Friday, May 6, 2022

Large, Clanking, Steel, 16#@


That would be the cajones on the featured pilot in this video, (this vid is at least a year old, as the Big Stick, CVN-71, seen herein is currently dry-docked in Bremerton) which randomly popped up in my YouTube feed today.

This is not recruiting poster video; this is the stuff they show to weed people out before they even sign up.

Near anybody can do this on an airfield that isn't moving, or even on a carrier on pool-table flat calm blue seas, on a bright sunny day.

Quite another thing to do it in driving rain, with visibility down to ¼ mile, if that.

"So, coming in at 160 knots (184mph) you're going to land a gray airplane on a gray ship, in gray seas, on a gray day, in a gray fog. Got it?"

There are four arresting wires to hit in a sweet spot only 50 yards long from #1 to #4, and after that, it's "BOLTER! BOLTER! BOLTER!" slam the throttles forward, and go around for another try. This guy just managed to get back aboard after catching the #4 wire.

Later in the video, you can see the arresting gear crew using the tow tug to unkink the cable for the next guy coming in. No word from the video on how long it took to get the pilot's seat cushion out of his over-clenched sphincter after landing.

And then, to make it hard, they'll do this at night.

This is why no one in the Air Farce ever imagines they can do what the carrier-qualled guys can do. Both high skilled, but two completely different worlds.

And somewhere, on one or more of the four deployed CVs, they're doing this right now.

Mad props. Top Gun is barely the tip of the iceberg on this.


be603 said...

And that landing score goes onto the board with all the other pilot rankings as just another day trap.

If it was easy, we'd let the Air Force do it.

JustinR said...

"Near anybody can do this on an airfield that isn't moving... "

Eh, there's a lot of people that can't do it to a fixed runway either.

Carrier quals are an entirely higher difficulty setting on life. Anyone that earns that has my immediate respect.

Aesop said...

@ Justin,

The youngest student pilot on record in the US was 12.

And landings always equal takeoffs. Ideally, the former will be survivable, and on something resembling a landing field.

RandyGC said...

The ability to do this on a routine basis, 24/7 365 is why I'm not especially worried about the PRC aircraft carriers. They have about 100 years of institutional memory (much of it from about 4 years of combat action vs a (initially) Peer rival) to catch up on.

Dan said...

You simply have to be at least slightly insane to be a carrier one fully rational would choose to do that.

Grandpa said...

a pilot friend of mine (navy) was tasked with being the guinea pig on our first 737-700 flight from Atlanta to Key West's postage stamp sized airport. No passengers, cargo only, just to see if we could get the fuckin' plane in and back out of a runway used by either turboprops or regional jets prior to that. Brad made it in, and back out; I asked if he was chosen because of his Navy quals.
He looked at me, in front of his 'zoomie' Chief Pilot, and repeated what I'd heard before: "flare to land, squat to pee"

Robert said...

Then there was the time we had an A-6 Intruder coming in with BIG holes in both wings due to the over-pressured main gear tires exploding during flight. The hydraulic lines are armored; didn't seem to help much. They made it; went kinda sideways, but they made it. At least it wasn't at night.

Plague Monk said...

I love the carriers, and I admire the crews that operate them in all kinds of weather. But, they are as obsolescent as battleships and have been since at least the 1980s, when the Exocet and Harpoon appeared on the scene, along with their Warsaw Pact equivalents.
I participated in several unclassified wargaming exercises with a friend who was involved with the USN professional gaming study groups, and the only way that any surface ship survived more than a few minutes in the event of a major war was because of arbitrary rules. This was in the early 1980s, and while my friend and the others I worked with on the side are long gone, the results are still the same.
As one person in the sub warfare community told me a few years ago when I worked in a facility that was working on both subs and surface ships, "The only utility that carriers have are as reef habitats. Expensive ones at that."
The above should not be taken as criticism of the people working on them. But, their time has passed.

Anonymous said...

"This is why no one in the Air Farce ever imagines they can do what the carrier-qualled guys can do."

Carrier qualified guys and girls. Sorry that bothers you but that is the way it is.

Aesop said...

It's got nothing to do with offending me, they're an offense to mankind and Nature, and only there because of delusions regarding the function of a military, misguided affirmative action policies, and institutionalized sub-standard physical requirements. We're paying for it now, and they will too, eventually.

Aesop said...

@Plague Monk,

They continue to have miles of utility.
That does not, therefore, mean they're invulnerable.
Nor that invulnerability is nor ought to be a requirement for military vessels.
Neither carriers nor submarines (nor missiles, for that matter) are the be-all end-all of naval combat.

The Argies had Exocets, and the UK had carriers. Who won that war?
The swordfight has been endless throughout human history.

JustinR said...

A 12 year old student pilot bouncing grandpa's 152 down the runway on a sunny Saturday at the local non-towered airport ≠ landing a jet with 180 souls in the weather at night in LaGuardia.

Yes, with a lot of training and experience, that student pilot may be able to do it, one day. But then again they may not be able to handle instrument training, wash out, and stay a VFR-only pilot too.

There are certainly lots of doctors over the years that bought light twins and thought if anyone could do it, they could, and proved themselves wrong.

Aesop said...

Granted, Justin, but apples and oranges. Rarified as the air is at your level, even you CATPs don't aim for a moving target.

And let's not forget that even humble Cessna pilots can accomplish amazing things.

Robert said...

I lived on a carrier for a few years and maintained part of the Automatic Carrier Landing System. If the pilot turned it on, the craft could land without him. Not that any of 'em ever did it voluntarily...

Robert said...

Plague Monk: A bubblehead once said "There are two kinds of ocean-going vessels: submarines and targets." During an exercise, we had a sub pop a flare which landed on our flight deck. Sneaky bastards.

John Wilder said...

Courage, training, and skill.