Carrier Qualified | Anchors Aweigh

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Carrier Qualified


As I mentioned on Friday, Parker was away last week getting qualified to land the jet on the carrier. This is a really big step in his Naval aviation journey and a dream come true for him. I wanted him to write it down before he forgot any details from this accomplishment (consequences of having a blogger for a wife), and I am really excited to share it with all of you. Take it away, Parker!

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God has given me many blessings in my life.  One of these blessings is the opportunity to serve my country in the United States Navy as a Student Naval Aviator (SNA). Naval aviation has a proud and distinguished history of carrier based flight operations. As you can imagine, a big milestone for any SNA is their first time to visit “the boat.”

For anyone that has read the blog for any amount of time, you know that I have been in training for a while. Since I have selected tailhook, I have known that at some point in my future I was going to be landing on a moving ship at sea. Despite countless hours in the airplane practicing for this culminating event, there are a lot of nerves associated for the first visit to the boat.

My first view of the boat was coming in a division with my “foxes.” From our vantage point at altitude, the boat looked more like a tugboat than an aircraft carrier. Exiting the marshal pattern to come in for the break was both exciting and terrifying. If there is one thing that we have learned from the guys (and gals) who have come before us, it is the importance of being on your A game around the ship.

As a student, we start out the first day at the boat with touch and go landings. The first time I rolled into the groove, my heart was pumping and adrenaline rushing. There are a few things that are more difficult than landing on shore. The ship (and thus the landing area) is constantly moving away from you (left to right). Also, the ball, our glide-slope indicator, is “heavier” due to the ship’s movement.  Luckily, training kicks in and saves the day. After the Landing Signal Officer (LSO) thinks a student is safe to land aboard the ship, he instructs them to put their tail hook down.

My first arrested landing was a bit of a shocker. Imagine going from ~120 knots (140 mph) to stopped in 1 second. This is what I imagine driving my car into a brick wall might feel like (sans airbag deployment). After this car crash, I am safely on deck and taxi to get gas. Unfortunately, there was an issue with my aircraft that required me to change jets. After hot switching, (getting out the jet while it was still on) I taxied to the catapult. 

This photo is not of me but is from the same detachment I was on. Credit: Navy
 The catapult uses steam to accelerate the jet from zero knots, back to 120 knots in just a couple of seconds. This was by far my favorite part of the carrier experience. There is a brief exchange of information between the pilot and the deck crew, the pilot salutes the shooter, the shooter salutes back, and away the T45 goes.

In total, each student who qualified got 10 traps (arrested landings aboard the ship) and 10 catapult shots. It was hard, but I completed the training and became carrier qualified. It was definitely a great experience and a great way to end my training in the T45. 

Chocked and chained. Waiting to start day 2.
video

14 comments :

Janelle Vannice said...

Congrats to Parker! This is so cool. :)

Cayte Brown said...

Thank you for serving our country! This is such a great accomplishment! And Chelsea, way to get your hubby to do a post! That would never happen in this household!

xx
Cayte

Brianna said...

I love this post from Parker's point of view, and I love that he tried to put it into terms us non-military people would kind of understand. :) Thanks, Parker! Not only for this post, but mostly for serving our country! And congratulations on becoming carrier certified! Such a huge accomplishment!!!

*hi Chelsea!* :) I know you must be a super proud wife - congrats to you, too!

Jamie said...

Wow. Congrats! That is awesome.

Jen said...

This is amazing! Congrats! :)

Emily Stewart said...

Congrats Parker! I literally have chills/tears while reading this just because I'm so proud of all of you aviators. We really are so blessed to be part of the aviation community and you guys have such an important job. This is really cool and Stew and I are so proud of you! If he were here, he'd say that there must have been a really cool Sierra (pilots most likely eating quesadillas) flying in the pattern (?) to make sure you guys were ok haha.

But seriously this is awesome! Sorry for the mushy post...female hormones.

Bailey @ Becoming Bailey said...

Congrats Parker! I actually could understand his post thanks to Parker's great explanations and all those years I spent watching JAG (I knew it'd be good for something!) You must be so proud, Chelsea!

Jenny @ Creatively Blooming said...

Way to go, Parker! Congrats! Jarrod was on a carrier before we came out here. It was a fun experience for all of us!

Melzie at Ribbons and Rotor Blades said...

Woohoo Parker!!! So exciting!!!

Kenzie S said...

Oh wow, that is really neat! Congrats Parker!

scrapperjen said...

Congrats Parker! Thanks for sharing this part of your journey with us.

Tammy Jo said...

So cool hearing it from his point of view!!

smckendrick said...

Hi, my brother is Andrew Odell. He shared your blog with me and I have so enjoyed reading it! So glad he gets to train with you. I loved reading this description of the training. I am so proud of my brother and all of his friends serving with him. Thank you.

Stephanie said...

This was really cool! I have always been in awe of people landing on ships. Congrats to Parker!

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