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Above the Bay and Into the Blue Beyond The U.S. Naval Academy’s Powered Flight Program

by Cliff Rhys James aircraft to absorb its afterburning fury, the pilot will dial up 44,000 pounds of thrust from both jet engines. Amidst the deafening roar and shooting flames of all this wound-up energy set to go kinetic, he’ll scan his cockpit instruments and actuate the aircraft control surfaces. Once satisfied that both he and his $65 million warplane are ready to launch, the pilot snaps off a sharp salute to the Catapult Officer ~ AKA “The Shooter,” ~ who looks for a final thumbs up from the “checkers” as he gives everything a last once-over. And then, like a scene from the movie Top Gun, “The Shooter” leans dra-

One day soon, for good reason, far out at sea, it matters not the season, an intrepid U.S. Navy Nuclear Aircraft Carrier ~ all 100,000 tons of her ~ will turn into the wind, open the throttle on 280,000 horsepower and contest the waves at 35 MPH. It will be a classic case of American military might guarding the global commons. Poised aboard the crowded four-acre f light deck, a young naval aviator will taxi an F/A18 Super Hornet toward the catapult where the “hook up man” will attach his aircraft’s nose gear to the shuttle. Then, as a Jet Blast Deflector rises out of the f light deck behind the

Two F/A-18E Super Hornets taking off from the USS John C. Stennis. 45

October 2014 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times October 2014

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