Yesterday, I got the opportunity of a lifetime – I flew in a KC-135 while it refueled a squadron of A-10s from Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson. The tanker, from Kansas, was in town for several days, training its own pilots and boom operators, and allowing hog pilots to gain experience and currency in refueling during day and night missions.
While at Nellis several years ago, I’d been able to ride with a tanker while it refueled F-16s with the 422. Yesterday’s flight was extra special for me, though, as my husband is an A-10 pilot, and I also got to spend a lot of time during the flight with the booms, watching them refuel the jets. One thing I was reminded of during the flight – the A-10 is big! There were only a few times I could capture the whole jet in the boom window, as its wingspan is pretty impressive.
We took off from Tucson at about noon, and headed east to airspace over New Mexico, where we rendezvoused with several Warthogs from the Bulldogs and Dragons. It was pretty incredible to watch as the boom operators lowered and extended the flying boom to hook up to the fighter planes. There are a lot of variables that go into air refueling, and I was impressed with the cool calm of the booms as they hooked and unhooked from the hogs.
A huge thank you to the booms for letting me pester you with questions while you worked!