An Innovative In-Flight Refueling Probe Component that Eliminates Accidental Overload of the Mast Assemble During Air Refueling

Period of Performance: 08/28/2009 - 10/29/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Stirling Dynamics Incorporated
4030 Lake Washington Blvd NE, Suite 205
Kirkland, WA 98033
Principal Investigator


A flexible hose and drogue system typically employed in military aircraft refueling operations has proven reliable except when excessive shear forces on the receiving aircraft s refueling probe are induced, which can induce a break-away design feature. New concepts are required to eliminate this break-away feature, reducing FOD and potential damage to the aircraft. This requires a new innovative probe design that can withstand high loads and will not break-away, resulting from utilization of a high strength and flexible attachment mechanism. Innovative concepts may include flexible linkages, active control devices or other attachment mechanisms that can absorb the loads on the probe relative to the drogue. Phase I will develop refueling simulation models of the flexible hose and drogue with the receiving aircraft s refueling probe to predict the induced loads relative to specified operational parameters. The simulation models will be based on existing cable-body dynamic analysis software and a 6 DoF aircraft model in an integrated simulation. Design concepts will then be developed and examined in a number of parametric studies for typical operational scenarios to demonstrate the design feasibility. One or two of the most promising concepts will be down-selected for consideration in Phase II prototype development and testing.