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We are most familiar with under wing fuel tanks, has any operational aircraft ever used over wing fuel tanks?

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ What has the picture to do with your question, are you asking if this is an over wing fuel tank aircraft? $\endgroup$
    – Mast
    Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 12:04

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Early aircraft designs used gravity feed to supply the engines with fuel. All those designs had their tanks located above the wing, and in biplanes in the center of the upper wing. The picture below (source) shows an Etrich Taube with the cylindric fuel tank mounted above the fuselage.

Etrich Taube

The next application of overwing tanks were "Doppelreiter" fuel tanks (slipper fuel tanks) which were used on some German fighter airplanes in WW II. They were mounted above and behind the wing, and to everyone's surprise they had little impact on the top speed of the airplanes, and in case of the Me-309 helped to increase it slightly. They were the first practical application of Küchemann carrots and worked much like the flap track fairings of today's airliners.

FW-190 A with Doppelreiter tanks

FW-190 A with Doppelreiter tanks.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great research! Very interesting. $\endgroup$
    – jwzumwalt
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Peter Kämpf "They were mounted above and behind the wing, and to everyone's surprise they had little impact on the top speed of the airplanes, and in case of the Me-309 helped to increase it slightly" How is it aerodynamically possible? Positively stunning anyway. $\endgroup$
    – user21228
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ @qqjkztd: Area ruling is the answer. At that time, nobody knew of it, so the effect cam as a surprise. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ Any pics of the 309 with the tanks? There are none at the Wiki article linked... $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Feb 21 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan Nope, lots of drawings and plastic models with those tanks on the web, but no original photos, I'm afraid. We still have to wait for someone to upload one. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 22 at 7:41
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Both the Typhoon and English Electric Lightning used over the wing fuel tanks as standard equipment for many years. There may have been others.

enter image description here English Electric Lightning

enter image description here Typhoon (with conforming tanks)

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    $\begingroup$ Seen for Electric Lightening, but for the Typhoon? Seem more like conformal fuel tank(s)... $\endgroup$
    – Kanchu
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 19:08
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    $\begingroup$ "Lightening" means "getting lighter". You mean "lightning": electrical discharge during storms. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 21:28
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    $\begingroup$ The Typhoons fuel tanks in the picture are conformal fuel tanks, not overwing fuel tanks - the F-16 and F-15 also use conformal fuel tanks. The Typhoons conformal fuel tanks are also not in operation, they are still under development. $\endgroup$
    – Moo
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 1:02
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    $\begingroup$ I was just thinking, for the many non-expert but who-doesn't-love-planes readers of this site .... you blokes should just include one word under photos like that, letting the reader know which photo is which. (Probably just "too obvious!" to you!) $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 14:29
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    $\begingroup$ Also, note that the name of the manufacturer is "English Electric". It's "the Lightning, made by English Electric", not "the Lightning, an English plane made by Electric." $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 12:09

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