Be sure that steam pressure and temperature gauges
read correctly for the specific type of aircraft to be
6. Check that all gauges read the required pressure
and that all switches are in their correct position.
7. Charge the bridle tensioner regulator to give the
required tensioning force. This force must be checked
daily and recorded to determine the consistency of
8. Check the cylinder elongation indicator gauges
for the correct cylinder elongation, with no more than
1-inch difference between launching cylinders.
9. Check the pumps for proper operation.
10. Place the control console in the FIRST READY
position, and check the lights on all related panels for
BRIDLE TENSIONING. Prior to the start of the
first aircraft launch during day operation, a green
beacon is displayed by the Pri-Fly station to indicate all
is clear for commencement of operation.
With the catapult at FIRST READY and all FIRST
READY (white) lights on, the aircraft is readied for
tensioning. With the aircraft in position on the catapult,
the director signals RELEASE BRAKES by opening
and closing his or her fists several times. With one
hand remaining open overhead, the director gives the
TENSION AIRCRAFT signal to the catapult crew by
sweeping his or her other hand across his or her chest
in the direction of takeoff.
When the catapult director gives the hand signal
that tension is to be taken, the deckedge operator
immediately presses the BRIDLE TENSION button and
verbally relays the message to the console operator via
the sound-powered phone by saying the words
TAKING TENSION. Under normal conditions this is
the last word spoken until the launch is complete. This
is to prevent misunderstanding; for example, misfire,
Only after correct bridle tension has been applied is
control of the aircraft passed, as follows: The director,
upon completing bridle tension, immediately passes
control of the aircraft by pointing both hands toward the
Once the bridle tension is completed, proceed with
the launching operation as follows:
Aircraft to be launched receive a
preliminary engine check before being spotted
on the catapult; therefore, normal operational
procedure is for the catapult officer to go
directly into the FULL POWER TURNUP
signal after the aircraft has been tensioned.
FIRING CATAPULT (FIRST LAUNCHING).
The catapult officer verifies steam pressure readings on
the gauges at the center deck panel. The catapult officer
observes the FIRST READY signal from the deckedge
operator, and acknowledges the signal by holding two
fingers overhead, hesitates, and then rotates the hand
rapidly for FULL ENGINE TURNUP of the aircraft.
When the catapult officer starts giving the FULL
POWER TURNUP (two-finger) signal, the launching
The deckedge operator, observing the catapult
officers FULL POWER TURNUP signal, immediately
presses the STANDBY button. As soon as the
STANDBY (green) light comes on at the deckedge
panel, he or she holds two fingers overhead. The
console operator, observing that the STANDBY (green)
light is on at his or her console, immediately checks all
gauges and lights. If everything is OK, he or she puts
the catapult into FINAL READY condition.
When the FINAL READY condition is reached, all
FINAL READY (red) lights come on, and the
launching operation continues. As soon as the FINAL
READY (red) light comes on at the deckedge panel, the
deckedge operator immediately holds both hands open
above his or her head.
With the aircraft at FULL POWER, the pilot checks
all instruments and gauges. If everything is OK, he or
she gets set and indicates ready by turning his or her
head slightly toward the catapult officer, executes a
right- or left-hand salute, and then positions his or her
head against the cockpit headrest. (The pilot may refuse
to be launched by shaking his or her head negatively, in
which case the catapult officer gives the SUSPENSION