Science: Fuel in Flight

Every airminded schoolboy has wondered why airliners do not refuel from flying tankers. The advantages (longer range, lighter takeoff, bigger payload) are obvious. Today an airliner labors off the ground carrying fuel for the whole flight, though it will not need most of it for the first thousand miles or so.

Last week, Flight Refuelling Ltd., a British company, was about to test flying tankers on the air's toughest main line: the stormy, midwinter North Atlantic. If the trials (scheduled for this month) are successful, refueling may eventually come into general use on...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!