The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Although I am an ordained deacon of the Catholic Church, the opinions expressed in this blog are my personal opinions. In offering these personal opinions I am not acting as a representative of the Church or any Church organization.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Revisiting the Past

Way back on June 28, 1968, as a student naval aviator, I made my first carrier landings in an old North American T-28C Trojan. 
T-28C Trojan

T-28C Carrier Landing

This morning I collected a few videos (below) which brought back a lot of memories. Flying the T-28 with its big radial engine was like flying an old WW2 fighter. The engine, a Wright R-1820, generated 1,425 hp and gave the T-28C plenty of power. 

Anyway, I thought some of you might like to see what it was like to land on a carrier in those days. It's really not much different today, even in high-performance jets. The carrier landing pattern is pretty much the same, and although the speeds are higher, the modern aircraft have many helpful systems that we certainly lacked. 

Believe me, it was very exciting for the group of us who "carrier qualified" that day. You really didn't feel like a naval aviator until you had made those first carrier landings.

The first video, which two friends pointed out to me a few days ago, is obviously recent and shows a typical F-18 carrier approach pattern and landing. Other than the higher speed and slightly longer final approach, it really isn't much different from the pattern we flew in those old T-28s. After landing the F-18 is then taxied out of the landing/take-off area, maybe to await a catapult launch or simply to shut down. The below diagram shows you the pattern flown by the F-18 in the video:

The second video is a vintage Navy training film of the kind I sat through many times. Don't you just love the opening music! It's a bit longer -- 12+ minutes -- but gives a pretty good picture of what it was like on that day we first landed on an aircraft carrier. It always looked so much easier in the film than it actually was. Fortunately, we had been doing field carrier landing practices (FCLPs) for many weeks before we went out to "hit the boat."  You also get to see the take-off. When you took off from a carrier in the T-28 you didn't catapult off, but performed what was called a deck launch or run -- just flying off by adding full power with, you hoped, lots of wind over the deck.

The third video, made in the 1970s, is a clever and fairly realistic animation and is also a bit longer -- 13+ minutes. It shows a single T-28C aircraft flying out to the carrier from Saufley Field in Pensacola. It makes a single landing and then a non-catapult takeoff.

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