Click Here for 23 minutes of footage taken aboard CV-59 Forrestal during its shakedown with ATG-181 in February/March 1956, courtesy of the video library of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
The Air Task Group, tail code I, consisted of:
VF-41 Black Aces F2H-3 1XX
VF-21 Mach Busters FJ-3 2XX
VA-86 Sidewinders F7U-3M 3XX
VA-42 Green Pawns AD-6 4XX
VAH-6 (NH) Det 42 Go-Devils AJ-2 XX
VC-12 (NE) Det 42* AD-5W 7XX
VC-33 (SS) Det 42 Night Hawks AD-5N 8XX
VC-62 (PL) Det 42 Fighting Photos F2H-2P 9XX
HU-2 (UR) Det 42 Fleet Angels HUP-2 XX
*Possibly not in any of the footage
There are a number of transitions to be seen. For one thing, some aircraft are blue and others in the same squadron are grey/white. (The F7Us are still in the experimental "unpainted" scheme.) Click Here for some background on the color scheme change that was decreed a year earlier.
One of the grey/white AD Skyraiders has a black-painted area where the exhaust stains would have otherwise been evident. This was typical of gray/white USAF A-1s in the Vietnam War but I'd not noticed it before on a Navy AD.
Another transition example is that the pilots are still using the flat approach to a cut as directed by the LSO, not the descending approach using the mirror landing system. In one segment, an F2H is on short final with another close behind.
All but one of the FJ-3 landings are with the canopies closed as would subsequently be the practice.
Here for a description of the barriers and the barricade) after an incident or two when the upper strap of the barricade went into the cockpit of a crashing jet. Note that the FJ-3s are taking off with open canopies.
Why are the F7Us in an attack squadron, particularly since they are supposedly the Sparrow-missile armed Ms? The answer is probably that the Navy was transitioning to jet attack and had F7U-3Ms excess to their fighter requirements. Note that in the F7U wave-offs (both of which appear to be from too high a start) and the bolter, the Cutlass hooks are not down. This was a familiarization process building up to the first trap: the approach was the important part of the maneuver and more could be fit into a flight period if there were no traps in between.
The deck runs made the launch a lot quicker but were only practical with propeller-driven airplanes. (The white stripes at an angle to the dashed stripe led to the bow catapults.)
However, it appears that the A3D and A4D were qualified with JATO to allow them to make deck runs if the catapults were down the nuclear strike was called for. An F4D pilot also made a successful deck run, off a British carrier, after he unknowingly lost his catapult holdback capability upon launch from Saratoga to land aboard Ark Royal. Click Here
The F2H-3/4 Banshees had a nose gear that extended for launch. This (and the steam catapult) mostly made up for the fact that they were heavier than the F2H-2 but had the same wing and engines. Note the difference between the attitude of this Banshee about to be launched and the ones in the picture above.
The FJ-3s were started and taxied forward to the bow catapults with the FOD screen in place.
Lots of other details of carrier operation can also be seen, like the little three-wheel self-powered start carts as well as a contrast between the personnel cranials and float coats used today versus their absence then. The use of catapult straps and a separate holdback as described Here instead of todays nose launch arrangement is also noteworthy.