Outings Report 50

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Visit to RAF/USAF 100th Air Refuelling Wing at Mildenhall August 20th 2019

We arrived early for vehicle search and Identity check, to enter the USA. The tour was meticulously structured, planned, and executed - as you might expect from a military organisation.   The comprehensive Tour included maintenance and fabrication facilities, an overview lecture of history of the base and Inflight refuelling and a visit to a Boeing KC135 Stratotanker on the flight line. Each Tour stop had two or three extremely friendly and knowledgable specialised staff to inform us, and time was closely monitored.  The maintenance and fabrication facilities were extremely impressive in size, scope and function, with state of the art testing and manufacturing equipment galore – even to a large Faraday cage. These guys hardly needed to refer back to Boeing – they could make most replacement parts of the aircraft themselves.

On the KC135 Stratotanker on the tarmac, we were able to enter the cockpit and also lie on the horizontal refuelling boom operators position in the tail,  -  trying to visualise 900 gallons per min flowing out from the tanker to the receiving aircraft just 35 feet below. There was a final bonus –an unusually high  level of flying activity whilst we were on the tarmac, so, at close quarters,  we saw Osprey helicopters practicing abseiling , a C17 Globemaster transport       and two ear-shattering F 15 Fighters take of –worthy of the Farnborough Air Show. A terrific finale WOW. All of our party were left with an everlasting admiration for the airmen and role of the 100th Air Refuelling Wing.  Everybody got a souvenir of the visit.