VMFAT-501 F-35B Aerial Refueling Training in the Coastal MOAs

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to catch aerial refueling training being conducted by the USMC’s F-35B training squadron, VMFAT-501, out of MCAS Beaufort. Just after lunch OTIS 27 (KC-130J, 166472, VMGR-252) arrived in the Coastal MOAs and checked in with Townsend Range Control, passing their playmates as SWEDE flights. Shortly thereafter, SWEDE 11-13 (F-35B, VMFAT-501) arrived in the MOA and switched to 251.175 to refuel with OTIS 27. They were joined throughout the course of the afternoon by SWEDE 22/23 (F-35B, VMFAT-501) and SWEDE 31/32 (F-35B, VMFAT-501). Below is a recording of some of the aerial refueling activity from 251.175.


SWEDE ## (F-35B, VMFAT-501) flights conducting aerial refueling training with OTIS 27 (KC-130J, 166472, VMGR-252) in the Coastal MOAs on 251.175

The F-35B flights used 326.700, 349.225, and 341.825 respectively for air-to-air. The air-to-air traffic from SWEDE 11-13 on 326.700 was particularly interesting; it seemed that 12 and 13 were the least experienced pilots and 11 was instructing them on 326.700 as they did their plugs with OTIS 27 on 251.175. Around 1:50 in the audio file below, one of the student pilots has a problem with the refueling probe door not closing properly; you can hear him handle it with the instructor pilot prior to returning to MCAS Beaufort.

SWEDE 1# flight air-to-air on 326.700 during aerial refueling training

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