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Improved Air to Air Refueling Probe

Dual forked probes guide hose nozzle into docking linkage
  [vote for,

A Y shaped fuel probe extends from the front of the helicopter. Picture a capital Y turned on it's side and stuck to the front of the aircraft, the top of the Y arranged in the vertical. From the side it looks like this:



That's supposed to be a helicopter. The asterisk is the tail rotor, the less than sign is the probe catcher.

Trailing from the tanker is the fuel hose with a Y shaped assembly that's arranged perpendicular to the Y shaped catcher on the helicopter. Looking from above it's shaped like this.


When you bring the two together, they slide together such that the angled guides connect the two Ys at their crux at which point they connect the nozzles together and begin fuel transfer. Looking at them linked together from the front or back it would look like this: + the horizontal part of the plus sign being the helicopter catcher and the vertical part of the plus sign being the tanker catcher.

The advantage of this is that the target area is huge requiring little precise maneuvering. All you need to do is intersect the 4 or 5 foot tall helicopter Y probe with the 8 or so foot wide tanker Y probe and let them slide together.

This would be much easier than fitting two small one or two square foot pieces together as it's currently done. The system could be easily retrofittable onto existing systems.

As far as the the final adjustment of the nozzles, powerful electromagnets would be turned on to pull the nozzles together in the exact correct configuration for linkage.

doctorremulac3, Dec 18 2015

Skip forward to 2:30 to get the basic idea. https://www.youtube...watch?v=UsTIeZ03Hk8
This shows one Y being used to catch a cable, the idea would employ another solid Y instead of the cable. [doctorremulac3, Dec 18 2015]

Rough drawing to clarify https://www.dropbox...g%20system.png?dl=0
[doctorremulac3, Dec 18 2015]

Better drawing https://www.dropbox...%20System3.png?dl=0
[doctorremulac3, Dec 18 2015]


       Put a drawing up to clarify. The yellow bit on the tanker section would have ailerons to maneuver it.
doctorremulac3, Dec 18 2015

       Given that helicopters are quite small and tankers are quite big, why not just paint a circle with an H in it on top of the tanker, land the chopper there, tie it down, get out and re-fuel? It would give the helicopter pilots a chance to stretch their legs.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 18 2015

       I tend to shy away from solutions that involve a lot of explosions, flaming death, that sort of thing.
doctorremulac3, Dec 18 2015

       " paint a circle with an H in it on top of the tanker, land the chopper there, tie it down, get out and re-fuel "   

       I think that is a brilliant solution, and worthy of it's own idea.   

       Certainly if they can fly a jetliner with the shuttle strapped to it, an ungainly copter is just a bit more of a challenge for the pilots involved in both craft.
normzone, Dec 18 2015

       If the helicopter used enriched uranium pellets as fuel, then it would only have to land on the tanker's H every couple of years, which would greatly improve safety.
the porpoise, Dec 18 2015

       Well, I think this is a pretty good idea. I went ahead and sent this to somebody at DARPA who's working on aerial refueling stuff.   

       I'll post an update if they show any interest.
doctorremulac3, Dec 19 2015


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