At 2:20 of this video, it appears that the tail hook of the F7U-3 bounces off the flight deck a couple of times before catching a wire. Does this still happen with more modern fighters or has something been done to prevent this from happening?

Note: at some point after this, there is a fatal ramp strike incident.

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    $\begingroup$ This is called a "hook skip bolter". Tail hooks have dampening systems to help prevent that, but a lot of it I think is just downward pressure from the hook lowering system. I'm trying to find a diagram that shows how it works... $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Mar 22, 2017 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ From what I read, having the correct airspeed (and thus AoA) will ensure the aircraft is at a proper attitude for the tail hook to work correctly $\endgroup$
    – kevin
    Mar 22, 2017 at 22:01
  • $\begingroup$ Please don't make edits to closed posts if the edit doesn't fix the reason the post was closed. Upper-casing that person's "I"s just took up a bunch of people's time by causing a reopen vote. $\endgroup$ Apr 17, 2017 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


The tailhook assembly on a modern carrier or terrestrial fighter has a hydraulic damping assembly which forces the hook to stay extended and dampens the impact of the hook into the runway or flight deck. Without it the hook would bounce off the deck on impact and potentially strike the tail of the aircraft.

This was a major problem during early ship trials of the F-35C airplane the first time it went out to the boat, resulting in an unacceptable 30% boarding rate due to a faulty tailhook design. The tailhook assembly has since been redesigned and worked well during later sea trials of the jet.

This damping assembly is quite powerful and can injure or kill careless personnel should the uplock accidentally disengage, hence the DANGER TAILHOOK markings on the aft fuselage of some navy aircraft.

The system will handle most landings; on occasion a pilot slams the jet down hard enough that the hook will jump off the deck missing all of the wires. This is called a hook skip. It is handled just like any other bolter: Full power at touchdown and go around to enter the bolter pattern for another try.

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    $\begingroup$ F-35C problems in detail: theaviationist.com/2012/01/09/f-35c-hook-problems $\endgroup$ Mar 23, 2017 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ At least one of three aircraft I flew with a tailhook used pneumatic pressure. (EA-6B, hydraulically retracted, extended by gravity and pneumatic pressure) Hydraulic doesn't really make sense because it is incompressible. Do you know that this is a fact for any aircraft? If not I would consider changing this... $\endgroup$ Mar 13, 2022 at 18:30

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