Watch those stabilators work!

Is this you @anon51893362?



I’ve had dates that went worse than that :wink:

Not to be sacrilegious (I know people are best etc), but has there ever been an ‘automatic refuelling autopilot’ on any modern system? Maybe drones?

Seeing that reaction between forces and the pilots reactions to eyeball it all sort of reminded me of a old fluid PID controller style problem PID controller - Wikipedia (at least in terms of base algorithm, I mean digital solution of course).

Kind of like the comments from the F-35B pilots about how the control system does more of the landing now compared to the old Harrier style ‘fiddle with throttle’ pure hands-on analog approach.

I guess one thing that may make that seem silly is I don’t know how ‘stable’ things are once connected, as in does the pilot have to keep correcting during the entire fuelling process like crazy, or is the ‘link’ good enough to keep things a bit easier once connected?

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@fearlessfrog There has - quite recently as a matter of fact - a successful drone hookup:


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I guess it makes sense that these guys would be so stable:


Ok, now let’s make the refueller a big drone as well and now we’re cooking with gas! :smile:

I wonder if the probe & drogue refuelling is easier for this, or just because it’s Navy? It looked as if the basket was more guided to the probe, if you know what I mean. It would be interesting to see if it could manage it with a bit of turbulence and what it uses for near object point of reference, i.e. not just positional info but more the comms back and forth with the refueller on where it is etc. Interesting stuff.

I find it quite hard to tell which of the inputs are from the pilot and which are not. It does seem like the conditions are a bit on the rough side on this one.

At first glance, i don’t think that refueling would be that much of a problem for a control system, given sophisticated computer vision and good references on the tanker airframe. If a datalink was established between the tanker and the aircraft to refuel, real time data could be exchanged about exactly where in the box the airframe is, that would be sufficient to anchor the plane rock solid.

I wonder how much the AFCS is working with regards to turbulence thrown off by the tanker and boom… I’m guessing a lot of that movement is the flight computer. Throw in the pilot making very rapid adjustments and it’s amazing the computer doesn’t just BSOD… :smiley: