Buddy-buddy refuelling is demonstrated here by a Royal Navy Buccaneer 'tanker' of 809 Squadron refuelling a Phantom FG.1 of 892 Squadron from HMS Ark Royal.
This artist's impression depicts the first recorded air-to-air transfer of fuel on November 21, 1921, when stuntman Wesley May, with a 50lb can of petrol strapped to his back, climbed from a Lincoln Standard trainer onto a Curtiss JN-4 Jenny to pour fuel into its fuselage petrol tank.
As the sun glints off an unusually calm North Sea, a USAF/48th FW F-15E from Lakenheath receives 23,640 lit of fuel per min from the boom of 100th ARW/351st ARS KC-135R 62-3541/Holy Terror (flown by a 912nd ARS crew from Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota) on August 9. 1995, whilst another example waits its turn.
Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker refuelling a General Dynamics F-111
In use for four decades, the KC-135 employs the flying boom method of refuelling. Here, USAF KC-135A 57-1474 is seen refuelling Keflavik-based 57th FIS F-4E 66-0344 in 1979.
Boom operator's station of a USAF KC-135R. The boom hoist and telescope controls can be seen on the left hand side of the panel, the operator's chin rest (in red) is in the bottom left of the photograph and the window for observing the receiver is at the top of the photograph.
Examples of the RAF's tanker force: Tristar K.1 ZD943 of 216 Squadron refuels VC10 K.3 ZA140 of 101 Squadron. Although the Tristar has a dual tanker-transport role, the VC 10 can only accommodate a small number of passengers in a forward compartment, the remainder of the cabin being taken up by fuel tanks.
A section of the flight engineer's fuel control panel in a RAF VC 10 K.2 tanker. A Tornado GR.1 can be seen refuelling from the centreline station.
Navigator's eye view of probe and drogue refuelling as a Tornado GR.1 nudges close to the port underwing drogue of VC 10 K.3 ZA149. Features on the tanker are used for formation reference by receiver pilots - they do not watch the drogue.
View from a Tu-16Z Badger tanker with hose extending from the starboard wingtip to the port wingtip of the Tu-16 receiver aircraft, a method uniquely adopted by the Russians for these aircraft.
USAF/420th ARS KB-50J 49-0356 refuels F-101A 54-1472 of the 81st TFW whilst F-100F 56-3833 of the 20th TFW and RB-66B 54-0520 of the 10th TRW/1st TRS close up on the other two drogues during a refuelling demonstration in the early 1960s.
The FRL Mk 20D pod was designed for use on the RAF Argosy C.I transports and is seen here under test on XN814, refuelling XN816. However, the system was not adopted in squadron service.
Although the Royal Navy experimented with helicopter air-to-air refuelling, as seen here during trials with a pair of Wessex HU.5s, the service did not adopt the technique.
RAF Vickers Virginia VIII J7275 refuels Westland Wapiti IIA K1142 during the first public demonstration of the technique at the 1931 Hendon Air Pageant by RAE pilots.
Flight Refuelling Ltd's appropriately registered HP.54 Harrow I tanker G-AFRL refuels Imperial Airways Short S.30 Empire 'C' Class flying-boat G-AFCU/Cabot over Southampton Water circa 1939 using the looped hose method.