Military-Grade Awesome, Uncategorized

Christening of the Next Generation Aircraft Carrier – Gerald R. Ford

USS Ford

This morning the new “Next Generation” aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was christened during ceremonies in the Newport News Shipbuilding facilities, Hampton Roads Virginia… you can watch a replay of the ceremonies here.

At 1,080 feet long, 100 feet high, a beam of 134 feet and 250 feet wide at the Flight-Deck, this behemoth used around 47,000 tons of steel and will have over 90,000 tons of displacement.

Replacing the ex-USS Enterprise, it is the first entirely new class of U.S. aircraft carrier in 45 years since the Nimitz of 1968. The island is 140 feet further aft than previous designs and its three aircraft elevators are electromagnetic – doing away with the traditional cable-hoisting. (I wonder if they are still keeping the old-style warning horns? Those things were cool.)

But the BIG news is the Navy’s new EMALS system, which translates into landlubber speak as the “Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System”. This modern technology does away with the steam-powered catapults that have flung aircraft into the sky for the last half-century, which is both exciting and a little sad. Continue reading Christening of the Next Generation Aircraft Carrier – Gerald R. Ford

Moments in History, Uncategorized

“LEFT FULL RUDDER!”

Carrier donuts

Carrier donuts

U-turn!

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) – the 3rd and final ship of the WWII era Midway class Aircraft Carriers, shows off with a demonstration of just how incredibly maneuverable these ships were, 1953.

Along with her older sisters USS Midway (CV-41) and USS Franklin D Rosevelt (CV-42), these triplets were the US Navy’s first “Super-carriers” as they were then known, a superlative that would eventually come to describe the much larger Forrestal design, and even more so those that followed. But for nearly a decade, these three remained the largest and most capable warships in the world.

They had some inherent sea-keeping issues such as a low freeboard – the flightdeck wasn’t very high so bluewater (unbroken waves) would regularly crash over the bow in high seas. And they tended to bob like corks… especially the Midway which had its hull widened to address the freeboard issue, only to create an even bigger monster with a fast roll center, which also caused the ship to corkscrew in rough weather.  It was such a wild ride our system’s gyros would regularly go on the fritz during storms, necessitating a trip up the aft radar tower to fix them, in the rain, in the dark, with only a red penlight to see with, trying not to short anything out or electrocute yourself while planes tried in vain to land down below you. Good times!

These 3 sisters were known to cause the sea-legs of even the saltiest sailors to wobble as they chewed on crackers, even more so than the smaller escort ships that accompanied her (which we joked went over one wave, then under two). They certainly put hair on the chest of all who sailed upon her decks.

BUT, they could also turn on Neptune’s dime.

Nearly 40 years after the lead photo was taken, in February 1991 we would have some fun with that maneuverability Continue reading “LEFT FULL RUDDER!”

Real Life Heroes

A very special thanks…

The USS Midway, at the end of her long career.

Wednesday afternoon, June 20 1990 started out much like any other day. By the time it ended… everything would be very, very different.

(Author’s note: Please indulge me on this Veteran’s Day, while I tell a story of heroism, one very close to my heart. I apologize in advance for any errors, omissions or typos)

Continue reading A very special thanks…

AT Hall of Fame

Now That’s Incredible

Last week we celebrated US Naval Aviation’s 100th birthday, and Monday we featured a neat pic of the ex-USS Enterprise (CV-6) steaming into 1945 New York City after WWII.

Today thanks to a tip by Toasters & Hooniverse regular commenter Justin Eddings, we offer an entirely new twist on the theme.

Behold this mind-bogglingly awesome 1/72 scale replica of the current USS Enterprise, CVN-65.

Scratch built by madman Gabriel Suranyi, this work of art stands 16 feet long, 5 feet wide and 4 feet tall and represents 19 YEARS (as of 2007) of his hard work. It is so exact in fact, that a flat-top sailor would instantly recognize any of the close-up photos. Indeed, the replica represents the USS Enterprise along with the embarked Air-Wing 11 during the ships’ actual 1989 cruise. Continue reading Now That’s Incredible

Moments in History

Cool Pic of the day

In celebration of this weekend’s Fleet-week in San Francisco, we bring you this awesome old photo.

50 years ago, 1961, the aircraft carriers USS Intrepid (CV-11), USS Saratoga (CV-60) and USS Independence (CV62) gathered to celebrate Naval Aviation’s 50th birthday.

A neat look back 50 […]

Moments in History

What happens in Vegas, can sink a navy

 

20 years ago today several thousand Naval Aviators woke up with hangovers and said “Holy crap, thank god Facebook hasn’t been invented yet.”

The week of 8-12 September was the 35th annual symposium of the “Tailhook” association, which refers to a retractable hook underneath the tail of Naval aircraft, allowing them to catch an arresting wire on the flightdeck and stop quickly. Tailhook was formed in 1956 by active duty naval aviators as a non-profit fraternal organization supporting “the interests of sea-based aviation, with emphasis on aircraft carriers.”

At the time little known outside the “bird-farms” of the US Navy, I myself only heard mention of it in passing while hanging out in CATCC (Carrier air Traffic Control Center) on the USS Midway while stationed in Yokosuka Japan that fateful summer of 1991.

What followed would change everything. Continue reading What happens in Vegas, can sink a navy

Startup

Startup: Everyone Flap Your Arms!

The post engineerd did on Friday really triggered a tidbit in my memory about one of the most amazing feats from the Second World War. As I discovered while I was refreshing my memory on the details, it was actually featured quite prominently in the movie Pearl Harbor, which I have not seen because I generally hate movies. I am of course referring to the legendary Doolittle Raid, which was the first American assault on Japanese soil during World War II. This raid was launched from the American aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-8) on April 18, 1942.

Continue reading Startup: Everyone Flap Your Arms!

Military-Grade Awesome, Startup

Startup: A Nuclear-Powered Floating City of Ass-Kicking

Not a sight you want to see in your rear-view mirror. Mostly because it would mean you were driving in the ocean.

If he were still alive, today would be Chester Nimitz’ 126th birthday. And he’d probably be very tired, but he’d still be in active duty. For those who are unaware, Nimitz […]

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