On carrier landing, someone tells me that the pilots need to count several seconds on abeam leg of the landing pattern, in order to land precisely on the flight deck. Is that true? What do we call for this operation?
According to the F/A-18's manual, the pilot starts the 180° from downwind when abeam the landing signal officer's platform:
With a 30-knot wind over the deck begin the 180° turn to the final approach when approximately abeam the LSO platform.
Here's the illustration (of course the ship is not fixed, it's moving):
Standard practice is to turn abeam. This results in 10-15 seconds “in the groove” once you roll wings level on final. Because of the angled deck, the turn to final is more than 180 degrees.
This does vary based on wind. Once, when both the natural winds were high and the ship was in a hurry to get somewhere (luckily into the wind) we saw 50 kts wind over the deck. Turned before the bow, so at the 90 it looked like we were pointing at the round down. Just requires using Mark I mod 0 eyeball to judge off norm conditions