On 24 January 1959, two A-4D Skyhawks flew from El Toro, California, to Cherry Point, North Carolina (2,082 miles) in 4 hours and 25 minutes. The pilots of the two jets were Marine Corps naval aviators Major J. P. Flynn and Captain C. D. Warfield of the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW). In order to achieve this feat, both aircraft were equipped with refueling probes and additional fuel tanks hanging from both wings.
With the advent of jet aircraft and nuclear weapons, inflight refueling became an important tactical and strategic tool to develop. It was a showstopper in the nuclear deterrent world with the United States Air Force maintaining airborne bomber forces 24 hours aday. Inflight refueling would also serve as a force multiplier for the armed forces of the United States during the Vietnam War and as a support for our allies and friends as seen in the resupply of Israel during the Yom Kippur war.
What is it like to refuel an aircraft using the Navy method of probe and basket? We’ll let the Blue Angels show us how it is done, watch the YouTube video below!