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USAF celebrates 100 years of air refueling with multi-ship formation flyover across New York


Mon, Jun 26th 2023 01:45 pm

UPDATE: Organizers shared the following:

We're teaming up with the 305th Air Mobility Wing and Air Mobility Command to celebrate 100 years of aerial refueling with a formation flyover across the state for #operationcentennialcontact!

Flyover times for June 27:

  • Ithaca, 1:21 p.m.
  • Jamestown, 1:40 p.m.
  • Buffalo, 1:43 p.m.
  • Niagara, 1:50 p.m.
  • Rochester, 2:01 p.m.
  • Syracuse, 2:14 p.m.
  • Albany, 2:34 p.m.

The flight path for WNY will travel straight from Jamestown to Wilson area, so you can plan your vantage point!

There will be two formations using the same path. The second formation will pass each location 20 minutes after the first formation.

Times and locations subject to change due to mission requirements.

Look for our #kc135 Stratotanker in the formation and give a wave to your Western New York airmen from Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station!

Visit https://www.niagara.afrc.af.mil/ to learn how you can get involved with your #AirForceReserve, or join our team to fly/fix/maintain/support our tankers so we can continue to provide global reach so Airmen can continue to fly, fight and win ... whenever, wherever!


The 914th Air Refueling Wing from the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is joining the 305th Air Mobility Wing from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, for the June 27 flyover demonstration of air refuelers across New York.

A press release stated, “The flyover is one of many aerial demonstrations across the world to honor 100 years of aerial refueling excellence.”

KC-135s, KC-46s and C-17s are scheduled to flyover major areas. Approximate times are:

√ 1:25 p.m., Albany

√ 1:50 p.m., Syracuse

√ 2:05 p.m., Rochester

√ 2:22 p.m., Niagara and Buffalo area (starting from Wilson area straight through toward Jamestown)

√ 2:40 p.m., Jamestown

√ 3:05 p.m., Ithaca

Times and location are dependent on mission requirements.

A press release noted, “With 100 years of experience, today’s U.S. Air Force air refueling capabilities deliver unrivaled rapid global reach for U.S. forces and our allies and partners through the mobility air forces fleet of KC-46, KC-135 and KC-10 tankers. Aerial refueling serves as a force multiplier, increasing the speed, range, lethality, flexibility and versatility of combat aircraft. Tankers also carry cargo and passengers, perform aeromedical evacuations, and enable strategic deterrence for the United States.”

Gen. Mike Minihan, Air Mobility Command commander, said, “Air refueling propels our nation’s air power across the skies, unleashing its full potential. It connects our strategic vision with operational reality, ensuring we can reach any corner of the globe with unwavering speed and precision. Air refueling embodies our resolve to defend freedom and project power, leaving an indelible mark on aviation history.”

The press release added, “Innovation and tenacity, hallmark characteristics of Airmen throughout the service’s history, delivered the game-changing capability, once deemed impossible.

“In the continued pursuit of advanced capabilities and increased endurance, U.S. Army Air Service aviators pulled off the impossible on June 27, 1923. On that day, 1st Lt. Virgil Hine and 1st Lt. Frank W. Seifert, flying a DH-4B, passed gasoline through a hose to another DH-4B flying beneath it carrying Capt. Lowell H. Smith and 1st Lt. John P. Richter, accomplishing the first aerial refueling.

“One hundred years later, the United States Air Force celebrates these Airmen’s tenacity and innovative will that is still thriving in Airmen’s spirits today. 

“This critical capability is essential for the Department of Defense’s most vital missions. To remain relevant in the current and future security environments, the Air Force is in the process of recapitalizing its tanker fleet with the ongoing acquisition of the KC-46A and accelerating its pursuit of the next-generation air refueling system (NGAS), announced in March – propelling forward the capability developed and entrusted to Airmen a century ago.”

Minihan said, “As we embark on the next 100 years of air refueling, we will continue to strengthen our air mobility excellence. We must leverage the remarkable capabilities of air refueling to preserve peace, protect freedom, and bring hope to the world. As mobility airmen, we write the next chapter of air refueling.”

A press release concluded, “Air Mobility Command salutes the visionaries who challenged the status quo of yesteryears while we inspire the next generation of dreamers and out-of-the box thinkers for the challenges ahead.”

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