1. Before aircraft tension, the topside safety petty
officer performs the following:
deflectors are raised.
2) Checks the catapult area forward.
3) Supervises the attachment of the holdback
4) Gives the tension signal to the director.
The catapult director performs the following:
1) Checks the catapult area forward.
2) Ensures that the appropriate jet blast
deflectors are raised and that all personnel
are clear of the jet blast and prop wash.
3) Signals the deckedge operator to take
tension, while signaling the pilot to
RELEASE BRAKES; the pilot in turn
applies power as specified in the NATOPS
Manual for that type of aircraft.
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, hangfire, fire.
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
Aircraft to be launched receive a preliminary
engine check before being spotted on the
procedure is for the catapult officer to go
directly into the full power turnup signal after
the aircraft has been tensioned.
The catapult officer verifies steam pressure
readings on the gauges at the center deck panel.
The catapult officer observes the first ready
acknowledges the signal by holding two
fingers overhead, hesitates, and then rotates the
hand rapidly for full engine turnup of the
When the catapult officer starts giving the full
launching operation proceeds.
The deckedge operator, observing the catapult
officer's 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
The launch signal is given only after the
catapult has reached final ready and the pilot of
the aircraft indicates he or she is ready. The
catapult officer ensures that the pilot's head is
back against the headrest, checks that the deck
is clear forward, and then executes the fire
signal. Upon receiving the fire signal, the
deckedge operator makes a final check of the
flight deck and catwalks. If they are clear, he or
she depresses the fire push button.
The deckedge operator must not anticipate the
fire signal; if any discrepancy in aircraft
hookup is noted or if the deck and catwalks are
not clear, he or she must NOT fire but must
suspend and notify the catapult officer of the