By Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Almost 50 years Ago!

On 1 November 1960, give or take a day or two, Forrestal was being borrowed by NATC for additional carrier trials of new aircraft about to be delivered to the fleet: the Vought F8U-2, the North American A3J-1, and the McDonnell F4H-1. They have been positioned for a launch event on a gray day in the Atlantic. Each will be started and taxied back for launch from the starboard bow catapult. This route involves both turning out of and into the strong wind over deck that might be needed for launch, a check of braking and steering capability.

The requisite bridles/pendants to attach the airplanes to the catapult and holdback pendants to restrain them until the catapult has begun to stroke are piled along the starboard side of the deck. These predate the nose gear-mounted hardware that will be introduced with the next generation of carrier-based airplanes to simplify the process.

I believe that the photo was taken by Pete Bulban, an Aviation Week writer for many years. In any event, it was in his collection that was obtained by Jay Miller.

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