Mohawk used, s/n 62-5868, it had the SLAR antenna and internal sensor equipment
removed and 300 gallon drop tanks installed instead of the normal 150 gallon.
The probe was "borrowed" from a Navy A-4 and plumbed directly into the
main fuselage tank. Fuel could then be transferred to each drop tank
upon replenishing and back to the main tank later as needed. Bob
don't remember of any other probe kits installed on other OV-1's.
Bob and George flew the
system dry a couple of times just to make sure the refueling receptacle
would stabilize enough to use and the drogue could be pulled back into
the Caribou hydraulically. Testing was done at Fort Benning at 13,000
feet to reduce the chance of sparking between the drogue and probe, all
crews were on oxygen. We probably transferred fuel 10 or 15 times and topped
off my tanks totally on a couple occasions. The airspeeds we used
were dictated by the indicated airspeed the CV-2B (George remember 100kts)
could maintain at higher altitudes. I remember having a rather sluggish
feeling wallowing behind the CV-2B.There was concern also of an overrun
of the drogue and getting it in the propeller blades. The OV-1B had
no speed boards to stop forward movement so the only way to rapidly slow
was to idle the thrust levers and walk the rudders side to side.
This was NOT a deployable
system. It was a test of feasibility only. The fuel transfer
was slow due not only to the reduced flow caused by the overtaxed CV-2B
hydraulic system but the small piping leading into the main fuel tank of
the OV-1 and to the drop tanks. The reel had no responsiveness to
it. Ideally as you engage it with the probe it should slowly retract
5 or 10 feet to give a little leeway on aircraft positioning. Instead,
the lack of response caused the hose to droop and sometimes snap like a
black snake whip. Exciting. Fortunately, no one was hurt, no
equipment damaged and we proved our point.
Other caribou pilots assigned
to this project were George Downer and Fred Chism.