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In-Flight Refueling

Overview: The remarkable ability of bombers and jet fighters to be refueled while still in flight depends on the skills of In-flight Refueling personnel, more commonly known as Boom Operators.  The name derives from the refueling equipment which is called a flying boom.  In combat operations during the last twenty years, the great majority of air sorties were air-refueled, as tactical locations were usually long distances from supporting airfields.



Specific Tasks:

  • Directs receiver aircraft into air refueling position and advises receiver pilot of actions required to safely maintain position within the air-refueling envelope. 
  • Operates in-flight refueling controls to safely affect contact between tanker and receiving aircraft 
  • Computes weight and balance data and procedures to ensure tanker is properly loaded within safety guidelines 
  • Directs cargo loading and unloading


  • ASVAB score of 55 on General 
  • Demonstrated weight lift of 70 pounds
  • Physical qualification for in-flight refueling duty 
  • Qualification for aviation service
  • Normal depth perception 
  • Eligibility for a Top Secret security clearance
  • Eligibility to deploy and mobilize worldwide
  • Height not less that 64 inches or more than 77 inches


  • Candidates without prior military experience are required to attend 8 ½ weeks of Basic Military Training (BMT) at JB San Antonio-Lackland, TX, followed by Technical Training 
  • Technical Training - 28 days at JB San Antonio-Lackland, TX 
  • College credit earned: Aviation Operations - 11 credits

Related Civilian Careers:

  • Air Crew Members