Category Archives: Carriers

Whisper: Still Life

By Whisper, on March 6th, 2011

WhisperStillLife1

Aviation photography has been a hobby of mine for over 15 years now. I truly got the bug in 2003 when the photo lab on Enterprise loaned me a Nikon D100 to take for a spin over Afghanistan and later Iraq. Earlier this year, on the occasion of a short form flight physical, my family was kind enough to throw some cash on the fire and upgrade my old Canon 10D to a 60D.  I hope to make you the beneficiary of this gift as well.

I decided to take my new toy up to the flight deck during a rain storm off the Florida coast last month. Hiding in the thirty knot rain shadow behind the nose of an E-2C Hawkeye parked along the foul line, I watched the day Case III recovery. There are a hundred different things to point out in the photo above, at least one of which I did not notice when composing it.

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Tailhooker’s Prayer

By lex, on September 22nd, 2010

(Ed – An oldie but goodie)

In the Beginning, God created the heavens, and the Aircraft Carrier, and the seas upon which to float it; and yet there was complete Darkness upon the face of the earth. And, as we traveled there came to us, as a voice out of the darkness, an angel of the Lord, saying, “On centerline, on Glideslope, three quarters of a mile, call the ball.” I reflected upon these words, for I was still yet engulfed in complete darkness. With deep feeling and doubt overwhelming my countenance, I glanceth towards my companion at my right hand and saith, “What seeth thou, trusted friend?” And there was a great silence.

Gazing in a searching manner and seeing naught, I raised my voice saying, “Clara…”

And the Lord spoke to me, and He said, “You’re low…power.” As the Lord saith, so shall it be, and I added power; and lo, the ball riseth up onto the bottom of the mirror. But it was a tainted red glow, and surely indicateth Satan’s own influence. And the Lord spoke to me again saying, “Power..Power…Power!!!! …fly the ball.” And lo, the ball had risen up and off the top of the lens, and the great darkness was upon me.

And the voice of the Angel came to me again, saying, “When comfortable, twelve hundred feet, turn downwind.” Whereupon I wandered in the darkness, without direction, for surely the ship’s radar was beset by demons, and there was great confusion cast upon CATCC, and there was a great silence in which there was no comfort to be found. Even my TACAN needle spinneth…and lo, there was chaos; my trusted companion weepeth quietly unto himself and from close behind I heard weeping and gnashing of teeth of our flock. There was a great turmoil within my cockpit for a multitude of serpents had crept therein.

And though we wandered, as if by Providence I found myself within that Holy Corridor, and at twelve hundred feet, among my brethren seeking refuge; and the voice of the Angel of the Lord came to me again, asking of me my needles, and I raised my voice saying, “Up and centered,” and the voice answered, “Roger, fly your needles…”

I reflected upon these words, and I raised my voice in prayer, for though my gyro indicateth it not so, surely my aircraft hath been turned upside down. Verily, as Beelzebub surely wrestled with me, a voice, that of my trusted companion, saith to me calmly, “Friend…fly thy needles, and find comfort in the Lord.” And lo, with deep trembling in my heart, I did, and He guideth me to centered glideslope and centerline, though I know not how it came to be.

And out of the great darkness, the Lord spoke to me again saying, “Roger ball” for now I had faith. And though the ball began to rise at the in close position, my right hand was full of the Spirit, and it squeeketh off power and as in a great miracle my plane stoppeth upon the flight deck, for it hath caught the four wire which the Lord in his infinite wisdom hath placed thirty feet further down the flight deck than the three wire.

And thus bathed in a golden radiance from above, our pilgrimage was at an end, and my spirit was truly reborn. And as I basked in the rapture, the Lord spaketh to me one final time, and He saith, “Lights on deck…”

 

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Hornet Gear

By lex, on October 9th, 2009

Occn’l Reader Peter finds a lovely photo of the Super Sh!t Hot, World Famous Golden Dragon CAG jet departing off Cat 3 (click on the pic for higher).

HornetGear

One of the first aircraft systems lectures I gave as a junior officer was on the FA-18 landing gear. The trailing axle lever arm assembly that you see fully extended on the port main landing gear and partly extended on the starboard is actually quite an elegant (albeit complicated) design that allows for compact stowage at low relative weight compared to older carrier designs.

Carrier landings impose tremendous stresses on aircraft landing gear, which is why tactical naval aircraft tend to have such robust landing assemblies compared to their USAF counterparts. The FA-18 axle lever arm allows for a rolling transfer of landing and take-off loads, and requires a somewhat articulated series of trailing and planing links to ensure that the gear extend and lock down properly.

The axle lever arm and planing link (in particular) were initially “under-engineered”, however. The first is milled from a solid block of titanium, and is on its third generation, having demonstrated an unfortunate tendency prior to redesign to shear after a few hundred arrested landings, while a planing link failure (which prevents the main landing tire from aligning with the aircraft’s longitudinal axis) resulted in one of the first Hornet fatalities.

Thanks for the pic, Pete!

 

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Flanker Ops

By lex, on August 1st, 2009

And now, for something entirely different.

First impressions: An interesting video*, in that “not-quite-right” kind of way. I guess it’s what you get used to. The only thing wronger than that strange transition at the opener – did Russian archers really show that much thigh in battle? – was the flight deck crewman taxiing the Su-33 around without a float coat or cranial.

Pretty impressive pitch pulse capability with the canards. I have to wonder at all that slow speed maneuvering with the speed brake out. I’d be more impressed by the deck run capability and jump ramp if I didn’t know that the Flanker pilot has to download fuel and ordnance to make it happen. I guess you can get more fuel once airborne – the probe should be on the right side, by the way – but it’s harder to onload weapons once the wheels have left the deck.

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A Day in the Life of a DV

By lex, on April 19th, 2008

One of the really fun elements of my job is briefing distinguished visitors about the Navy, naval aviation and our carrier force in preparation for their one day visit to one of our carriers. There’s a shine in their eyes as I tell them that the next 24-hours may well be one of the more fascinating and exciting of their lives. They usually laugh with me when I tell them that the 24-hour clock doesn’t start ticking until I stop talking.

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Land left

By lex, on December 3rd, 2007

Training Command CQ aboard the USS Lexington, AVT-16, back in the late 80′s. The Lady Lex – as contrasted to your correspondent – was a wee, bitty thing with old fashioned equipment: A catapult that was “instant on” – none of your gradually increasing acceleration aboard the Lex – and arresting gear that required due diligence from the pilot and LSO combination to land on centerline, without any drift, since (unlike modern day arresting gear) it had no centering mechanism to keep Dilbert from getting dunked, if he landed in a drift.

LandLeft

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Midway

By lex, on June 4th, 2006

The Brits have a small island and a thousand year navy. They’ve got Camperdown and the Nile and Trafalgar and Jutland.

Us? We’ve got Midway.

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