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Non-military refuelling in the air

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n4jri

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Here in Richmond, VA we get occasional visits from a very large cargo plane. Looks like and Antonov, but not positive it's the 223. It is not here on a military mission, but comes to Philip Morris. (Marlboro cigarettes)

Someone told me that this aircraft receives aerial refuelling on the way home, because it cannot take off from RIC with an adequate fuel load. I can't imagine this being done in US airspace, and the idea of Russians doing it offshore doesn't make much sense to me, either. (and frankly, air-shipping cigarettes doesn't impress me as cost-effective)

This seems preposterous to me, but I've been wrong about a thing or two, and thought I'd see what you guys think of this.

If anything non-military is refuelling in the air, I'd love to know where they do it.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
 

trainman111

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I think its quite preposterous too. What color is it? Could it be a USAF C-17? I know they frequent Richmond quite often. If it's not military, I HIGHLY doubt it is being refueled midair. That's a military-military service only. If you can, try and get a picture of it. I'd like to see this thing.
 

n4jri

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The guy who told me this is the type would would've gotten the info from someone that's involved with the plane. I feel sure they were pulling his leg, but lots of stuff is less regulated than it used to be. Just thought I'd check...

I have seen the plane, but not in motion. Definitely not a C-17, and it doesn't look military either. If AN-224s vary in length, it might be a shorter model. The only other plane that resembles it is the AN-124. I can't remember for sure whether there were six engines, because I saw the plane at the hangar and could only see the front half of it from my vantage point. I've only caught these once or twice at the most over the last 10 years, and they're larger than anything that makes regular visits to RIC.

Maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to catch one departing and follow its journey.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
 

w0fg

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Civilian aerial refueling has become a lot more difficult since the oil companies went to self-service and the pilots have had to climb out of the plane to take off the gas cap and put in the hose. :lol:
 

CORN

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When the Antonov comes to the US it does not refuel in the air. When it would leave Nashville (picking up wing parts for Airbus from Vought Aircraft Industries) it would fly here to Manchester, England. If it can't takeoff with enough fuel to make it across the pond i think it's safe to say it will more than likely stop in Gander, NF prior to crossing. Remember, these Antonov aircraft are civilian too. When it would arrive in Nashville most of the time it would arrive direct from either England or somewhere in Russia. NON-STOP.
 

n4jri

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CORN said:
When the Antonov comes to the US it does not refuel in the air. When it would leave Nashville (picking up wing parts for Airbus from Vought Aircraft Industries) it would fly here to Manchester, England. If it can't takeoff with enough fuel to make it across the pond i think it's safe to say it will more than likely stop in Gander, NF prior to crossing. Remember, these Antonov aircraft are civilian too. When it would arrive in Nashville most of the time it would arrive direct from either England or somewhere in Russia. NON-STOP.
This sounds like something my friend could've gotten mixed up with.

Mike,

I looked at what was labeled as an AN-225 on Google Images and I don't think that was it. What I saw labelled as a 224 made more sense, and the 124 could be a possibility in terms of what little I could see of the plane. I'll hope for another chance to get a look at it.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
 

nycrich

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There is commercial air-to-air refullers. Designed mainly for the military, but allowed if they qualify (..contractors for the military, foreign military). Foreign military fly under the assumption that they are conducting military mission, but foreign local commanders can make exceptions. I have seen this occur in S. America.
www.fuelbirds.com
 

Yokoshibu

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I am sure the polar routes or a trip to Gander / Bangor are a better option than paying for a re-fueler to meet you en route!
 

Blkops

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Did it look similar to this? We have these landing all the time at DM. Antonov 223, and the USAF does do mid air refueling to foreign military in the US and abroad airspace if needed. When they land they always download a crap load of equipment/personnel and then leave.



 
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rjviola12

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We have had the jet here in Birmingham on several occasions. Note the paint scheme posted by Blkops. Pretty distinctive. A C-5 or C-17 are very distinctive as well by the typical paint on them as well. Unless it is pretty high, they are easy to pick up in the air, by shape or color. I find this very interesting as well. Let us know. I don't believe mid air refueling would be possible in our air space, for sure. MARSA with military jets is the only way here. We have a wing of KC-135/R's here in Birmingham, call sign Dixie.
 

Blkops

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that plane is a An 223. I'll post the mid air refueling tracks in a bit.
 

n4jri

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Blkops said:
Did it look similar to this? We have these landing all the time at DM. Antonov 223, and the USAF does do mid air refueling to foreign military in the US and abroad airspace if needed. When they land they always download a crap load of equipment/personnel and then leave.
Definitely looks like it. Even the paint job looks like what I remember.

73/Allen (N4JRI)
 

CLB

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I used to service that plane down here in Charleston.

They'd load 2-3 MI-8's and a semi truck (the whole thing, not just the trailer!) chocked FULL of cigarettes.

Russians love their smokes.
 

CORN

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Blkops said:
that plane is a An 223. I'll post the mid air refueling tracks in a bit.
Not to be picky but the plane in the picture is an AN-124 Condor. The commercial version. The AN-225 is the one with 6 Engines. And there is only one of them flying in existance. The Antonov Design Bureau, Volga-Dnepr, and Pollet have several of these AN-124's.
 
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