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Aircraft Carrier: Anyone else ever worked on one?

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StarJar

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First of all 'aircraft carrier' has to be the most inaccurate name of anything I've ever seen. Sure it carrries aircraft, but when you're on one, it's more like being on a screeming, chaotic powder keg.
My first birthing, (where you slept), was right below the third wire of the flight deck. The sound of jets is so loud there, that even when sleeping with earplugs, it's redicuosly loud. You just had to get used to hearing about forty F-14 (in my day) engines mulling about, less than 10 feet above you, as they gathered next to the catapult.
If you are in there to rest for a night shift, you can see daylight through the top of the quarters.
Then you realize, if someone crashes on the deck, fuel could come pouring into your compartment.
I guess that's why they don't let you on, until you've gone through their firefighting program.
The food on the ship is great though. Probably the best in the military. With 5000 people going through there every day, they have an assortment of food that would rival the best smorgasbord in town!
But one time the line was long and led out into the hanger bay. As I joined the line, they started up the engine on an A4. It got so loud, it felt like my brain was getting deranged!
When I was working and got thirsty, sometimes I would have no alternative but to use the drinking fountain. Like the showers, it always tasted, and smelled like jet fuel!
I guess they can't make it too posh, when Marine's are out there with no showers, and catching bullets.

One time I was passing by an A4 in the gigantic hanger bay. It had ingested a bird, and had had a flame out. When I looked in the air intake, there was the smell of fish! I guess what else would a bird eat, way out there!
To describe the whole experience would be very difficult. The thousands of launches with full afterburners. The missed traps, and go a rounds. The comradary, and occasional drama among sailors, and flight crews.
Just an unbelievable place. All disquised by an almost inanimate name, "Aircraft Carrier".
 
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don january

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StarJar: I never got the chance to ride a carrier but did have the joy of riding a cattle car in the Marines a couple of times, and it's just what it sounds like, shoulder to shoulder knee to knee, I was lucky though I was 5ft.4inch and was able to crawl under the seat benches and streatch out for the long ride to Fort Brag NC. from Jacksonville NC. the C.O. probably would have had my a$$ if he knew I did that, I guess we all are suppose to suffer the same.:) 35 ford001.jpg
 

StarJar

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StarJar: I never got the chance to ride a carrier but did have the joy of riding a cattle car in the Marines a couple of times, and it's just what it sounds like, shoulder to shoulder knee to knee, I was lucky though I was 5ft.4inch and was able to crawl under the seat benches and streatch out for the long ride to Fort Brag NC. from Jacksonville NC. the C.O. probably would have had my a$$ if he knew I did that, I guess we all are suppose to suffer the same.:) View attachment 43993
Oh, man. I didn't know you were a Marine. Cool. Glad you lived to tell about it. Lol
 

Dana

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I wasn't military, but I made numerous visits to carriers, always in port, in my job as a civil service engineer at the Naval Air Engineering Center in the early 80's. My job was designing ground support equipment ("yellow gear"). Was scheduled to go out on a COD flight once but it got cancelled at the last minute.

Dana
 

StarJar

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I wasn't military, but I made numerous visits to carriers, always in port, in my job as a civil service engineer at the Naval Air Engineering Center in the early 80's. My job was designing ground support equipment ("yellow gear"). Was scheduled to go out on a COD flight once but it got cancelled at the last minute.

Dana
That was the era I was in, but I was on the west coast.
The thing for me was, 90% of my enlisted shipmates had no previous exposure to aviation, so these types of landings and takeoffs seemed normal to them.
I had got my ppl a few years earlier, and never felt comfortable watching them.
Actually back then at least, 1 out of 2 cruises would lose a flight crew due to carrier mishaps.
About the same rate for a guy getting sucked into an engine. Really crazy place. Glad I'm out, but guilty that others have to do it.
 

StarJar

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Did that happen a lot?
Unfortunately, yes. On my cruise a guy was lifted off the ground, and then his headgear was sucked off which FODed the engine.
My shipmates told me about the previous cruise, where a deckworker was sucked in but snagged on a probe, which
held him inches from the engine.
I heard stories about less lucky individuals, but I don't actuallu know what the statistics are.
BJC has a friend who might know.
 

StarJar

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Upon further research it looks like not as many as I thought are killed this way.
Buy there is also the phenomenon and danger of getting blown off the deck, if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then it's a nine story drop into the prop churned water. We had one man overboard during my cruise, and he was successfully retrieved.
Only a small percentage of the ship's crew members work on the deck.
I myself, worked in an air conditioned avionics repair shop, 5 levels below the flight deck.
 

Victor Bravo

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Angusnofangus

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I was onboard USS Kitty Hawk, WestPac 1970-71. AO2 in VF-114, F4J Phantom II. I worked on the flight deck a 'Red Shirt', and I don't think there can be a more exciting place to work, anywhere.There is nothing quite like standing 30 feet from an F4 as it sits on the cat in full afterburner. Makes your whole body vibrate. Loved my time at sea and love F4's, they are big, loud brutes. a great airplane.Hate to see them gone.
 
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fmartin_gila

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StarJar: I never got the chance to ride a carrier but did have the joy of riding a cattle car in the Marines a couple of times, and it's just what it sounds like, shoulder to shoulder knee to knee, I was lucky though I was 5ft.4inch and was able to crawl under the seat benches and streatch out for the long ride to Fort Brag NC. from Jacksonville NC. the C.O. probably would have had my a$$ if he knew I did that, I guess we all are suppose to suffer the same.:) View attachment 43993
Off Topic.
Don January,

I also very much remember the "cattle car" that we endured while being transported from place to place back in the day(I was in USMC 1956-1966). Very much like the pic enclosed of the old Ford, but needs correction. It states 35 Ford when in actuality it is either a 38 or 39, I can't quite see enough detail to determine which. The older vehicles are another passion of mine and I did own a 39 Ford Truck at one time.

Fred
 

Angusnofangus

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StarJar

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I was onboard USS Kitty Hawk, WestPac 1970-71. AO2 in VF-114, F4J Phantom II. I worked on the flight deck a 'Red Shirt', and I don't think there can be a more exciting place to work, anywhere.There is nothing quite like standing 30 feet from an F4 as it sits on the cat in full afterburner. Makes your whole body vibrate. Loved my time at sea and love F4's, they are big, loud brutes. a great airplane.Hate to see them gone.
Did you have any guys get blown off deck?
Stories??
 

Angusnofangus

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Did you have any guys get blown off deck?
Stories??
Had one guy from my squadron get blown over the side at night. In the Gulf of Tonkin: which is full of sea snakes. Somehow he was found. As for stories, here's one of my favourites. We had an airplane come back damaged, originally thought he might have picked up flak over the beach, but the hole in the bottom of the airplane was full of dried wood. Someone asked the pilot "Well, Mr W. I suppose there is one less fishing boat out there" And Mr W replied "I suppose so." This guy later flew with the Blue Angels but died in an accident. I have no doubt that he hit the fishing boat mast at 500 knots, 30 feet off the water.
 

BJC

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Unfortunately, yes. On my cruise a guy was lifted off the ground, and then his headgear was sucked off which FODed the engine.
My shipmates told me about the previous cruise, where a deckworker was sucked in but snagged on a probe, which
held him inches from the engine.
I heard stories about less lucky individuals, but I don't actuallu know what the statistics are.
BJC has a friend who might know.
During my friend's career, he knew of two instances of people being sucked into jet engine intakes. One survived, the other, who was sucked into an A-7 intake was killed. There are no inlet guide vanes in a A-7.

He also knew of three people who were blown overboard; all three survived.


BJC
 

don january

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Off Topic.
Don January,

I also very much remember the "cattle car" that we endured while being transported from place to place back in the day(I was in USMC 1956-1966). Very much like the pic enclosed of the old Ford, but needs correction. It states 35 Ford when in actuality it is either a 38 or 39, I can't quite see enough detail to determine which. The older vehicles are another passion of mine and I did own a 39 Ford Truck at one time.

Fred
1938 35 ford003.jpg sorry about floating off topic, just wanted to show Fred
 

StarJar

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Thanks for asking about that, BJC.
(Edit, sorry didn't know Don's post was going to be there. I guess quote boxes are there for a reason.:emb:)
Well, anyway, here's kind of a funny story that happened.
I was new in the squadron, and they had a softball game between the enlisted guys and the officers. Being new they put me in right field.
The CO somehow got on first base. The next batter hit one to my left. As I feilded it I saw the CO running to third. Since I played a lot of baseball, and even pitched in high school, I knew that even though he had the base easy, that he was going to round the base. So I threw as hard as I could to catch him rounding past the base. My throw was a little off, and it looked like it was going to hit him in the head. Fortunately it went whizzing by about a foot from his head.
Everybody looked at me like wtf?
He was cool about it, but some of the other officers, looked at me like I better not try anything like that again.
Years later I was searching the internet to see whatever happened to that CO, and found out that he had become Rear Admiral of the Navy. I always wondered if he remembered that incident.:nervous:
 
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