Air International 2023-02
P.Roegies, J.van Toor - Training the Tailhookers
The Search and Rescue helicopter comes in to exchange aircrew and refuel every four hours during the qualification sessions
Small maintenance tasks are performed on board of the carrier. Before operations start most of the aircraft have been serviced to be functional to carry out their daily operations
Each approach is rated by the Landing Signals Officer (LSO) and in case of a missed wire the approach can be rated as still successful if the missed wire was due to conditions on the deck
Aircraft flying in from NAS North Island comprised the F/A-18F Rhinos from the West Coast Fleet Replacement Squadron VFA-122 ‘Flying Eagles’. Their commander aircraft was newly repainted when it landed onboard USS Nimitz
Besides the F/A-18F Rhinos from VFA-122 and the Growlers from VAQ-129 the F-35C, five Lightning II aircraft from VFA-125 also participated in the carrier qualifications
Depending on the number of cycling aircraft, it can be very crowded on the flight deck. The absent Carrier Air Wing means there’s more available space to move aircraft around
Throughout the day several aircraft were cycling though the pattern with up to five or six aircraft simultaneously performing traps.
Steam coming from the catapult on the launch of a VAQ-129 ‘Vikings’ Growler is lit up by the dusk lights
A graduate launches off the deck to start the landing cycles. After completing a cycle of 10 traps, the aircraft lands to change pilot
Upon completion of their qualifications, pilots were transferred off the ship by the Carrier Onboard Delivery (COD) aircraft, the C-2A Greyhound
The F-35C has the ‘Magic Carpet’ technology integrated. This automated system eliminate most of the manual corrections during the last phase of a trap. In some cases the more experienced pilots, or pilots that have made their conversion from the F/A-18 Super Hornet feel reluctant to use the system as they feel troubled trust the system