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On the following pictures, you can see a guy in green showing a panel-like device with numbers on it to the pilot of the Super-Hornet that is about to launch from the carrier USS John C. Stennis.

  • What is this panel for?
  • What information is the pilot given?
  • Why just before takeoff and not while boarding/briefing?

panel one panel two

Pictures taken from:

at 03:46

Edit: I won't accept this question as a duplicate. It may contain the answer

Taxiing up to the catapult, a green shirt will hold up the weight board. If the weight on the board matches the weight on the weight chit, acknowledge ...

but the question isn't really about that part and quite "hidden".

share|improve this question
Possible duplicate of What is the force exerted by the catapult on aircraft carriers? – fooot Mar 29 at 16:37
@fooot I assume you are saying that he is showing the set catapult force to the pilot for verification purposes? I read the linked answer but it does not address what is displayed on that box. – Ron Beyer Mar 29 at 16:48
In the accepted answer, a green shirt will hold up the weight board, which is what your pictures illustrate. – fooot Mar 29 at 16:52
@fooot, I don't see an accepted answer (yet). Did I miss something? – FreeMan Mar 29 at 17:08
@fooot, ah, got it. The "possible duplicate" really isn't a dupe, but it is definitely related and happens to contain the answer. – FreeMan Mar 29 at 17:16
up vote 32 down vote accepted

That's a weight check. The sign has the weight of the aircraft in pounds. The catapult crew guy first shows the presumed weight to the PIC who must give a thumbs up, agreeing, "Yes, that is the weight I believe my aircraft to have."

The crew guy must then show the same exact set of numbers to the catapult chief operator, who must also approve it: "Yes, the catapult is set to launch that weight.

You can actually see both verifications happening in the two photographs above, the first one is to the PIC, the second to the catapult operator. Only when both verifications have occurred will a launch be permitted.

share|improve this answer
I have no reason to doubt you, I'm just curious what your source is for that? – FreeMan Mar 29 at 17:07
@FreeMan I am a civilian, but I do a lot of advanced research for the navy so I know exactly how CVN systems work, including their flight operations. – Tyler Durden Mar 29 at 17:10
Whats the units of that number? – David Grinberg Mar 29 at 17:38
@DavidGrinberg Pounds. At 44k that would suggest just a patrol flight or training flight with no ordnance. When an F-18 is loaded up with bombs it can be well over 50,000 lbs. – Tyler Durden Mar 29 at 17:43
Is that number rounded? Seems hard to believe the aircraft would weigh 44k on the dot. – DasBeasto Mar 30 at 13:10

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