While landing a high-performance jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier may be the most challenging task any naval aviator will ever face, truth is, after a hundred or two of them–most pilots get passably good at it and almost come to enjoy carrier landings. In the daytime. Turn out the lights, add an overcast and suddenly it’s another story. How dark does it get in the middle of the ocean? Really dark. Add some ocean swells and it’s downright terrifying.
On this episode, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander and former landing signal officer Tra “Fish” Calisch joins us to wrap up our 5-part mini-series on aircraft carrier operations with a discussion on what is universally agreed upon to be the single most difficult feat of aviation: landing a high performance jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier at night. We also discuss marshaling and arrival procedures and what happens when the ship heaves up and down in rough seas (hint: it isn’t fun).
During the listener question segment, the host explains what survival gear is in an F/A-18’s A device designed to propel an aircrew occupant safely out of and away from a distressed aircraft. pan, why aircraft fuel levels are measured by weight instead of volume, and his favorite aerial refueling tanker, among other topics.
Episode photography by the U.S. Navy. Bumper music by Incompetech.