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).
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!
Back To The Index
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.
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.
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.
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.