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Flyovers honor 100th anniversary of aerial refueling over Utah

Posted at 12:55 PM, Jun 26, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — A special show in the skies over Utah celebrated the 100th anniversary of an incredibly important aerial maneuver.

PHOTOS: Check out amazing photos of flyover across Utah

On Tuesday, the U.S. Air Force and Utah Air National Guard took part in flyovers across the state to celebrate a century of aerial refueling.

The flyovers, performed by the 151st Air Refueling Wing stationed at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, began just after 9:30 a.m. above Utah State University in Logan before heading south. The group comprised of a KC-135 and two F-35 aircraft was seen over the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City just after 10:05 a.m.

The very first aerial refueling was performed on June 27, 1923 as a DH-4B passed gasoline through a hose to an identical aircraft. Since then, the maneuver has been an essential part of vital missions around the world.

"If you think about it, imagine what the Wright brothers are thinking right now, right from flying on the coast now, seeing these big aircraft and also doing refilling missions right now," said Chris Adams with the 151st Air Refueling Wing. "So they got to have a big smile on their face."

The flyover group flew down to St. George before turning back towards northern Utah and landing just after noon.

“Air refueling propels our Nation’s air power across the skies, unleashing its full potential,” said Gen. Mike Minihan, Air Mobility Command commander. “It connects our strategic vision with operational reality, ensuring we can reach any corner of the globe with unwavering speed and precision. Air refueling embodies our resolve to defend freedom and project power, leaving an indelible mark on aviation history.”