I don’t do boats. I didn’t fly the Rafale. I’m not French. But this has to be the coolest video I’ve seen in a long while, and I want to share it.
There’s a lot more to flying fighters than you’ll see here, but what you will see is plenty of formation flying and refueling. People often ask me what formation flying and aerial refueling are like; this video captures the experience. The production values, for a compilation video made mostly of GoPro clips, are outstanding (the copyright holder is Chasse Embarquee, which has its own YouTube channel).
Look closely during some of the close formation segments and you’ll see some inverted fingertip work. When you’re on the wing lead’s flight attitude doesn’t matter: you stay in position.
The refueling segments are what really got my attention and made me want to share the video. You’ll see Rafale pilots refueling from a USAF KC-10, a French Airbus A330 (the tanker we should have bought), a French KC-135, and a Luftwaffe A400M. In addition, some segments show Rafales buddy refueling from other Rafales. The only tanker missing is the USAF’s new KC-46 (the one we shouldn’t have bought).
Although two of the tankers, the KC-10 and KC-135, are equipped for boom refueling, the Rafale is not, and can only take on gas with the probe & drogue method. The USAF KC-10 has hoses & drogues mounted on the wingtips and centerline; the KC-135 has wingtip hose pods and a hose & drogue attached to the end of the boom.
© 2021, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.