By Tommy H. Thomason

Monday, April 20, 2009

If You Can Read This...

Ramp strikes occur when a pilot gets too low on an approach to the carrier and hits the round-down at the aft end of the deck. Many end very badly unless it is just a hook slap. Rare now, they occurred more frequently before the advent of the angled deck as pilots were concerned about landing long on an axial deck and crashing into the barriers that protected the people and airplanes forward. The landing signal officer will call "power" if the approaching airplane begins to sink below the proper glide path.

Several years ago, I spent a day and a night as a guest aboard the carrier Eisenhower off Norfolk while it was being used for carrier qualifications by F-18 Hornet pilots. Day landings were straight forward, with few bolters, fewer waveoffs, and an occasional desultory call by the Landing Signal Officer for "power". Night landings were entirely different. Frequent waveoffs and bolters, and often the call for "Power, Power!, POWER!!" After one of these, the LSO went so far as to call the pilot on his downwind and say, "When I say Power, you add Power. Don't second-guess me. Do it again and I'm sending you to the beach."

If you click on the picture*, you should be able to read the warning on the ramp...

*USN 090415-N-7241L-239 by Specialist second class Nathan Laird

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