arresting gear, and crash and salvage personnel.
Specific launch procedures and sequences are given,
the disposition of aircraft that go down is determined,
and the directors and spotters are informed about their
specific part in the operation. After the briefing,
directors inform their crews of the details of the launch,
and the aircraft are spotted on the flight deck.
Details of the recovery are included in the next
launch briefing, and crews must always be aware that
the need for a ready deck could arise at any time
because of an emergency situation. Since most aircraft
are jets, they are catapulted. Aircraft are spotted as to
type, mission, and what catapult is to be used to ensure
an even, continuous flow to the catapults. Conventional
(reciprocating and turboprop) aircraft can be either
catapulted or deck launched. The search and rescue
helicopter is normally the first aircraft launched and the
last to be recovered.
Flight quarters are usually sounded 1 to 2 hours
before the launch time. The flight deck becomes very
active. All Air Department personnel engage in a
walkdown finds things (nuts, bolts, safety wire, and
general trash) that could be sucked into an aircraft's
engine or blown by exhaust that could cause serious
damage or injury. Plane captains single up on aircraft
tie-down chains. Arming crews load aircraft with the
appropriate armament. Fueling crews check aircraft for
loads. Catapult and arresting gear crews check their
machinery and equipment. Plane-handling crews make
last minute respots and check tow tractors and other
plane-handling equipment. Crash and salvage (C/S) is
manned 24 hours a day. They break out the equipment
the day the vessel gets under way with aircraft aboard.
The only requirement of the crash and salvage crew
thereafter is to inventory and check out the gear.
Approximately 30 minutes before launch time,
flight crews perform their final checks to start the
engines upon the signal from primary fly control
(PRI-FLY). Flight deck control coordinates ground
crews to provide the aircraft with air conditioning,
electrical power ,engine start high-pressure air, move or
respot aircraft as required, and manage all aircraft
securing equipment. Once complete, the first launch
aircraft are started.
Beware of jet blast, props, and rotors.
DIRECTING TAXIING AIRCRAFT
During flight operations, the speed with which
aircraft can be launched and recovered depends largely
upon the efficiency of the plane directors. When
launching, aircraft must be moved out of the spotting
area and positioned on a catapult or takeoff spot, often
coming within inches of the flight deck or other
aircraft. Under these conditions, mistakes prove costly.
When an aircraft lands, it must be released from the
arresting gear, moved forward, and spotted to make
room for the next aircraft landing.
Three important rules for you to remember in
directing taxiing aircraft are as follows:
Make sure the pilot can see the signals. The
standard position for the director is slightly ahead of the
aircraft and in line with the left wing tip, but the
position may have to be adjusted aboard a carrier. A
foolproof test is "if you can see the pilot's eyes, the pilot
can see your signals."
The person being signaled must know and
understand the signals and use them in a precise
manner. Indistinct signals or poor execution of signals
will lead to casualties.
When taxiing an aircraft, you must take
extreme caution to prevent personnel from being
caught in the jet blast exhaust and being severely
burned or blown overboard. Other aircraft and/or
support equipment could suffer a similar fate.
As the carrier turns into the wind, you must have
(PRI-FLY), which gives the catapult officer the signal
to launch, flight deck control for the movement of all
aircraft, and the bridge that gives permission to
commence the launch.
NOTE: Primary flight control (PRI-FLY) has
control for all flight deck lighting, landing spot
lighting, flight deck floodlights, the stabilized glide
slope indicator (SGSI), and the flight deck rotary
When the flight deck is readied (equipment,
lighting, personnel, etc.) and all final checks are
preformed, the proper signals and communications are
given for launch by primary flight control. Then, the
catapult officer launches an aircraft from the catapult,
then another, giving only sufficient time for the first
aircraft to clear the bow of the ship. As the catapult
officer launches an aircraft, the directors move another
aircraft into the launch position. The sequence of time