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X47B refuels in the air all by itself.

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The X47B is a carrier based drone research aircraft. Autonomous refueling has huge potential for commercial airplanes. Long haul heavies and supers use 20% of their fuel to carry the fuel. Imagine the savings if they could meet a tanker enroute to take on enough to complete the flight. Perhaps a bit of the savings could be slipped in the pilots pay packet? ( Mais...

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Torsten Hoff 3
Keeping the fuel in the tanker aloft isn't free, and the heavy/super would either have to come to an orbiting tanker, or the other way around. You're only shifting the problem.
clausingnj 2
Who would then be paying for the tanker aircraft's flight hours?
preacher1 2
That little part seems to have been overlooked and I particularly like the part about a bit of the savings in the pilot's pay packet. Yeah, UhHuh.
Ric Wernicke 1
The tanker would take off and arrive at the predetermined location just in time for the flight to take a sip. The tanker Hobbs time would be quite low, on the order of 20 minutes.
No circling, no waiting.


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