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JET FUEL ON THE FLY

At 23,000 feet over the northern Gulf of Mexico, seven F-16s from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds refueled on their way to an air show in Melbourne. They refueled in midair with a KC-135 Stratotanker from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. A KC-135 can hold 83,000 pounds of fuel, which is delivered after the receiving jet's pilot hooks up his aircraft to a boom lowered from the KC-135. A boom operator in the back of the Stratotanker controls the flow of fuel. The 927th Refueling Wing of the 6th Air Mobility Command based at MacDill recently refueled jets fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

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Watch the stunt team

To see video of the Thunderbirds in action go to tampabay.com/video

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