Meatball – lineup – angle of attack.
Nothing matters more to a fixed-wing naval pilot during the final 17 seconds of a landing on an aircraft carrier than those three parameters. But what is a “meatball”? Why is lineup so important and why does it require continuous corrections to maintain? What happens if the landing aircraft’s angle of attack is too far off one way or the other?
This week, US Navy Commander Jack “Farva” Curtis returns to answer these questions, and much more, while wrapping up our discussion on daytime carrier landings begun in episode 13 (and in fact, if you have not listened to that episode you will certainly want to do so prior to consuming this one).
Next week, we conclude our 5-part carrier operations mini-series with what even astronauts say is the most difficult thing they have ever done: night carrier landings.