02 January, 2006

A Sea Story

As long as were on the subject of aircraft carriers, here's a story I just re-discovered...

It's the real thing. As the original poster (a naval aviator himself) says, "Here is the story as told from the pilot's perspective in an e-mail to his buddies ashore. It is a jaw-dropper. This guy needs a wheelbarrow just to get out to his jet..."

Just prior to the end of the stroke [of the catapult launching the jet off the ship] there's a huge flash and a simultaneous boom! and my world is in turmoil. My little pink body is doing 145 knots or so and is 100 feet above the Black Pacific. And there it stays - except for the airspeed, which decreases to 140 knots. The throttles aren't going any farther forward despite my Schwarzzenegerian efforts to make them do so.

From out of the ether I hear a voice say one word: "Jettison." Roger that! A nanosecond later, my two drops and single MER - about 4500 pounds in all - are Black Pacific bound. The airplane leapt up a bit, but not enough.

I'm now about a mile in front of the boat at 160 feet and fluctuating from 135 to 140 knots. The next command out of the ether is another one-worder: "Eject!" I'm still flying so I respond, "Not yet, I've still got it.

The rest of it is here. It's amazing!