from Naval Base Coronado
Operation Centennial Contact
100 Years in Air Refueling: June 27, 1923 - June 27, 2023
27 June, around 1:25 p.m., the US Air Force will commemorate 100 years of in air refueling during a historic fly over at Naval Air Station North Island. Please be aware that there will be elevated levels of aircraft noise as these tankers pass overhead.
The year is Oct. 5, 1922. Lts. John A. Macready and Oakley G. Kelly set a world endurance record of 35 hours, 18 minutes, 30 seconds in their Fokker T-2 airplane over San Diego, Calif., for which they received the Mackay Trophy. Had they not run low on gasoline, they could have remained in the air until personal fatigue or mechanical difficulty with the T-2 forced them to land.
To eliminate the fuel limitation problem, the fliers at Rockwell Field, San Diego, developed the DH-4B airplanes. The first successful aerial refueling took place on June 27, 1923, when a DH-4B carrying Lts. Virgil Hine and Frank W. Seifert passed gasoline through a hose to another DH-4B flying beneath it carrying Lts. Lowell H. Smith and John P. Richter.
In honor of the centennial anniversary of this historic aerial achievement, US Air Force tankers will fly over the birthplace of Air Refueling, Naval Air Station North Island, at approximately 1:25 p.m. on 27 June. The formation will include all Air Force active tanker aircraft, two KC-10 Extenders, a KC-135 Stratotanker, and a KC-46 Pegasus.