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Questions tagged [aircraft-carrier]

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

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12 votes
2 answers
2k views

What capabilities have been lost with the retirement of the F-14?

As in the title. Ideally, I am looking for a study in the public domain that would summarize the US Navy's loss of capabilities with the disappearance of the Grumman F-14 Tomcat. I will also accept an ...
1 vote
0 answers
137 views

With the loss of a carrier, would American Navy aircraft consider landing on allied carriers in a major conflict? [closed]

Imagine a third world war or a major war involving significant use of carriers, something akin to a modern day variant of the battle of Midway involving carrier battles. It isn't unthinkable that ...
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why didn't we see many VTOL aircraft in the history of aircraft development?

US aircraft carriers mostly use the F/A-18 Hornet. French aircraft carriers mostly use Rafale-M. Indian aircraft carriers mostly use MiG-29K. Chinese use Shenyang J-15. And so forth. None of them are ...
23 votes
5 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
778 views

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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
289 views

Why do the arresting gear cables need to be pushed/ guided back?

Also, what is the yellow metal stick officially called?
25 votes
2 answers
6k views

Slanted Brown Rectangles on Aircraft Carriers?

What are the rectangles adjacent to the arresting gear on Aircraft Carriers? Are they service hatches? https://www.kastalon.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/ford-emals-3.jpg
18 votes
3 answers
5k views

What is the purpose of the arrow on the flightdeck of USS Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

The below photo of Midway class aircraft carrier USS Franklin Delano Roosevelt shows a long white arrow starting on the centerline of the flight deck and continuing up until the "42" at the ...
22 votes
1 answer
6k views

What is the tailhook on naval aircraft made out of?

What is the tailhook that enable naval aircraft to land on aircraft carriers, it must be made out of a strong metal to not bend or 'snap' under the force of the thrust that the plane is expelling, as ...
8 votes
1 answer
759 views

Why are bridles no longer used on carriers?

So, back in the day a lot of carriers had a "bridle" fitted onto the catapult. This was basically a V-shaped cable that attached to two points on the underside of a plane and would basically ...
8 votes
2 answers
437 views

Where can aircraft carriers carry out air operations?

I'm interested in any military or civil airspace regulations about where aircraft carriers are allowed to launch and retrieve aircraft. For example, are fixed wing aircraft allowed to take off from ...
0 votes
2 answers
817 views

Why are catapult carriers' decks flat and leveled?

I know the Russians seems to be planning some sort of catapult then ski-jump system, but I am not talking about that. In the history of all aircraft catapult, they all seems to be launching the ...
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

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?
0 votes
2 answers
598 views

What is the fundamental difference between a land-based jet and a carrier capable jet?

Are the carrier-capable planes designed as carrier-capable from the ground up? Or are they made carrier-capable by modifying a land-capable design? For example, Mig-29 versus Mig-29K ? In the latter ...
13 votes
2 answers
2k 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?
-1 votes
1 answer
427 views

A C130 lands on a carrier. How much energy must be dissipated and where does it all go?

Assumptions must be described and answers must be math justified. Extra credit for plausible obscurity. c130 carrier landing update: From the video the landing roll was 270ft at 85klb and 460ft at ...
3 votes
1 answer
441 views

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.
10 votes
6 answers
21k 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 ...
7 votes
2 answers
4k views

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?
1 vote
2 answers
1k views

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) ...
19 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
275 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
413 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
599 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 ...
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

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 ...
18 votes
2 answers
7k views

Why are these carrier aircraft landing with the canopy open?

I was reading this answer here Aviation.SE, which includes the following video of multiple F7U-3 Cutlasses landing aboard the USS Hancock in 1955 (warning, video includes footage of a fatal rampstrike)...
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the aircraft loss-rate from Nimitz-class aircraft carriers?

What is the aircraft loss-rate from Nimitz-class carriers? That is, what proportion of sorties result in the loss of the aircraft for reasons other than enemy action? I was prompted to ask this ...
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 ...
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

How is a meatball calibrated and checked?

The visual glide slope for aircraft landing on a carrier is a stabilized indicator, the "meatball": Source. The slope is about 4° relatively to the horizontal plane, and stabilized because the ...
8 votes
3 answers
5k views

Can carrier-based aircraft takeoff while the carrier is stationary?

Reading about aircraft carrier operation turns out that carrier operation relies a lot on catapult and carrier itself turns into wind with high rev on propellers. This generate as high wind speed as ...
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

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? ...
2 votes
5 answers
5k 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-...
8 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is landing the 'wrong way' possible on an aircraft carrier?

I wonder if the arresting wires would work the 'other' way?
1 vote
2 answers
534 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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
4k 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) ...
2 votes
0 answers
136 views

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?
10 votes
3 answers
15k views

What is the benefit of a curved up flight deck?

A Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has an interesting aspect: the edge of the runway is raised, which “pushes” the plane in the air during the takeoff. Looking at takeoff videos, the curved ...
-7 votes
2 answers
720 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?
3 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
20 votes
4 answers
5k views

Is is possible to land a midsize commercial plane on an Ford Class aircraft carrier?

I'm story-boarding a novel. I'm toying with the idea of contriving a situation in which a midsize commercial aircraft is forced to make an emergency landing on an aircraft carrier. I read here that ...
37 votes
2 answers
9k 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 ...
5 votes
4 answers
10k 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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the exact responsibility of the Landing Signal Officer on an aircraft carrier?

From Youtube: There are three LSOs apparently working at the same time, providing indications to the pilots: What is the exact role of the LSO? Why three? All of them holding a wave off switch. ...
1 vote
2 answers
520 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?
9 votes
1 answer
944 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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
782 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 ...
9 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
0 votes
3 answers
960 views

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....
16 votes
1 answer
14k views

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) ...
3 votes
1 answer
662 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 ...