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Air to Air refueling - Having some fun now!


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Hey;

 

So I wanted to learn how to do air to air refueling (AAR?).  In Mission Editor I tried to set up a mission so that I could practice just that.  After I finally got the KC-135 (turbo prop tanker) to orbit properly.  I was not sure exactly how it should work even if it was working correctly.  That took 2-3  hours.  Anyways, I finally got it to do a race track orbit properly.

 

Part of the problem was that evidently the KC-135 crew was as frustrated as I was because it absolutely refused to talk to me.  I had Easy Communications checked at all times.  I messed with the radios, way points, I messed with all I could think of.  The KC-135  would not answer me.  More research and more youtube videos and I had no luck.  As I was just about to give it up, I decided to try the KC-130 at a last resort  It worked the first try. 

 

Is this only a mystery to me?

 

I had thought that the KC-135 would have been better because I thought it could fly slower more comfortably.

 

Another problem with the Mission Editor.   I had set up the waypoints for the tanker to orbit at 15000 220.  When I caught up to KC-130 I could not find it for quite some time.  Well, it had decided to orbit at 5000 210.  Is that something that is supposed to happen?

 

On to refueling itself.  That is very tough.  I noticed that once the refueling process starts the tanker flies straight.  I my case it flew straight for over an hour straight.  I guess I need to watch a few more youtube videos.  From my point of view the probe should have made contact.  I mean I felt like I was there many times, but in reality I don't have a good feel for the place I need to try and stab it.  I kept missing.  I had no luck.

 

One funny thing did happen.  I some how got caught up in the wire that goes from the empennage down to the refuel boom.  The wire itself was going straight through my aircraft just behind the cockpit  I was just stuck there, floating along and enjoying the scenery.  At the time, it seemed like a good enough place to refuel from.  I would have saved the track, but it was over an hour of me failing to refuel before that.

 

Now I have a question a couple of questions:

 

Isn't there an operator in the tanker that is supposed to steer that probe into the aircraft and help out the pilot make connection?

 

If the TVV and attitude lines in the HUD are not centered in the HUD and the attitude lines are kind of slanted at all time, is from the effect of a cross wind?

 

Caldera


Edited by Caldera

DCS World:   P-51D A-10C ii  F/A-18C  Combined Arms

                      Caucasus   Persian Gulf   Normandy   Nevada

System:        I7-10700F  16GB  RTX-2060  1TB SSD Windows 10  TrackIR 5  Cougar MFD's

HOTAS:         x56 (Virpil ordered)

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20 minutes ago, Caldera said:

Now I have a question a couple of questions:

 

Isn't there an operator in the tanker that is supposed to steer that probe into the aircraft and help out the pilot make connection?

 

If the TVV and attitude lines in the HUD are not centered in the HUD and the attitude lines are kind of slanted at all time, is from the effect of a cross wind?

 

Caldera

 

 

Yes for the boom operator, although you need to fly the aircraft into a proper position before they will do the fine adjustments to contact.

 

If TVV and pitch ladder are offset to one side, it would most likely be from a crosswind, yes.

 

 

Cheers,

 

Ziptie

i7 6700 @4ghz, 32GB HyperX Fury ddr4-2133 ram, GTX980, Oculus Rift CV1, 2x400 gig SSD drives (one soley for DCS OpenBeta standalone) Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS, Thrustmaster Cougar MFDs

 

Airframes: A10C, A10CII, F/A-18C, F-14B, F-16C, FC3. Modules: Combined Arms, Supercarrier. Terrains: Persian Gulf, Nevada NTTR, Syria

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Ziptie,

 

FWIW I used to buy zip ties by the thousand.

 

Your reply "If TVV and pitch ladder are offset to one side, it would most likely be from a crosswind, yes." might explain some of my problems.  I did have some crosswind effect.  I have no way to know for sure, but it seems kind of excessive.  The tanker would just jump at times.  I also tried TURBULENCE checked on for awhile.  I can forget that.  At some instances I would be suddenly forced into an roll and literally almost go inverted.  I am guessing caused by the prop wash or some other vortex coming of the KC-135.  Yippee-Kay-Yay!  The TURBULENCE effect seems really over the top.

 

I watched another youtube video.  Your reply "Yes for the boom operator, although you need to fly the aircraft into a proper position before they will do the fine adjustments to contact."  I noticed that happening in the video.  Where the tanker operator would wake up.  At that time the nozzle would sort of lift up and/or move aft by perspective to the tanker.  That never happened for me.  I mean I was literally cramming the nozzle into the front wind shield or into the GAU.  The tanker operator still dozing. 

 

Maybe I am missing something?

 

The MISSION EDITOR still seems confusing.  Does it require refueling to be at 5000 210 for the A-10C using the K-130?  Can the A-10C refuel from the KC-135?

 

Some how that makes no sense to me. 

 

For the KC-130, when I have the settings at 15000 250 things are weird.   Actually, I mean initially, I had them at 15000 220 (some ATP).  On the first try the tanker told me to report at 15000 180.  So I exited out of the mission to check.  Hmm...  I eventually had to set the speed to 250 just to get the tanker to reply for 15000 210.   I tried faster speeds.  The tanker would never reply with a speed faster than 210 no matter how much the settings were increased it seemed.

 

Then...

 

The tanker actually showed up at 5000 210 (closer to 209), as I said above.

 

Is this supposed to happen?

 

Caldera


Edited by Caldera
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DCS World:   P-51D A-10C ii  F/A-18C  Combined Arms

                      Caucasus   Persian Gulf   Normandy   Nevada

System:        I7-10700F  16GB  RTX-2060  1TB SSD Windows 10  TrackIR 5  Cougar MFD's

HOTAS:         x56 (Virpil ordered)

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11 hours ago, Caldera said:

After I finally got the KC-135 (turbo prop tanker) to orbit properly.

 

Yeah, air to air refueling is one of the toughest things you can do in an aircraft. It requires very good formation flying skills, and most people don't develop them over night. 😉

 

Now to your questions. The KC-135 is certainly no prop, it's a jet. I get the feeling you're either confusing KC-130 and KC-135, or you're posting in the wrong forum (you're trying to refuel the A-10, not the F/A-18, right?).

 

To clear things up:

- A-10, F-16 and most other USAF aircraft use boom refueling (the refueling boom connects to a receptacle in the receiver aircraft)

- F/A-18 and most other US Navy aircraft (and pretty much everyone else who does AAR) uses probe and drogue refueling (the tanker extends a drogue aka "basket", and the refueling probe on the receiver aircraft must be flown into the drogue)

- the KC-135 (and KC-10, but we don't have it in DCS) is a boom tanker

- the KC-135 MPRS, the KC-130, the S-3B are drogue tankers

 

DCS is smart enough that a drogue tanker shouldn't even be available in the comms menu to a boom receiver, and vice versa.

 

In order to receive fuel from any tanker, you must first contact the tanker and get the confirmation that the tanker is ready to give you fuel.

 

Once that is done, you can fly into the pre-contact position behind the boom/drogue. Then call "Ready pre-contact". The only proper response is "Cleared contact". If you hear that, you can then connect to the tanker. If you don't hear it or if you hear anything else, DCS won't let you connect to the tanker and the boom or drogue will just float through your aircraft if you get close to it.

 

There's more to it, like certain required actions after disconnects, but these depend on the receiver and are module specific. Tutorials, and the manual, should explain these.

 

Regarding the Mission Editor questions, please upload your mission here, then we can tell you exactly what should be changed in order to get things to work. It's probably the Advanced Waypoint Action "Orbit" that's set to 5000 feet, but it's just so much faster to look at the mission instead of asking about several levels of submenus. 😉

 

8 minutes ago, Caldera said:

The TURBULENCE effect seems really over the top.

 

This is mostly the wingtip vortex effect. If you stay in the proper positions, you should never experience it. Look closely at the Youtube tutorials you watched. Most good pilots will avoid the area right behind the tanker's wingtip, especially when the video is no more than about one year old; this effect wasn't modeled before, so older tutorials might not yet take it into account.

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Thank you Yurgon!

 

Yeah Oops!  I just noticed that I got the KC-130 and the KC-135 ash backwards.  Where I said KC-130 insert KC-135 and vice versa, because that is what I really meant to write.  To that, it does clear things up for me about the radio coms.  I am sure it says that some where in the manual.

 

As to my Refueling Mission that I had used before.  I just wiped it, to make another one that might hopefully work right.   I am pretty sure however that I had that right. 

 

And... 

 

That is how I noticed that little thing about the KC-130 and the KC-135.  I will let you know how the new Refueling Mission goes.

 

Same thing kind of happened to a seperate CAS training mission that I have been playing for quite a bit it.  Some of the way points that I had been using that were are 5000 or 10000 suddenly started showing up as being at ground level when I played the mission.  I had made no changes in the MISSION EDITOR that caused this to happen.  At this point I am thinking PFM.

 

Caldera

DCS World:   P-51D A-10C ii  F/A-18C  Combined Arms

                      Caucasus   Persian Gulf   Normandy   Nevada

System:        I7-10700F  16GB  RTX-2060  1TB SSD Windows 10  TrackIR 5  Cougar MFD's

HOTAS:         x56 (Virpil ordered)

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Yurgon;

 

I am attaching two home grown mission files.  They are MSN 0 and MSN 2.   Take a look at them if you like.

 

MSN 0 is my refueling training mission.  It replaces the mission that I spoke about above.   The orbiting settings for the tanker are the same in both versions and are 15000 220, but 15000 180 is what it actually does.  This version at least the altitude is correct.

 

MSN 2 was basically my trigger testing mission.  The player attacks a building at the mystery X airport and some stuff happens.  I have way points assigned.  This mission worked correctly for quite a few sorties then something changed.  In the table below I have used Z+ because I do not actually know the altitude at the point, but the way point shows up on the ground in the HUD and the HMD while in flight.

 

Way points altitudes:         Number   Assigned  Actual    Purpose

                                            0                                              Initial

                                            1              49              49         End of runway - Landing marker

                                            2             2500          Z+         Final approach RTB 

                                           3             10000         Z+         Rally - Launch some CAP

                                           4             10000         Z+         IP

                                            5             33              33        Target - Starts a small skirmish

                                            6            10000         Z+         EP

                                            7            5000           Z+        Mission clear - Set up for RTB

 

Let me know if you find something please.

 

I did manage to get connected to the tanker a couple of times!   A small success, but still a success.  Once connected maintaining the correct speed is difficult.  Finding the tanker is no easy task either.

 

I am forgetting the actual text.  As you know, the refueling process starts by first contacting the tanker and indicating your intention to refuel.  The tanker acknowledges and gives you a speed and altitude vector to join.  Once you close on the tanker you ask for permission to begin refueling (Radio F1).   What was I doing wrong was that I was simply not close enough to the tanker when I requested that permission.  For failures, the tanker would respond "return ...", which I guess means "Nice try, ask again when you are a little closer".  For successes, the tanker would respond "confirmed ...".  So when I got closer still the operator would wake up and do their thing.  I simply did not know the correct responses to expect until today.

 

Caldera

MSN 0.miz MSN 2.miz

DCS World:   P-51D A-10C ii  F/A-18C  Combined Arms

                      Caucasus   Persian Gulf   Normandy   Nevada

System:        I7-10700F  16GB  RTX-2060  1TB SSD Windows 10  TrackIR 5  Cougar MFD's

HOTAS:         x56 (Virpil ordered)

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1 hour ago, Caldera said:

MSN 0 is my refueling training mission.  It replaces the mission that I spoke about above.   The orbiting settings for the tanker are the same in both versions and are 15000 220, but 15000 180 is what it actually does.  This version at least the altitude is correct.

 

Yeah, the tanker's altitudes look good for all waypoints and the orbit action. If you set the same altitude for the very first waypoint, the tanker won't have to climb at the beginning of the mission, but since you're approaching the tanker from Batumi, it'll be settled at 15,000 ft long before you get there anyway. 👍

 

The speed is both right and wrong. 😉

 

There's a whole bunch of (air) speed measurements that you need to be aware of; probably the most important ones being indicated airspeed (IAS), true airspeed (TAS), and ground speed (GS). The higher you climb in the atmosphere, the bigger the discrepancy between IAS and TAS will become. And ground speed is simply TAS corrected for wind. In this mission, there is zero wind at the tanker altitude, but at 15,000 feet there will already be a big discrepancy between IAS and TAS - which is exactly the reason the tanker is set to 220 knots (TAS or GS; I think it's actually GS) in the mission, but flies only about 180 knots IAS, which is what the A-10C displays in the HUD and the analog airspeed indicator.

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1 hour ago, Caldera said:

MSN 2 was basically my trigger testing mission.  The player attacks a building at the mystery X airport and some stuff happens.  I have way points assigned.  This mission worked correctly for quite a few sorties then something changed.  In the table below I have used Z+ because I do not actually know the altitude at the point, but the way point shows up on the ground in the HUD and the HMD while in flight.

 

Yeah, that one's a bit more difficult. The waypoint altitudes in the mission are exactly like you said above.

 

However, the CDU of the player aircraft has them all at or even slightly below ground level.

 

For some reason, the mission file (which is simply a zip file, but named MSN 2.miz instead of MSN 2.zip) includes a whole bunch of preset-folders that shouldn't be there. This definitely happens when "prepare mission" is used from the mission editor, but I'm pretty sure this sometimes happens during normal mission editing, I just don't know why.

 

In any case, you can either build a new mission, or you can rename the mission to MSN 2.zip, then open it using your favorite zip tool, and delete ALL folders from the mission zip file, except for the folder "l10n" ("localization"). Also make sure that the files "mission", "options", "theatre", and "warehouses" remain in place. Save the zip file, rename it back to MSN 2.miz, and everything should be back to normal.

 

And if you can figure out what exactly caused these folders to appear, that would be great to know! The reason has been alluding me for years, and it never seems to happen to me, so I don't know how to file a proper bug report.

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Thanks Yurgon,

 

Still attempting to get a full tank of gas.  I can connect once in awhile, but my speed control is not good enough to let me stay connected for long.  I would have to say speed control is the hardest part of the whole process.  I have no visual cues except the HUD and that seems to always lag behind the actual, causing me to overshoot or undershoot the tanker speed and quickly cause a disconnect.

 

I did watch a youtube video the other night.  It was an A-10C walk around.  The nose had many dents and pretty good size ones, just forward of the refueling door.  The pilot giving the walk around said it is very common and that it happened during A-A refueling.

 

Caldera

DCS World:   P-51D A-10C ii  F/A-18C  Combined Arms

                      Caucasus   Persian Gulf   Normandy   Nevada

System:        I7-10700F  16GB  RTX-2060  1TB SSD Windows 10  TrackIR 5  Cougar MFD's

HOTAS:         x56 (Virpil ordered)

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10 hours ago, Caldera said:

I would have to say speed control is the hardest part of the whole process.  I have no visual cues except the HUD and that seems to always lag behind the actual, causing me to overshoot or undershoot the tanker speed and quickly cause a disconnect.

 

Some people also oscillate heavily up and down. Putting it all together is probably the hardest part. 😉

 

Just don't focus on the HUD. In fact, feel free to switch it off. Air-to-air refueling is formation flying. The HUD only distracts you. Pick a visual reference on the tanker that you want to maintain; this is also known as a "sight picture". And then try to stay within that sight picture.

 

Also, there's no sweet spot on the throttle where you'll exactly match the tanker's speed. The throttle has to be in constant motion. If you're experienced, these will be fairly small inputs. When you're just starting out, it's quite common to use a lot of the throttle way, as long as you keep throttling up and down, oscillating around the sweet spot.

 

But most of all, this just takes practice, practice and more practice. 🙂

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Hm...  This thread got moved for some reason.

 

I noticed in an A-10 video (RL) that had a refueling segment in it,  that sometimes when the A-10C is disconnected from the fueling boom just as the pilot rolls away they may discharge a few flares.  Is there a purpose for this?

 

Caldera

DCS World:   P-51D A-10C ii  F/A-18C  Combined Arms

                      Caucasus   Persian Gulf   Normandy   Nevada

System:        I7-10700F  16GB  RTX-2060  1TB SSD Windows 10  TrackIR 5  Cougar MFD's

HOTAS:         x56 (Virpil ordered)

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4 hours ago, Caldera said:

I noticed in an A-10 video (RL) that had a refueling segment in it,  that sometimes when the A-10C is disconnected from the fueling boom just as the pilot rolls away they may discharge a few flares.  Is there a purpose for this?

 

It's a pilot's way to say "so long and thanks for all the fuel" 😉


Edited by Yurgon
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Another question, how do you turn on the tankers EPLRS datalink? The AWACS has one but can't find the one for the tanker.

 

Caldera

DCS World:   P-51D A-10C ii  F/A-18C  Combined Arms

                      Caucasus   Persian Gulf   Normandy   Nevada

System:        I7-10700F  16GB  RTX-2060  1TB SSD Windows 10  TrackIR 5  Cougar MFD's

HOTAS:         x56 (Virpil ordered)

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14 hours ago, Caldera said:

Another question, how do you turn on the tankers EPLRS datalink? The AWACS has one but can't find the one for the tanker.

I don't think there is one. Would be great indeed if that was available for tankers!

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Yurgon,

 

Thanks!

 

I am not sure how that makes much sense. 

 

Oh well..

 

Caldera

DCS World:   P-51D A-10C ii  F/A-18C  Combined Arms

                      Caucasus   Persian Gulf   Normandy   Nevada

System:        I7-10700F  16GB  RTX-2060  1TB SSD Windows 10  TrackIR 5  Cougar MFD's

HOTAS:         x56 (Virpil ordered)

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