Once man had mastered the ability to fly, there came the desire to fly faster, higher and further with increased payloads. Some of the earliest experiments with air-to-air refuelling occurred in the 1920s and as long-distance record attempts progressed, Alan Cobham was in the thick of it. Cobham would later revolutionise air-to-air refuelling, initially with the 'Grapple-line looped-hose' system, along with the formation of Flight Refuelling Limited (FRL). By the 1930s, the emphasis was on transatlantic flights - especially by providing a faster postal service between Europe and the USA. With the advent of the Cold War, the need for air-to-air refuelling became a clear military requirement. When Boeing announced the Model 367-80, the USAF saw a unique opportunity and placed large orders for the KC-135A version. Meanwhile, the RAF also saw the necessity for tanker aircraft to support its new V-bomber force. Initially, surplus Valiant bombers were converted and later Vulcan and Victor aircraft too. Today, air-to-air refuelling is an essential part of modern warfare, providing both strategic and tactical tanking capabilities. This book is profusely illustrated with images from a variety of sources including the Air Historical Branch and the author's own extensive collection - many of which have never previously been published - and all are supported with a concise but informative text.
AUTHOR: Keith Wilson has been involved in aviation publishing for more than 30 years and is probably best known for his striking air-to-air images in Pilot magazine. He has more than 1,500 air-to-air sorties under his belt, shooting almost 2,000 different aircraft in the process. He has photographed a very broad range of subjects, from gliders, vintage and veteran, aerobatics and general aviation right through high-altitude research aircraft, biz jets, commercial jets and military fast jets. During this time he has amassed a photographic library of around 300,000 images. He has worked for a number of well-known aviation companies across Europe and flying is also his hobby. He obtained a Private Pilots Licence back in 1981 and continues to fly at every opportunity.