Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2015, 07:25
by linkomart
Hidden in this report: ... ata-fusion
(Of Corse linked by SPAZ in Another thread) is a Little pass about the normal life of engineering: Fixes.

Even though the F-35 is designed in the state-of-the art computer systems with the sharpest engineers that the wild west can provide, there are still some things that needs to be fixed... Oooups moment or whatever you call it.

This is the normal thing for the development of any airplane, so it's no idea to cry Death spiral or crappy design or whatever... Too bad it is hidden in a report about something as boring as SW... (my opinion, nothing else)

A new light for the F-35’s refueling system—redesigned to reduce glare for KC-135 boom operators— is installed on the red extender arm bracing the refueling probe of this test aircraft (inset). F-35 AF-1 conducts asymmetric load testing, including the use of external weapons stores, during recent flights using newly installed 3F software.



Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2015, 07:29
by spazsinbad
:drool: Heheh. So much for my SPEED READING of that ARTICKLE. I wondered about the graphic seen above but did not REread to find that GEM. Thanks for that. I'll give my SpeedReedin' TUTOR a SpeedyEARful! :mrgreen: My eyes get tired reading screen after screen (of crap mostly) so sometimes I MISS THE GOLD! :doh:

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2015, 09:31
by linkomart
Something that strikes me as odd.... This is the B and C probe.... where the pilot jacks the probe in to the basket... and even though they sometimes put a basket on the boom... it is not the boom operator that is responsible for contact. (or?)

This incident is really far down the chain of event... could as well have gone trough unnoticed I guess.


Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2015, 10:03
by spazsinbad
Probably we would need better graphics - film at night - and other stuff; however if I follow the directions:
"...A new light for the F-35’s refueling system—redesigned to reduce glare for KC-135 boom operators— is installed on the red extender arm bracing the refueling probe of this test aircraft..."

We have to know (I can only guess) that the KC-135 boom operator is looking out of their window at the 'IRON MAIDEN' hose/drogue combo hanging off the end of the boom? When the F-35B/C probe extends or otherwise extended gets close to the operator then that person is blinded by the light (song on request). This pic shows the problem perhaps (in daytime): ... refuel.jpg
"“On 20 August a Lockheed Martin F-35C carrier model aircraft refueled from a US Air Force KC-135 for the first time. The jet, CF-1, was flown by Lt Col Patrick Moran.” ... om-kc-135/

ZOOMED new probe light shows location I'll guess (although details a little fuzzy). At night the B/C pilot has to be able to see the tip of aircraft own probe whilst the hose/drogue basket will have small lights around it to show where to go. It probably is not as easy as allowing the boom operator to do the thing with the F-35A. ... ynolds.jpg

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2015, 10:30
by spazsinbad
NOT sure if this PDF about probe/drogue has been referenced here before. I guess I could look but whatever:
The Sargent - Fletcher Pod
Gas ‘n’ Go Keep Going PaxRiver Museum Mag'n
Winter 2013 The Kneeboard

"...The British were the first to develop a really practical aerial refueling system. It was called the probe and drogue method and it’s used by US Navy aircraft as well as nearly all the aircraft of other countries. The probe is carried on the aircraft to be refueled. On high-speed aircraft, the probe retracts for streamlining. On slower aircraft the probe is fixed in place on the outside of the wing or fuselage.

The drogue (or paradrogue) is the collapsible basket and fuel valve assembly at the end of the fuel hose trailing behind the tanker aircraft. The pilot of the fuel-hungry aircraft carefully guides its probe into the basket, where a latching mechanism holds it in place. (See the illustrations below.) Once enough gas has been passed, the receiving aircraft backs off to break contact with the drogue. Because of turbulence close to the aircraft, this maneuver is not as easy to do as it sounds."

Source: ... wcopy2.pdf (1.2Mb)

GOOD ARF VIDEO part starts:

OTHERWISE with catshot etc. Getting into the basket is more difficult in turbulent air at low level (depending).

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2015, 11:02
by spazsinbad
A Night Sight Picture for dem Hornets: KC 707/ KDC-10 green status light seen on fuselage (probe is in drogue):

Omega Tanker (K-707) (KDC-10) Air Refueling Procedures Brief ... brief1.ppt (2Mb)

PDF of the 25 pages now attached below.

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 20 Mar 2015, 20:35
by spazsinbad
:doh: I can search the internet for the sentence about the probe light and it appears here and 'supposedly - according to google at the URL - however it is no longer there - edited out I'll guess by AvWeak. No wonder I never saw it there. Still and all, good to know why the odd photo was there and to have an explanation for why etc. :mrgreen:

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 21 Mar 2015, 15:28
by spazsinbad
Please forgive me - no do not - F-35A testing GREEN laser during ARF - so easy to multi-task in this aircraft, must be BillieFlynn ... ht-aar.jpg

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 10 Apr 2015, 13:34
by spazsinbad
We can see how the 'too bright' probe light on this F-35B might blind the smooth operator in refueller in this video:

F-35B Night Air Refuel Probe Light on Drogue

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 13 Apr 2015, 07:02
by spazsinbad
Doodesses & Doods here ya go for 'BLINDED BY THE LIGHT' stuff. BEST to READ at SOURCE because there are more PHOTOs and text DETAIL.
F-35 Aerial Refueling Tests
09 Apr 2015 Eric Hehs CODE 1

"...This particular series of refueling missions in near-dark conditions, which began in late 2014, was to flight test a new prototype refueling probe light. The white prototype light can be seen immediately to the right of the drogue basket in the head-on photo. The twilight conditions were part of a buildup of tests to certify the aircraft for full night flight clearance. During the tests, the boom operator in the refueling aircraft monitored the F-35’s proximity to the boom, the connection with the F-35’s refueling probe to the drogue, and the transfer of fuel once the connection was made.

During the refueling process on the KC-135, the pilot had to fly the F-35 to within five feet of the rigid boom and maintain a close proximity while dealing with the motion of the tanker relative to the F-35...."
CAPTION: "A ninety-degree bend in the knuckle immediately trailing the basket indicates that the F-35 has connected to the basket and is in the fuel transfer zone." Photo by Chad Bellay ... 7_4323.jpg

CAPTION: "F-35B test aircraft BF-17 was flown over Edwards AFB, California, during several recent aerial refueling missions behind KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender tankers. Photo by Tom Reynolds" ... 7_4356.jpg


Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 06 Jul 2015, 22:13
by spazsinbad
At the start of this thread 'linkomart' has the idea 'constant changes' and here is some evidence of that: ... ts-414341/

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 19 Jul 2015, 02:28
by spazsinbad
F-35B/C FMS Probe Drogue Air Refuel

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 05 Jun 2018, 22:33
by spazsinbad
F-35 JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER Development Is Nearly Complete, but Deficiencies Found in Testing Need to Be Resolved
Jun 2018 GAO

"...Aerial refueling probes:
The F-35B and F-35C variants use a “hose and drogue” system where an aerial refueling tanker aircraft extends a long, flexible refueling hose and a parachute-like metal basket that provides stability, and the receiving aircraft then connects to the drogue basket with its extendable refueling probe, as shown in figure 10. From April 2014 to August 2017, 21 incidents have occurred where the F-35’s aerial refueling probes broke off while conducting aerial refueling, leading to a restriction of aerial refueling operations. [I wonder how many contacts overall were made in this time?] The Navy and Air Force are investigating the issue and implementing improvements to reduce these incidents:

1. Pilot training improvements have been completed.

2. Improved inspection of KC-10 aerial refueling equipment has been implemented.

3. Software improvements to reduce the pilot’s workload during refueling are planned to enter flight testing in May 2018.
4. A stronger refueling probe is in development. [ :devil: tank goodness :doh: ]

[PDF referenced by 'marauder2048' here earlier: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=12237&p=395599&hilit=Resolved#p395599 ]

Source: (4.1Mb)

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 06 Jun 2018, 00:05
by marauder2048
Yeah it was in the DOT&E report.

There's an intentional weak-link between the mast and the nozzle that's designed
to break in an overload condition. (It's the purple region in the photo from The Register).

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 06 Jun 2018, 01:18
by spazsinbad
Thanks for info & pic 'marauder2048'. Do you have a link please? I'm looking at THE REGISTER now.... FOUND IT!
We're cutting F-35 costs, honest, insists jet-builder Lockheed Martin
23 Jan 2018 Gareth Corfield

"...Cobham, which makes the critical ball joint used in the F-35B's air-to-air refuelling probe. As the firm explained to El Reg, anyone can make a pipe and bolt it to an aircraft – but their unique weak link is designed to shear and cut off fuel flow only "under very specific loads", such as a pilot in an emergency needing to pull away from the tanker ASAP....

Photo: "An air-to-air refuelling probe for the F-35. Cobham makes the purple knobbly bit, which is the weak link that breaks in emergencies" ... _probe.jpg
"The Honeywell OBOGS"

Source: ... aims_exec/

Re: Constant fixes life of engineering

Unread postPosted: 30 Mar 2019, 11:32
by spazsinbad
Aerial refueling probe light evaluations flown with KC-135: Effort to clear Navy, USMC F-35 night refueling envelope
27 Mar 2019 Kenji Thuloweit, 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

The F-35 program recently completed testing on an improved lighting assembly with the KC-135 that will enable the Navy and Marine Corps F-35 variants to refuel behind the tanker at night. Flight testing of the redesigned light, which attaches to a refueling probe, was led by Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland, and supported by Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The test demonstrated teamwork across three services and between test units located on opposite coasts, all focused on quickly evaluating this lighting fix under specific nighttime conditions to ensure that F-35 operators can expand their night refueling operations to include all configurations of the KC-135.

The purpose of the probe light on Navy and Marine aircraft is to illuminate the refueling receptacle, or “basket,” to ensure that the F-35 pilot can see adequately and make contact to begin refueling. However, the existing lighting design made it difficult for the KC-135 boom operator to see the silhouette of the F-35, which is an Air Force requirement in order for the boom operator to monitor refueling operations and help the F-35 pilot maintain safe separation from the refueling boom. One main objective of this redesign is to ensure better visibility for the KC-135 boom operator.

“An issue with the current probe light was that it was too bright, blinding the KC-135 aerial refueling boom operators,” said Michael McGee, 418th Flight Test Squadron, Aerial Refueling project manager at Edwards AFB. “The new light was designed to be less bright, but still bright enough for the F-35 pilot to see clearly.”

For this test, an F-35B deployed to Edwards AFB from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23), Naval Air Station Patuxent River, and was paired up with a KC-135 and test aircrew from the 418th FLTS. Both ground and flight tests posed interesting challenges for the team consisting of 418th FLTS and 461st Flight Test Squadron personnel.

“For the ground test we used a hangar,” McGee said. “The environment needed to be completely dark. We had to remove emergency lighting from the facility and place mats on the floor to reduce light glare. The boom operators were raised on a scissor lift to simulate the KC-135 tanker. The team had to simulate the drogue basket approaching the F-35B so the 461st FLTS maintainers mounted the basket onto a B-4 stand. Since the stand is on wheels, we could simulate the basket approaching the probe while the F-35 pilot assessed the brightness of the light.”

The ground test evaluated two types of lights with different color tones - a warm white light and an amber light - across various brightness levels. The warm white light was assessed as the best choice for both of the boom operators and the pilots, McGee said. The first flight test lasted four hours and accomplished all of the required test points.

“Our biggest concern was completing the test during the lowest moon illumination; worst case lighting scenario timeframe, which was March 1-11,” said McGee. “For the flight test, we planned a minimum of two flights, but captured all test points on our first flight.”

The evaluation had favorable results and the design will now be considered by the Air Refueling Certification Agency to be incorporated into a revised flight clearance for the Navy and USMC, anticipated by early this summer...."

Photo: "A U.S. Navy F-35C Lightning II is drogue refueled by a KC-10A during a training mission near Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, April 10, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Kelly)" ... 96-412.JPG (1.4Mb)

Source: ... lear-navy/