The view is echoed by Tech Sgt. William Joe Parker, boom operator in the 336t Air Refueling Sqn Boeing KC-135 for the first refueling mission at the Eglin ITC. “He just parked the aircraft behind ours.”
The F-35’s flight-control laws change when the refueling-receptacle doors are opened, making it easier for the pilot to make small corrections, a technique similar to that used in the F-16.
Eglin training missions began soon after the F-35A was reapproved for aerial refueling. The original clearance was withdrawn in 2011 following delayed boom-disconnect issues on test flights at Edwards AFB, Calif. The problem was found to be isolated to a small number of early test aircraft, Kloos says.