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What’s the hardest aircraft to air refuel in?


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I try to do an AAR for practice on every training sortie, unless I'm just doing quick exercises. I also like to do a full takeoff, pre-strike AAR, fight, (and sometimes post fight AAR) and then back to the pattern, land and taxi back. I find doing all the tasks in one sortie forces me to get better at them all and makes the flow more natural.

 

For me, and I don't claim to be an AAR expert on DCS by any stretch, when I focus on simply flying formation with the tanker (whether boom or basket) I find I have the most success. The moment I LOOK at the boom or basket - I'm all over the place. This is true whether moving in to hook up or while taking gas.... DON'T look at the basket or boom! Focus on the tanker and maintain that reference and you will find you stop moving all over the place. It does for me anyway.

 

For those just learning - I can't recommend enough to just fly formation with something. Just go to the wing of the tanker and fly finger tip for a while. Once you have the throttle and stick movements down to stay in place, then try to move back to try taking on some gas. I even fly around and stick some AI fighters out there to fly formation on just for practice. In some of the instant action missions where there are random fighters flying around, I will find them on radar and do a rejoin on them and then just fly on their wing for a while. Until you get good at formation flying, then AAR is going to be really difficult. Stop worrying about the boom or basket. Just fly formation in the correct spot and stay there and AAR is easy.

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Agree, at least it is much harder than the only other types I ever attempted to refuel in the air: the Mirage and the Hornet. As BuzzU pointed out already, thankfully the loiter time of the Hog on full tanks never really meant I had to air refuel. By the time I ran out of gas I was usually also Winchester, so back to base anyway.

 

With the really short legs of the Hornet this is a different story. For the first time I felt really limited in mission design without AAR so the Hornet became the first bird I‘ve forced myself to train AAR with. I struggled with it a lot in the beginning but training, training, training made it work for me in the end. I now refuel rather happily in it, get in on the first or second „stab“

ans usually stay in till tanks full.

 

Needless to say, I find nighttime AAR still much more difficult than in daytime.

 

Also A-10 for me.

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Now that I have the VKB gunfighter 3 it is much easier in the hornet and I am running no deadzones or curves. I cannot connect at all with the F16 even with deadzones at 3-5 and curves up to 15. I find curves to be a bigger issue given the lack of response and how much more i have to move the stick. I hate that damn boom crap. I see now why the USN stuck with the basket on the hornet and F35. Way easier and you have a lot more room for error in bad air. I have a lot of respect for the USAF guys that do it for real in the F16, 22, 15. They have to be way way more on it or risk breaking that boom and severe damage to both aircraft. They make it look easy as well. So far Boom refuel is the hardest thing in DCS for me even over case III carrier landings at night.

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I've read some guys think the Viper has built in curves and should never be given more curve. Some even give it negative curves.

 

You have to be careful with giving your stick no deadzone. A small number like 2 will never be felt by the pilot but it might help make the autopilot work better.

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For any boom refueled aircraft; Fly the lights under the tanker, it makes it much more easy.

For baskets; Dont focus on the basket, but rather focus on a point on the refueler aircraft and fly formation with it once you are hooked up.

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For any boom refueled aircraft; Fly the lights under the tanker, it makes it much more easy.

 

Yea, that's exactly the problem with A-10. you cannot see the lights.

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Yea, that's exactly the problem with A-10. you cannot see the lights.

Yeah they aren't very clear even when you can see them, though I don't think I've tried it since the new lighting. I wonder if they're more visible now.

 

 

Overall I think that boom is easier than drogue. I finally got around to trying the F-18 in AAR thanks to the generous size of the PG map. The wake of the tanker is more noticeable since you're not centered and it's hard to judge the position of the drogue without VR/true 3D vision. Besides that controls play a huge part in it. Throttle sensitivity is way to high in almost any aircraft. Getting the exact tanker speed is difficult.

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A-10 hands down, I was quite proficient with air refuelling other aircraft and even other sims so I thought A-10 would be no different, but A-10 has given me some hard times and a lot of needed training to master it. At first I thought having boom in front of you would make things easier, but it was quite the opposite for me. The boom blocks the tanker lights and distracts from concentrating on the tanker, I really had to learn to delete the boom from my vision and concentrate on the tanker instead, to be successful. Maybe it is easier in VR or RL.

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One I think I noticed about the A-10C, and I’ve only transfer completed one time was that it was harder to get the boom to contact but once the boom was in it seemed to be glued in there even though I was going up down left right. I couldn’t believe at times I didn’t disconnect.

 

 

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I'm going off script here and saying JF17 and Mirage. Reason is the FBW pitch axis is squirrely in these two and both aircraft trim extremely coarse, so it's impossible to get level flight.

 

The Mirage gets easier over 300 kts but tankers, even kc135 are rarely flying that fast.

 

The Hornet is the easiest and the Harrier, once you get a feel for where the drogue should be is very fun. The throttle response in the Harrier is a joy to work with.

 

I know everyone says focus on the tanker and for hornet that does work. However, I find it easier to focus on a mid point between the drogue and probe and then "drive" the aircraft into contact. I find this is better since unlike reference points if you have to refuel on a different side than you're used to or an unfamiliar tanker, the same techniques work. I subconsciously make micro corrections that lead to a straight on smooth hook up. Once hooked up I concentrate on flying formation with the tanker.

 

Just my .02


Edited by LastRifleRound
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Refueling the Su-33 is my vote. not that its hard to do (if trimmed out properly) but it takes forever to finish fueling that thing.

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Refueling the Su-33 is my vote. not that its hard to do (if trimmed out properly) but it takes forever to finish fueling that thing.
Hahaha very true

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Yyp, like I asked. Only for hardware errors then. Thanks, I was wondering if there was any other reason.

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Actually these are not neccessarily errors... but yeah, if thats your explanation I can go with it.

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Actually these are not neccessarily errors... but yeah, if thats your explanation I can go with it.
Well, I might have written "hardware errors", as I don't have a better word for a physical deadzone in the stick.

 

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Try refueling in an AV8B. You almost have to look partially behind you to see the probe

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Try refueling in an AV8B. You almost have to look partially behind you to see the probe

 

The Harrier is the only one i CAN AAR. Its very easy when you suss it and the kindly throttle response its just perfect for keeing it all in check.

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People Forget about the harrier, It’s not easy either mainly because the probe is behind you.

 

I actually find the harrier is the easiest once you learn where the hose should be in regard the left mirror, the Hornet I can connect most of the time, the tomcat is just a bugger, jumps all over the damn shop and won’t stay connected for more than a few secs.

 

Strangely enough after learning basket refuelling for a while, I’ve recently gone back to boom refuelling with both the A10 and F16, and I’ve found that is relatively simple, just formate on the tanker, and they do everything else including following your aircraft about.

 

Biggest issue I’ve found with refuelling the A10 is catching up with the damn tanker. Damn that thing is bloody slow.

 

 

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I started with M2000C. Can line up in formation with no issues. However, putting the knob in basket is a feat to accomplish. Tanker aircraft is KC-135MPRS

 

There were moments when I just wanted to open the canopy, grab the damn basket and shove it over the probe. :D

 

I'll just stay with usual hit the airbase and refuel/rearm. It is safer this way, and convenient for bathroom breaks.

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Any plane that's not FBW can be a bit of a challenge.

 

FBW is not required. Even MiG-29's without FBW has own special dampening systems for landing, air refueling etc.

 

 

You can see that in the real cockpit videos as well how the pilots needs/can move their stick a lot to make small corrections, and the aircraft doesn't go crazy as you have far greater control of the aircraft by the control system.

 

The first MiG-29 that had the FBW was OVT version, sixth modification of the MiG-29M prototype.

 

You can't do such movements in DCS.

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The Harrier is the only one i CAN AAR. Its very easy when you suss it and the kindly throttle response its just perfect for keeing it all in check.

 

How accurately you can change the Harrier engine RPM?

 

I use mainly CH PRO Throttle and it gives about 0.3 RPM accuracy, so I can nicely go like from 87.2% to 87.5-87.6% and that is very good for all other operations than trying to get that +/- 1-2 km/h speed control around the tanker....

 

I am so waiting the VKB Throttle as I want that "perfect" 0.1 % RPM control.

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