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X47B refuels in the air all by itself.The X47B is a carrier based drone research aircraft. Autonomous refueling has huge potential for commercial airplanes. Long haul heavies and supers use 20% of their fuel to carry the fuel. Imagine the savings if they could meet a tanker enroute to take on enough to complete the flight. Perhaps a bit of the savings could be slipped in the pilots pay packet? (electronicdesign.com) More...
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Keeping the fuel in the tanker aloft isn't free, and the heavy/super would either have to come to an orbiting tanker, or the other way around. You're only shifting the problem.
Who would then be paying for the tanker aircraft's flight hours?
That little part seems to have been overlooked and I particularly like the part about a bit of the savings in the pilot's pay packet. Yeah, UhHuh.
No circling, no waiting.