Questions tagged [aircraft-carrier]

Anything related to the operation of aircraft around carriers: landing, take-off, taxi, storage, etc.

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What does "203" mean?

In Top Gun (1986), Cougar, who is piloting a jet, speaks to a radar operator on radio about unknown aircraft: Cougar: Mustang. Mustang, this is Ghost Rider, 203. I've got him inbound, bogey heading ...
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9 votes
1 answer
734 views

What does "CATs three and four" mean?

I heard this line in Top Gun (1986) film: Airboss: Ready Willard and Simkin off CATs three and four. What does "CATs three and four" mean?
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3 votes
1 answer
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When F/A-18 landing on the carrier the main landing gear touching the runaway first or the hook?

The hook in my opinion must be lower enough to make sure that he gets the proper cable, but it is possible that I'm not right.
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1 vote
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How are the landing lights of the legacy F-18 Hornet seen before landing on the carrier?

The LSO will be able to see the nose gear landing lights to make sure that the aircraft's angle of attack is at $8.1^\circ$ if the aircraft is "on speed". Are these lights (all 3 of them) ...
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18 votes
1 answer
3k views

How do aircraft on the deck of a moving aircraft carrier align their INS/IRS?

I know that the F/A-18C is equiped with a rotary switch for inertial alignment. The switch has two positions, one for ground and the other for carrier operations. Leaving aside the GPS/GNSS, I wonder ...
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1 vote
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What are these ramps on the back of the USS Midway?

Can anyone explain the purpose of these three ramps on either side of the stern on the aircraft carrier the USS Midway?
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201 views

Why so many designs of Chinese carrier-based fighter aircraft?

I'm quite confused about all the carrier-based fighter aircraft projects in China. Could you help me determine which are the different acronyms (same of different?). According to wikipedia, there are ...
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1 vote
1 answer
268 views

Why aren't the 'White shirts' in charge of removing the arresting wires on an aircraft carrier?

I understand that the green shirts are in charge of catapult maintenance, but why are they the ones that remove the arresting cable on US aircraft carriers? White shirts are the landing officials, so ...
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1 answer
282 views

Why did Japanese aircraft carriers in WW2 carry both high and normal octane aviation fuels?

According to Parshall & Tully's Shattered Sword, the four Japanese aircraft carriers lost at the Battle of Midway (1942) carried both high and normal octane aviation fuel. Does anyone here know ...
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1 answer
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How are carrier landings graded?

I'm an aspiring naval aviator (preferably a Hornet or an F-35) and a DCS player. Here's a question for any former navy aviators or LSOs. What would get you a good or bad landing grade on the carrier? ...
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0 answers
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What does a ski jump takeoff feel like?

Some aircraft takeoff from aircraft carriers using a ski jump. What does it feel like to takeoff this way? Does it feel like an alpine ski jump? How does the feeling compare to catapult takeoff?
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-7 votes
2 answers
229 views

How do aircraft land and take off on an aircraft carrier? [duplicate]

The average aircraft carrier length is 1000 feet, and the runway for a really small airport is around a mile long. How do they take off and land?
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37 votes
2 answers
8k views

What do pilots landing on aircraft carriers do when the ship is not visible due to weather?

Say an aircraft takes off of a carrier to do a mission somewhere, and upon returning to the carrier the pilot comes to find that a thick layer of fog has formed just above the surface of the water in ...
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1 vote
2 answers
480 views

What was this helicopter photographed on a Chinese aircraft carrier?

I've read this twit Chinese carrier got photographed by a satellite. On the nose you can find a helicopter and several people around it. What helicopter is that?
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9 votes
1 answer
614 views

How are winter weather operations different if they are based on an aircraft carrier instead of a runway on land?

I am guessing that naval aircraft carriers do not have room for conventional deicing trucks and snowplows. If they need to have frequent takeoffs and landings, time for clearing precipitation may be ...
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1 vote
2 answers
516 views

Why are there so few carrier capable delta wing aircraft?

When looking through various carrier aircraft, I noticed that there seemed to be very few with delta wings. While initially chalking this up to higher stall speeds necessitating higher approach speeds ...
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932 views

What's an "outrigger" for parking aircraft on a carrier?

In this picture of the USS Intrepid (CV-11), there appears to be an aircraft parked with the tail hanging off the deck: (Source) The caption gives a clue: The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS ...
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16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Does an aircraft carrier have a VOR onboard?

I wouldn't think so due to the impracticality of VOR on a moving platform, but aircraft still need to navigate to the aircraft carrier. Would the radial shift around as the boat rocked around? The ...
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3 answers
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What's the meaning of "the break is a level" in a recovery operation of an aircraft carrier?

The break is a level, 180° turn made at 800 feet (240 m), descending to 600 feet (180 m) when established downwind. Landing gear/flaps are lowered, and landing checks are completed. (source: wikimili....
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15 votes
1 answer
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How does the reusable holdback bar work?

Sources: wikimedia.org and ar15.com Holdback bars are used to hold a carrier plane at full thrust until the catapult pulls it for launch. Older bars (right) use a disposable shearable block (item 5) ...
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8 votes
6 answers
12k views

Can an F-16 land on an aircraft carrier, at all?

Looking at the F-16 again, I noticed the tailhook which it seems to have. I know the F-16 is not designed to land on any aircraft carrier, however, if it was between ditching in the ocean and ...
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3 votes
1 answer
481 views

Why, on carrier landings, does the Flight Path Marker (FPM) seem to be placed near to the end of the runway?

On most military aircraft landings, the FPM seems to be usually lined up with the start of the runway, either around the numbers or the aiming point, I would asume this to be the same on carriers for ...
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5 votes
4 answers
4k views

Straight vs. angled aircraft carrier decks: tradeoffs for rolling takeoff?

I have some questions about modern aircraft carriers and the tradeoffs they make when choosing between straight or angled runways when used with modern jet aircraft for rolling takeoffs. This ...
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3 votes
1 answer
433 views

Why does the US Marine Corps fly the Harrier, a VTOL or operationally STOVL aircraft?

The UK flies the Harrier because they have STOBAR carriers, but why does the United States Marine Corps fly the Harrier?
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Is it possible to land a 737 on an aircraft carrier? [duplicate]

I have seen a flight simulator (X-Plane 11) video of landing a 737 on an aircraft carrier (and stopped). Is it possible to land a 737 in real life? What is the biggest aircraft that it is possible to ...
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

What's the story behind U-2 flying from aircraft carriers?

This video from the CIA YouTube channel shows U-2 aircraft launching via catapult and trapping with a tailhook: The description only offers this: After stopping U-...
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7 votes
2 answers
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What is the typical sink rate during a well-executed carrier landing at the moment the main wheels touch the deck?

What is the typical sink rate during a well-executed carrier landing at the moment the main wheels touch the deck? And how has this changed over the decades?
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14 votes
2 answers
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In WW2, how did aircraft navigate to the carrier?

In World War 2, how did aircraft navigate to the carrier after their mission? I was thinking of something like a beacon installed in the carrier but wouldn't it reveal the location of the carrier ...
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5 votes
2 answers
330 views

Do carrier-borne aircraft pilots count the seconds on the downwind leg of the carrier?

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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
406 views

Why don't aircraft carriers have multiple sets of arresting wires?

On this answer to this question regarding the merits of angled flightdecks on aircraft carriers, @JanHudec makes this interesting observation: You don't really have "two flight decks". The ...
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22 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why are special aircraft used for the carriers in the United States Navy?

Why are aircraft such as the legacy F-14 and now the F/A-18 used by the US Navy carriers? It seems to me that developing a new aircraft from the ground up is very expensive. Is it not possible to ...
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29 votes
6 answers
12k views

Can a plane land on an aircraft carrier without support from its crew?

Imagine a scenario where a carrier was dead in the water. No-one inside. Could a plane land on the carrier? What would such a procedure look like potentially?
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6 votes
1 answer
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Are there differences between the runway lighting on a land runway and on an aircraft carrier?

How are the lights on aircraft carriers placed and are there differences to the color/position/number of lights at normal airports?
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1 vote
2 answers
508 views

Is is possible to have an aircraft launched from a submarine or directly from under the water? [duplicate]

There are actually small UAV launched by submerged submarines and projects around submersible aircraft, I'm interested in a view of the current state of launching aircraft from submarines. Does ...
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2 votes
2 answers
763 views

How do I calculate the required heading for an aircraft carrier with an angled deck to sail into the wind?

The natural wind is from 360 degrees at 10 knots. The desired relative wind down the angled deck is 10 degrees left of the ship’s heading at 30 knots. What heading and speed must the carrier go?
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4 votes
3 answers
568 views

Carrier VTOL takeoff or not?

In this picture, shown in a recent news article, a "shooter" seems to be giving a "go forward" command to what I believe is a Lockheed-Martin F-35 aircraft already prepped in a VTOL configuration. But ...
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3 votes
1 answer
3k views

Could a P-3 Orion fly off a carrier?

The C-130 has proven itself eminently capable of landing on a carrier. When the S-2 Viking was retired, the Navy didn't really have a good replacement for anti-submarine ops - but anti-sub warfare ...
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2 votes
1 answer
319 views

How much extra weight is added by strengthening a piston-prop fighter for carrier landings?

To land on a carrier, an aircraft must be strong enough to withstand sudden deceleration by the tail hook catching the arresting wire. I think it also requires strengthening the undercarriage to ...
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49 votes
6 answers
18k views

Has an airplane ever been launched from a submarine?

Airplanes are routinely launched from ocean going vessels, namely carriers. Missiles are routinely launched from submarines. Has an airplane ever been launched from a submarine? From questions ...
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3 votes
0 answers
312 views

What are the differences between FCLP markings and equipment and the LA on a ship?

Most Naval and Marine Corps Air Stations have these markings on at least one or more of their runways: It’s a Field Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP) area and used to maintain proficiency amongst ...
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8 votes
1 answer
3k views

Do U.S. aircraft carriers still include a Marine Corps squadron?

When I was in the 3rd Marine Air Wing back in the early 70s, there was one Marine Corps squadron on each navy aircraft carrier, but on some shows I've seen recently (mostly on the Smithsonian Channel) ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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How big was the F-14 fleet compared to other US carrier-based aircraft in 1981?

Back in the 80's I was away jesting about the F-14 are here to protect the carriers and the carriers to deploy F-14. I know there are a number of other aircraft here for other purposes but I really ...
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8 votes
2 answers
628 views

Were there any folding wing biplanes?

Given that several nations had operational carriers by 1920 and biplanes were still in military service, were there any folding wing biplanes? Wikipedia: United States first purpose built aircraft ...
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6 votes
1 answer
645 views

What is the three-light indicator on carrier-borne airplanes?

(YouTube) The above three-light forward facing indicator can be seen on most (all?) nose landing gears of carrier-borne aircraft. What is it called? I suspect it relays the angle-of-attack / E-...
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2 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are afterburners required to be engaged during catapult launch?

Is it required to engage afterburners during catapult launches from an aircraft carrier? This answer mentions that afterburners are used for night takeoffs as per regulations, but not required during ...
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4 votes
1 answer
628 views

Was a point system implemented to train pilots to land on aircraft carriers?

A long while ago a friend of mine told me that early in the history of aircraft carriers, a lot of planes and pilots were lost due to the increased difficulties of landing planes on a moving runway. ...
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6 votes
1 answer
4k views

Aircraft Carrier Launches: ABE Checks and Signals

Somehow I got hooked on videos of aircraft carrier flight deck operations, and have been binge-watching over the last couple of days. (Glad it's a long weekend...) I've been able to understand many ...
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2 votes
5 answers
4k views

In the old days, why didn't aircraft use simpler systems to land on a Carrier?

In the old days (during and before WW2), Carriers used arresting wires to help aircraft land. In fact this is still used today for jet-based carriers, but I want to ask about the old days with piston-...
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6 votes
1 answer
16k views

What is the 0-60mph time of an aircraft carrier catapult?

Tesla's new Roadster is giving a 0-60mph time of 1.9 seconds. Truly ludicrous acceleration. I was wondering how a fighter jet released from a steam catapult compares.
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5 votes
4 answers
8k views

What happens during a carrier take off?

Watching videos of jets taking off from a carrier, it appears the pilot is holding a hand grip as the jet is catapulted along the deck; then there is 'jerk' type motion as the jet leaves the deck with ...
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