By Tommy H. Thomason

Monday, November 17, 2008

Launching Athwartships

In 1928, catapults on the flight deck were considered obstructions by some but hangar deck catapults were of interest. Aircraft could be launched during recoveries and more aircraft could be launched during a shorter period of time. In order to maintain maximum freeboard at the bow and keep water out of the hangar deck, the launch had to be made sideways. or athwartships. One such catapult was installed on Yorktown. To provide enough length for the launch, the airplane was positioned on a outrigger on one side of the ship. like the early production Hellcat shown above, and then catapulted through the hangar deck and out the other side of the ship as shown here.

This concept and the installation of arresting gear forward for landings from the bow aft as well as from the stern forward were operationally evaluated and then removed as not being as worthwhile in practice as they had seemed in theory...

1 comment:

TCinLA said...

All of VF-15 were forced to qualify on the Hornet's catapult, per the orders of Captain (from hell) Miles Browning. Jim Duffy told me the event was "the most terrifying event of my entire naval career." No one was sad to see the catapults go.