Jie Yan


In this work, a finite element model of an in-flight aircraft refueling system is developed. The model is a first attempt to describe the dynamics of a probe-and-drogue refueling system commonly used by Navy aircraft. The purpose of this work is to develop a model of the drogue system to be able to study control and sensor system requirements for an autonomous refueling system. This work is intended as a first introduction to an automated in-flight refueling system with special concentration on the modeling of a probe-and-drogue in-flight refueling system for aircrafts. An understanding of what is an in-flight refueling system and its significance and influence to the advancement of a aircraft is first presented. The main character of the system, such as mass, stiffness, damping effect is found from visual observation of an actual drogue system. While changing these parameters, the responses with different outside forces added on the system, such as impulse response, step response can be controlled. If the modeling response is stable, it is possible to simulate the simplified real outside force, such as exponential increases force used to simulate wind interaction effects in the model predicting the overall system response.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Airplanes--Air refueling--Mathematical models; Airplanes--Refueling; Airplanes, Military

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Agamemnon Crassidis

Advisor/Committee Member

Kevin Kochersberger

Advisor/Committee Member

Jeffrey Kozak


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TL711.R4 Y36 2004


RIT – Main Campus