Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L - Launch and Recovery off a Carrier

My Theme / Timeline

While we were out in the Gulf, I was chosen for the second shift of workers to be sent into Bahrain to work in the airport, sending mail & supplies back out to the ship.

The cool part of this was I got to fly in a C2 cargo plane (aka a COD) and a month later, got to go back to the boat the same way.  A COD, you may ask?  Yawn!  But since I was stationed on the Lincoln, I got to be launched & recovered from the flight deck!

(from WestPac 95 Cruise Book)
preparing to land

The passenger seats face backwards in a Cod.  So in preparation to launch, you have to lean forward into your 5 point harness and look down so the sudden acceleration doesn't give you whiplash!  A catapult can make a plane reach 140 knots or so, in just over 300 feet!  And to be recovered, you have to lean back into your seat and brace yourself, since the plane's tailhook grabs the arresting wire across the deck and you stop really fast - as in 130 knots to 0 in about 340 feet.  Awesome experience!

Just an interesting tidbit.  In case of emergency, if for some reason the plane can't use the arresting wire, the flight deck personnel can rig a barricade - a big cargo net - that can catch a plane.

2 weeks later, the guy who replaced me had to return to the ship to take the next advancement exam.  Since I was the only one in the post office who was not eligible for that round of exams, I was sent back to Bahrain.  This time I got to fly in a USMC CH-53E Black Stallion helicopter!  These are some seriously huge transport helos!  Whenever they landed on the flight deck, we often had to lay across the pile of mail bags and hold on to whatever we could to prevent them from blowing overboard!  These helos could easily fit several jeeps as well as over 30 people.

these aren't the actual helos I flew in, but it's the same type

Inside the actual helo I rode in.  Since we were much closer to Bahrain than when I took the Cod, they flew lower and left the back hatch open slightly.  The water in the Persian Gulf is a beautiful shade of blue!

I have to say this tops my list of coolest experiences EVER!



  1. Awesome experience!!!! So fun!!!! Loved reading about this adventure!

    1. Thanks! I had to have gaped like an idiot the whole time, especially in the helo!

  2. Replies
    1. It was. Totally something I never thought I'd get to do!


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