Aerial refueling is a dangerous process where fuel is transferred from one military aircraft to another mid-flight. It was adopted in widespread use during World War II, and has been used during multiple wars since then, to extend the range of aircraft on missions and reduce the take-off fuel weight to allow more payload onboard.
The first such aerial refueling took place on June 27, 1923 when two members of the United States Army Air Force, Capt. Lowell H. Smith and Lt. John P. Richter, flew in De Havilland Airco DH.48B's. A hose was passed down from the tanker aircraft, flown by Lts. Virgil Hine and Frank W. Seifert, to Smith and Richter's plane.
Problems with Smith's engine prevented the duo from setting world records on the day, but they would do so two months later - 16 records to be exact, for speed, distance and duration.
Photographer: US Army
Date taken: June 27, 1923
Location taken: Rockwell Field, California, USA
Source: Wikimedia Commons
- 1923-06-27 Capt. Lowell H. Smith and Lt. John P. Richter perform the first ever aerial refueling in a DH-4B biplane
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