• NC Software is having a Black Friday Sale Event thru December 4th on Logbook Pro, APDL - Airline Pilot Logbook, Cirrus Elite Binders, and more. Use coupon code BF2020 at checkout to redeem 15% off your purchase. Click here to shop now.
  • NC Software is proud to announce the release of APDL - Airline Pilot Logbook version 10.0. Click here to view APDL on the Apple App store and install now.

landing on an aircraft carrier

cforst513

Giggity giggity goo!!!
Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Posts
1,854
Total Time
2100
is there any sort of an ILS or aid to help pilots landing on a carrier, or is it all visual? i can't imagine. i'm watching a show about aircraft carriers on the history channel and it's amazing. 2.15 crashes per 100,000 landings on a carrier. to me, that seems pretty good!!! the host said that the pilots have to land on the centerline due to space constraints and the margin of error is 5 feet to either side. i'd have killed myself LOOOOOOOOONG ago, if that's the case!!
 

pilotyip

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
13,629
Total Time
14000
Long time ago

I am a rookie when it comes to landing on aircraft carriers; I only have 25 landings. My experiences come from flying the C1A aboard the USS Enterprise back in the 70's. Back in those days the ships still had their own COD attached to the ship for ship's comapny to fly. I was a CQ co-pilot. I got to make landings when there was no passengers on board. We never carried pax at night or IFR so all my landings were day VFR. I believe at that time if it was IFR, you got a CCA, which was a precision radar approach to a 1/4-mile. The primary visual aid is the thing called the "Meatball" which is a orange ball of light that when aligned with the green reference lights puts you on the proper Glideslope for the ship. You just looked out the window, kept the meatball in the center with power, worked to stay on centerline there was no cross wind, and worked airspeed with nose attitude. You never looked at the ship or the landing area because it is moving away from you and creates an optical illusion. The visual Glideslope will vary with the speed of ship through the water to make 25KT across the deck. You did not flare, when the cut lights came on, you just cut the power and flew into the ship and caught a wire. Our approach speed was 92 Kts, so with 25 Kts of wind across the deck the closure rate was not all that fast. As far a being off of center line some airplanes it was very critical because of wing span, but I also remember something about an off center engagement of the arresting wire causing undo stress on the arresting gear. It was fun, and the Cat shot was the real thrill.
 
Last edited:

SIG600

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2001
Posts
1,592
Total Time
375
There is a precision approach called ACLS. It's basically like ILS needles, and you fly it like an ILS. Can also be coupled to an auto-throttle/autoland function on some birds. Not to many guys I've talked to trust the system. I've heard of near ramp strikes with centered needles using the system. As far as flying the ball, the old lens had 5 cells top to bottom. Basically a very precise VASI. At 3/4 of a mile it's about 20' full scale from high ball to low, and at the ramp 4' from top to bottom. The new "I-flaws" (I can't remember how to spell the acronym) has something like 12 cells and is MUCH more sensitive. Before when you rolled out in the groove at 3/4 mile, with a centered ball (hopefully), you didn't know if you were on the high side or low side of that center cell. With the new lens there's no question. Kind of looks like LED lights rather than just a big yellow ball. As far as actually flying the ball, it's all power. High ball, pull power, low add power. You're constantly adjusting your AOA with the nose. Fast, a little nose up, slow, nose down. So if you have something like a low ball, and a fast indication, just leave the power, pull a little nose up to get your on-speed AOA and center the ball. There are 100 little adjustments like that to be made in the 18 seconds you're in the groove. 2.15 in 100K is more like the accident rate per flight hours, sounds way to low for actual landings, but whadda I know?

As far as wing tip clearance in the LA, it's all about what you're flying. It is pretty tight for a COD or E-2 guy, but if you're talking about a T-45 that has stubby little wings, it's plenty of room. They generally don't send guys to the boat if they think their gonna kill themselves, but crap does still happen.
 

Foxcow

screwed
Joined
Sep 15, 2004
Posts
343
Total Time
meh...
What happens when the deck is pitching? I have an idea but I dont want to make a fool of myself :D
 

SIG600

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2001
Posts
1,592
Total Time
375
The thing gets harder to land on... LSO's can also give you corrections as the deck pitches, and tell you to ignore certain things you see. Say if the deck were to pitch up, you see a wicked low ball, and make a huge power correction, deck pitches down, now you're clara high. They'll give you sugar calls to get you aboard.

The LSO's can also take manual control of the ball so that as the deck pitches, what you're seeing on the ball dosen't change. They show you what they want you to see on the lens. Trust paddles, paddles is always right....
 
Last edited:

sardaddy

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 16, 2004
Posts
155
Total Time
3500
I wish I had as much room as they do on a carrier to land. It is like an airport. If as they say, a Navy pilot has to land on a postage stamp, Coast Guard pilots have to land on the fringe of a postage stamp. My rotor blades hang over the side of the ship even when I land dead center.

Just a friendly dig from a helo bubba. I have the utmost respect for anyone landing on a carrier.
 

SIG600

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2001
Posts
1,592
Total Time
375
sardaddy said:
Just a friendly dig from a helo bubba. I have the utmost respect for anyone landing on a carrier.
Hehehe... must be nice to hang out, hover, and observe before you make your approach. 130 knots and 15 seconds in the groove dosen't give you much time to plan an attack. :) (For the record, I plan on finding a way to spend my MGIB money on helo ratings... just for the fun of it.)
 

kc135ang

Active member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Posts
43
Total Time
5400
Postage stamp...ha ha....and I struggle to put the Kc-135 down in the first 3000 ft.. I have to say, carrier guys must have a huge set of brass one's, but nothing else!
 

pilotyip

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
13,629
Total Time
14000
Postage Stamp?

Postage stamp? CVNs are big; I did my first landings on a 27C, now those were tiny. Lets see if I remember correctly, CVN-65 it is 200' to the one wire, 27C it is 75' to the one wire. I did my first landings on CVS-15, in a T-28 you go out solo, total flight time around 125 hours. You deck launch after you land, meaning no cat shot. I remember the words of the instructor briefing on take off procedure, "When the end of ship disappears in front of your nose, pull the stick as far back as you can, do not look at the airspeed indicator, it will not show anything". So I followed his instructions, but I did look at the airspeed indicator, he was right it did not show anything. What an adventure.
 
Last edited:

Say Again Over

With you
Joined
Nov 4, 2005
Posts
1,162
Total Time
13K
The ILS on the boat is called TRN-28, gives you needles similar to the ILS system, ACLS is a system that can link to the aircraft for a automatic "hands free landing", this system has a deck compensate feature that will adjust for pitching seas.
 

rhinodriver

More Cow Bell!
Joined
Dec 17, 2004
Posts
72
Total Time
3800
It has certainly become safer as the equipment we fly improves, however there are still plenty of situations out there to raise your pucker factor.

The SPN-41, or "Bullseye" as we know it, is very similar to a civilian ILS and is flown in the same mannor. Although one would think that an ILS is very precise (and it is for most situations) on the carrier there is also an even more precise approach utilizing the SPN-42, or "Needles". It does indeed allow the pilot to couple the aircraft to the system (if you fly an F-18) and automatically land the aircraft. Other aircraft are not able to couple to the system based on limitations in the auto-pilots of those aircraft.

I just hit my 600th trap 4 days ago and I have yet to do a coupled landing. There is no way I'm going to let some system do my work for me. As a former LSO I have witnessed some coupled passes that you can not see any deviations in the aircrafts glide slope. I have also seen the system try to fly a guy into the round down. Just the other night I saw a Super Hornet manage to "save" a coupled pass. He "clicked out" when the system tried to fly him into the island. He ended up landing about 15' right of centerline and just about took out 3 aircraft and pilots parked along the foul line. Scary!
 

SIG600

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2001
Posts
1,592
Total Time
375
rhinodriver said:
Just the other night I saw a Super Hornet manage to "save" a coupled pass. He "clicked out" when the system tried to fly him into the island. He ended up landing about 15' right of centerline and just about took out 3 aircraft and pilots parked along the foul line. Scary!

Did he need a crow bar to get the seat cushion out of his ass after that one? Yikes...
 

RS6

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2004
Posts
51
Total Time
5000
some pretty good video...couldn't open the F14 missed.

The BEST one I have EVER seen, is an Intruder going missed off the angled deck...

guess the pilot thought he caught the wire, then realized he didn't, and added power 'just a bit too late'.

The A6 disappeared from the camera shot as it sunk below the deck, then you see the two guys eject...

then a moment later the A6 emergers and flys away...

that really is priceless.

Anyone have a link?
 

SIG600

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 18, 2001
Posts
1,592
Total Time
375
RS6 said:
then a moment later the A6 emergers and flys away...

that really is priceless.

Saw a Tomcat that did the same thing. Tailhook snapped, they went trickling off the end, both ejected and the plane flies away in full blower. You can't however MMQB a desicion they had to make in about a second and a half. I'd rather eject and have the plane fly away, than stay with it and get run over by the ship/drown/die/you get the point.
 

RS6

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 25, 2004
Posts
51
Total Time
5000
SIG600 said:
I'd rather eject and have the plane fly away, than stay with it and get run over by the ship/drown/die/you get the point.

Heck ya! give it back to the tax payer. That would be my motto.
 
Top