Aerial Refueling Tips, Tricks, & Information

Hi, I thought this might be a good place to post some information I built of a static AR Track based on RL AR207 that anyone can use. It’s not perfect but I think it’s a good balance for gameplay vs RL procedures.

AAR Area: AR207 (KVAD - KRDU)

AAR Anchor Waypoint: AMG - RDU

Flight Level: FL220-280



Plane Altitude Speed (KIAS)
F22 20,000-28,000 310 kts
C/AC 130 12,000-22,000 210 kts
F14 20,000-28,000 300 kts
F16 20,000-28,000 300 kts
VC25 (Air Force One) 20,000-28,000 260 kts
KC10 20,000-28,000

Base Airport: KVAD

Tanker Callsign: URCLS XX

NOTAM: Here are some special notes for maximum benefits balancing RL vs Gameplay:

Refuel on track only. Please DO NOT attempt during en route to/from track, take off and final
Copy FPL
Track initial point/ entry at AMG
Meet tanker at BAXLY - ICMF
TANKER make turn for return leg at W77/RASKL
South Track IP is RASKL
Re-establish tanker refueling at SDZ
Return leg terminus left turn will be at RUGOC and re-establish North leg.
Receiver holding pattern, left turns at AMG to wait for Tanker
If no receiver TANKER will orbit BAXLY/ICMF/CIGOX/RUGOC and wait



This track can also be set up for a southern run but needs hold points off the track. With enough discipline of all involved you can have multiple tankers and receivers timed N/S, S/N and altitude stacked between altitudes listed above.

ATC at KAVD/KRDU/KPOB could be of great help if available.

This can be even more complicated due to no direct communication with Tanker and it only takes 1 not wanting to follow established procedures to mess it up.

Anyway, I hope others can put this


I don’t think so. It doesn’t actually take any fuel out of the tanker

It’s all within the same tank. All fuel is used for refueling and flying the actual aircraft.

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Thanks for the help! I really needed some more information on it. I have one question though, how do you request a refueler.

you can request it in here:

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When trying to catch the tanker a/c how do I find the speed at which it is travelling. What I normally do is check the tanker a/c’s speed by pressing on it aand it gives me a speed (which I believe to be ground speed) and set my ground speed to catch it up. However, when I get close I reduce my speed to just a little more than the tankers ground speed and reduce more as I get closer. But, I still tend to overshoot. What am I doing wrong?. For information, I usually fly the F14 and even with spoiler on I still overshoot. Any help would be gratefully received.

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Hi @Divingbertybsac,

congratulations! You found the major difficulty in joining another Aircraft!
The trick is to reduce speed early enough to something not more then 20knots above KIAS of the other aircraft without spoilers. This is an overspeed amount that you should manage to drop of with throttle cut and spoilers.
If you notice that you are to fast at a significant distance, you could flare to achieve a reduction in speed, but its difficult to keep correct attitude by this.
It although depends on the aircraft, for the F16 by example some quick turns are good for speed reduction as well.
The Speed of the other aircraft indicated in IF is Ground speed, that’s correct, but it might help to know the IAS of the other one beforehand. You could get it in the NOTAM in the refuellers tracking thread (link above).
There are some real world procedures you can find with google, but they are difficult to replicate in IF because the main coordination is done by plane to plane communication…

Try to finde out how much speed reduction the F14 has with Throttle cut and spoilers deployed at the same time, or how fare you go for a given speed delta. Those numbers are needed for each aircraft type.

So, keep practice!


Aerial refueling in this sim is a piece of cake…l once had a fighter sim for the pc back in the '80’s where you had to actually position yourself exactly in line with refueling hose so it touched a connection spot on the fighter and locked on …so all you have to do here is get within a sufficient proximity… much easier task !!!

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A video was just uploaded by the official IF-channel!


Just like the f18 it is in severe need of rework

Slight typo @DeerCrusher?

Great tutorial, very helpful!

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No, the hornet normally get refueled by a different method using a basket and drouge hose assembly

Can C-17 be refueled in IF? I’m presuming that it is not possible until it get reworked like F-18.

Aside from the fact that the C-17 is NOT currently listed as capable of AAR…it appears that you have answered your own question !!!

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@Recxx I already knew that C-17 in IF couldn’t be refueled. However, you guys in this thread forgot to mention C-17. Even @DeerCrusher failed to mention it while F-18 was mentioned even through it wasn’t in the list. I was just bring it up so other people would know that it cannot be refueled.

No need to add bunch of the exclamation point or uppercase a word. In fact, just a period is sufficient. Have a great Independence Day!

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Yep. Refueling here is incredibly easy, so I don’t use autopilot. You don’t need to.


Not if you have intermittent but severe wifi lag because the app will say refueling completed when it it not correct…so far have not found a way around it…but hopefully l will by next year !

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We should have boom operator to receiver communication. The terminology, if it has not changed from when I retired in 2012 is:

The visual signal for A/R is the boom down and extended to ten feet. Here are Emission Communication Option Three communications:

Viper 26, (F16), Raid 51 cleared astern.

The F16 or any other rcvr will position 50 feet behind the boom and a little low. We call that the thirty-degree angle. Once the receiver is stable the boom operator will say:

26 cleared to contact.

The boom operator will tell the pilot crew over interphone or interplane exactly where the rcvr is. In other words:

BO: 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 5, then 51 contact.
Rcvr acft: 26 contact.

The BO will control the entire AR telling the pilot team where the rcvr is and verbal corrections to the rcvr pilot.

Verbal Corrections: The A/R envelope for an f16 is 25 upper, 35 lower elevation. 10 Left and Right.

So: Up 4, down 4, left 4, right 4.

I hope this helps and is informative. Email me with questions. I was a Boom for 10 years and a Comm guy for 14.



I was a boom operator on the kc-135. I understand this is a sim but all receivers hand fly their jets during A/R. I am new to the community. I can post the the KC-135 and all receiver A/R speeds if the community would like it? I need a instructions on how to do it. We should form an Air Refueling Wing at one of the US or overseas tanker bases. The sim owners should build the KC135R, the A330 MRTT, and the US KC46 so we can have several tankers to choose from.


A bit of turbulence…n the tomcat hand flying of course 👏🏻👏🏻… but I got some good shots! THANKU @fds9er N445PS