After take-off while cruising to IP, our WX radar shows that track is unusable as well. Nice! So I had to request new route that is clear for random air refueling with block altitude (Normally, we select one 1k above and below tanker) and tell receiver of our plan change.
       Night flight is a different animal. It's easy to see lighting in a distance so clouds around you look like someone stuck a strobe inside them. To me they look much closer than reality and make me very nervous being in an aluminum can full of fuel. Especially when I'm practicing refueling with an autopilot off since it requires enhanced concentration that drains energy quickly while out of the corner of my eye I see lighting directly ahead.

  Did I mention how hot it gets inside the cockpit? On a ground unless there is an external A/C cart, you have no A/C other than windows. So whatever temperature is outside, add at a minimum of 10 to +15C. In the cargo compartment that is even worse. I think it's about +25 to outside temperature. So far I've seen 45C inside the cockpit and I'm being told that is nothing. ATIS called 32C then. Cockpit temperature gauge only shows up to 50C as a max setting...  While in the pattern, cockpit will be equal to outside temperature so there is a lot of sweating going on while trying to stay hydrated in order to no pass out. Old planes.
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Love reading these posts! As to the heat, a childhood friend of mine is a boom operator- she told me about how her crew used to keep their plane at altitude as long as possible when returning to Al Udeid, as a “cold sink,” then descend as rapidly as possible, and try to get on the ground before the temperatures got too unbearable.

But then, she might have mentioned something about maybe having her flight suit tied around her waist while refueling customers over the Gulf as well… :wink:

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Gentlemen, I apologize but another school is taking up my time now. So unless there are questions, there isn’t much of an update.

On my first attempt to a checkride, we never took of the ground. During taxi to a runway, someone smelled fumes in the aircraft and we had to ground evacuate. It was an interesting experience. :smiley:

Second attempt to a checkride went well. We refueled few F-15s and spend a bunch of time with B-52. It was fun.


Any root cause on the fumes? Somebody’s leftover animal-style In and Out?

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What’s that you are holding in your hand - the foil thing? Is that one of those escape bags/masks? You ever get those fumes coming in the cockpit/cabin when you flew the Beechjet (Jayhawk) and were taxiing with the quartering tailwind and popped the buckets? LOL…that’s always nauseating…


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MX guessed it was from APU that didn’t shutdown quite correctly. After fire department and maintainers inspected our aircraft, we went back to take our bags, my eyes got watery from fumes.

Yep. We had more people on aircraft then availability of quick-don oxygen masks.

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“But it’s an unsinkable ship!”

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And finally a video - Not mine, but impressive. Enjoy


from F4.0 manual:

For experienced combat pilots, flying the real F-16 is 99% boredom and 1% adrenaline. If Falcon 4.0 had the same ratio, nobody would buy the game.

And we can consider F4.0 as a hardcore sim with all the non-combat things to do in cockpit.

btw GREAT! thread simfreak, I am reserving some long winter nights to go through it all :thumbsup:

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*If Falcon 4.0 had the same ratio, EinsteinEP would buy the game.

And I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one. But I recognize that many game developers try to focus on the largest market - the biggest bang for the buck, so to speak. Failure to understand return on investment is failure to understand business. This is why study sims and teams that go that extra mile to make obscure details like manual fuel management and override systems available to the virtual pilot that much more rare and valuable.

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simfreak, I’m a fellow AF aviator. I stumbled across this forum, please PM me if that is an option on this site.

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You can PM him by clicking on his icon. An option to PM should pop up.

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