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USAF- Carrier Landings Possible?  
User currently offlineandydtwnwa7 From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 82 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks ago) and read 7858 times:

Just as the title implies, is it possible for any USAF aircraft (fixed wing or rotor) to land on a carrier, even under emergency circumstances?

Also, has it ever been done in the past, either in an emergency or planned?

Edit: This is a question of equipment more-so than pilot ability. Obviously the capabilities of a USAF pilot vs a USN pilot are different, and this thread is not meant to turn into a "who has the better pilots" debate.

[Edited 2012-01-23 14:08:44]

39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks ago) and read 7849 times:

I may be wrong, but I don't think it has ever happened. Although some USAF aircraft have tailhooks they're more for use on runways when the brakes fail. Probably the #1 reason that it hasn't happened in the past is that the landing gear structure is not as strong on USAF aircraft and such a landing would likely lead to significant structural damage.

The CIA has landed U2's on aircraft carriers though. And, I'm sure many times the Army has landed helos on carriers.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineKingairTA From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 458 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 7741 times:

I highly doubt an AF in an "emergency" could even get the plane on the deck in a safe enough manner to even go into the barrier. Even the people who do it for a living have a hard time in an emergency situation. For the safety of the pilot and flight deck crew the AF pilot would be better off ejecting near the carrier so the plane guard can pick him up.

User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 7693 times:

Most USAF aircraft don't have a landing gear and tailhook assembly built for carrier landings. Probably the F-4 or the A-7 were the last USAF aircraft even built with the necessary strength. Certainly nothing in the current inventory could do a carrier landing.

If the USAF pilot flew a successful approach and hit the deck, the gear would likely fail, or worse, one main gear fail and the other not.

Excepting of course, some of the lighter aircraft (under 45,000 lbs landing weight) could be successfully flown into a barricade - though it is not something USAF pilots train to accomplish.

In general the USAF design concept is to not spend the extra 300-400 lbs for a possible carrier landing, rather to use that weight on a common aircraft for more fuel, avionics or weapons capability.

In the past when there were more common aircraft between the USMC/USN/USAF - we used to see some cross service tours in active squadrons by pilots.

I remember a USAF Major who was stationed at Andersen AFB, and would come down to fly our A-3 Skywarriors about once a month back in 72-74. He was an B-66 pilot and had spent one two year tour with a VAH squadron including a Gulf of Tonkin deployment about 69-70. He had over 100 successful carrier landings.

He kept wanting the CO to let him reestablish his carrier qualifications, but Capt Akin wasn't agreeing.


User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 7671 times:

I believe a USAF aircraft landing on a carrier would be called a crash. A very messy one at that.

User currently offlineBladeLWS From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 403 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7629 times:

Quoting andydtwnwa7 (Thread starter):
Just as the title implies, is it possible for any USAF aircraft (fixed wing or rotor) to land on a carrier, even under emergency circumstances?

Rotor, sure.

Fixed wing, well if you like your landing gear to be turned inside out and the tailhook left sitting on the deck as the plane skids into the ocean then sure, why not!

Naval aircraft have a much heavier landing gear (dual nose wheels, much larger actuators, huge tailhooks).


User currently offlineLMP737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7620 times:

There was once a cartoon of a USAF F-4 lining up on final behind a USN carrier . It shows the crew jumping off the side of the boat!  

User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 7601 times:

All this being said, the USMC did land a C-130 on a carrier during tests to see if replenishment at sea could be conducted by a C-130. To my knowledge, they didn't make any structural changes in order to make that happen.

It is feasible in certain aircraft that the USAF flies without any major changes as well. But, unlikely they would try. The C-12, C-130, U-2, U-28, UV-18 and CV-22 could all land on an aircraft carrier, some of them already have for other services.

For the historians here, B-25's flown by Army crews were pretty successful flying off a Navy carrier in 1942 with Doolittle.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlinefrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3761 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 7471 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 1):
For the safety of the pilot and flight deck crew the AF pilot would be better off ejecting near the carrier so the plane guard can pick him up.

Definitely.

Attempting to trap an USAF aircraft, especially in an emergency, would likely impart a lot of damage to it in the best of cases and would realistically damage other equipment/aircrafts on the carrier and endanger its crew.

Write it off, take the plunge, and endure the navy pilots' mockery while in their captivity...



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlinenotaxonrotax From Netherlands, joined Mar 2011, 404 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 7446 times:

Was there ever a case of a microlight (or some other type of private aircraft) landing on an aircraft carrier?
Due to an emergency or perhaps just some home-grown loony trying to attract attention?

Just wonderin´.......imagine the paperwork!

No Tax On Rotax



Als vader voorlicht, kan je merken dat hij achter ligt.
User currently offlinestealthz From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5696 posts, RR: 44
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 7435 times:
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Quoting notaxonrotax (Reply 9):
Was there ever a case of a microlight (or some other type of private aircraft) landing on an aircraft carrier?

I recall reading many years ago in a US av magazine about some guys that landed a GA aircraft(Bonanza IIRC) on a decommissioned carrier.

If my memory serves me I believe they realised just before touch down that the arrestor cables were still across the deck and managed to pull up and extend their landing a bit... avoiding a very nasty "trap"



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offline757gb From Uruguay, joined Feb 2009, 676 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 7435 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 7):
All this being said, the USMC did land a C-130 on a carrier during tests to see if replenishment at sea could be conducted by a C-130. To my knowledge, they didn't make any structural changes in order to make that happen.

"Look Ma, No Hook!"

http://youtu.be/BjNyQvhsQE8



God is The Alpha and The Omega. We come from God. We go towards God. What an Amazing Journey...
User currently offlinesprout5199 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1853 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 7405 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 7):
All this being said, the USMC did land a C-130 on a carrier during tests to see if replenishment at sea could be conducted by a C-130. To my knowledge, they didn't make any structural changes in order to make that happen.
Quoting 757gb (Reply 11):
"Look Ma, No Hook!"

http://youtu.be/BjNyQvhsQE8

The landing was made by the son of the namesake of the ship I served on USS Flatley (FFG-21). I met Adm Flatley (the son) twice as I was his driver when we had change of command. Nice guy, sat up front with me when I drove him, instead of in the back. I didnt know he landed the Herc at the time, or I would have asked a bunch of questions and gotten his autograph/picture. Very down to earth, remembered me the second time(might have been my red/orange hair), just liked to BS, asked how the ships was etc. Was the highest ranking Officer I ever met (Rear Adm--2 stars)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_H._Flatley The father

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_H._Flatley_III The son

Dan in Jupiter


User currently offline757gb From Uruguay, joined Feb 2009, 676 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 7395 times:

Quoting sprout5199 (Reply 12):

Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing!



God is The Alpha and The Omega. We come from God. We go towards God. What an Amazing Journey...
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 7373 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 7):
the USMC did land a C-130 on a carrier

Uh, no. The aircraft was a USMC KC-130, modified with a few things, including an improved anti-skid braking system. But the aircraft was flown by two US Navy pilots with extensive carrier experience, a USN enlisted flight engineer and a Lockheed test pilot aboard.

That said - USMC pilots have flown onto and off carriers for a long time - almost as long as US Navy pilots. My cousin was a B/N in USMC F-4s 67-70 - and hated the carrier landings they were required to do.

We all know the Harriers operate off special ships, but USMC F/A18 squadrons deployed on carriers as part of the Carrier Air Wing at least through the 1990s, probably later.

Quoting notaxonrotax (Reply 9):
Was there ever a case of a microlight (or some other type of private aircraft) landing on an aircraft carrier?
Due to an emergency or perhaps just some home-grown loony trying to attract attention?

The Cessna O-1 landing on the USS Midway on 29 Apr 1975 is the only instance that I know of occuring. The only reason the captain authorized the attempt was that the RVN Major had seven people in the aircraft, himself, his wife and five children - and it was assumed that it would be impossible to expect everyone to safely evacuate the overloaded aircraft if it ditched.

The aircraft is on display at the Naval Avaition Museum in Pensacola.

Part of the excitement of letting the plane attempt to land was pushing over the side of the USS Midway several South Vietnamese UH-1 helicopters which other escaping pilots had use to land on the USS Midway.

I was stationed at Clark at the time, flying in and out of Saigon daily on C-130s. When I heard the story, I didn't believe it, but say the plane on the USS Midway when it pulled into Subic. Years later when I was stationed in Yokosuka, I saw a rather extensive exhibit on the ship documenting the landing.

Wikipedia has a very accurate description of the landing - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Midway_(CV-41)#A_return_to_Vietnam


User currently offlineStudeDave From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 486 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 7230 times:

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 3):
In the past when there were more common aircraft between the USMC/USN/USAF - we used to see some cross service tours in active squadrons by pilots.

In the VAQ community it was done quite often. My understanding is that it was done when the 'Q' squadron was going to deply to a base rather then a Carrier. These deployments started soon after the EF-111s went away- two or three squadrons were actually designated for this duty. The AF guy/gal was there to help the NAVY learn the ways of the AF, their tactics, and what-not. I do not know if it is still done anymore, but I can't see why not- the VAQs are still doing shore based deployments.

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 14):
but USMC F/A18 squadrons deployed on carriers as part of the Carrier Air Wing at least through the 1990s, probably later.

Very much later, an maybe even still to this day- my last deployment in '05 had Marines in the AirWing.



StudeDave



Classic planes, Classic trains, and Studebakers~~ what else is there???
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29799 posts, RR: 58
Reply 16, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 7157 times:

Not sure a USAF Spec F-4 could do it since they went to a wider lower pressure tire ont the D then the Nacy had on the B models.

Air force A7s where all Bult for eithe Navy or USAF specs so I don't think that frame would be able either.

The only fixed wing I can thing of the USAF would able to regularly land would be the Sandys Aka the A-1 Skyraider but all those frames theUSAF got out of the desert after the Navy was done with them.

I think you would have more much finding Army fixed wings that could do it.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently onlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3522 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 7047 times:
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Quoting andydtwnwa7 (Thread starter):
Just as the title implies, is it possible for any USAF aircraft (fixed wing or rotor) to land on a carrier, even under emergency circumstances?

Yes, as recently as last year USAF HH-60s operated off of HMS Ocean as part of operations in Libya.

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/De...isitsHmsOceanToPraiseLibyaRole.htm



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User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4518 posts, RR: 18
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 6984 times:

Quoting andydtwnwa7 (Thread starter):


Just as the title implies, is it possible for any USAF aircraft (fixed wing or rotor) to land on a carrier, even under emergency circumstances?

Certainly, just don't plan on using the Aircraft again..



The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29799 posts, RR: 58
Reply 19, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 6871 times:

Thing about it, I know that the Marines flew their OV-10's off carriers and helicopter assault ships, I don't think they landed them on them though, but there is no reason why the air force couldn't. But if they did they probably dont need to do arrested landings, they probably can get slow enough.

The first p-40's brought ashore for operation torch where flown off the deck off USS Ranger. But I want to say here where craned on.

Anyway if the Marines could fly their OV10's on carriers, I don't see any reason the army couldn't land the OV-1 Mohawk, C-7 Caribou, and the OV-18 twin otter on the carrier



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15742 posts, RR: 27
Reply 20, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 6806 times:

Quoting andydtwnwa7 (Thread starter):

Just as the title implies, is it possible for any USAF aircraft (fixed wing or rotor) to land on a carrier, even under emergency circumstances?

Not likely more than once. The landing gear probably couldn't take it, and even if it could, there is a difference between land and stop. I bet the tailhook on USAF aircraft would get yanked off too.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinespudh From Ireland, joined Jul 2009, 301 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 6731 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 19):
Anyway if the Marines could fly their OV10's on carriers, I don't see any reason the army couldn't land the OV-1 Mohawk, C-7 Caribou, and the OV-18 twin otter on the carrier

I can't see much reason why they couldn't if the brakes are up to it. A carrier can cruise at 30+knots, if it can do this into a 10 or 15 knot headwind then you've got potentially 45knots wind over deck. I've seen the stall speed for an OV-10 quoted as 55mph. Even if thats a mistake and its 55kts you're still landing on a 600+ft long runway at a relative speed of 10kts, say 20kts to allow for a margin over stall. I reckon if it was modified with either air brakes or a lift dump device it could operate quite safely under those constrained conditions.

As for any other type of USAF, well all the other posts have that covered. I find the discussions on the F-4 and A-7 very interesting. You would have thought that a carrier qual'd pilot would have been able to bring those back, I wasn't aware of the mods done but I suppose it makes a lot of sense.

Do shore based Navy squadrons put different wheels on their fighters? I'm think particularly reserve and training squadrons whose planes spend 90% of their lives on runways.


User currently offlinestealthz From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5696 posts, RR: 44
Reply 22, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 6727 times:
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Quoting L-188 (Reply 19):
C-7 Caribou

I know Caribou crew(am the son of one) that would claim the hardest part of landing a 'bou on a carrier would be catching it!!

Any decent Caribou driver could have the thing slow enough that there would be little need for arrestor gear.. or indeed brakes!



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 31
Reply 23, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 6682 times:

Quoting L-188 (Reply 19):
C-7 Caribou,

Wingspan at 95.58 feet / 29.13M is too wide for a carrier landing.

Over 80 feet, it's getting too close to obstructions.

Yes, the C-130 had a larger wingspan. They shortened the tips to make it smaller and landed with an artificial centerline painted on the deck. For a one-off test, it worked. For an 'emergency' - without the modified vlsual??

The other thing is the approach which has to be steep. A 'normal' approach is going to fly into the back of the ship, even if the ship slows to 10 knots or so to maintain steerage.

Let's put it this way. If a crew can land on St Barts Rwy 10 from over the hill, land on the displaced threshold and stop before the taxiway - about 600 feet - they could make a carrier landing.

If they take longer than that to stop, it could possibly go off the angle.

The O-1 which landed on the USS Midway required the arresting gear cables be disconnected. Most of the lighter aircraft would also require that to avoid ripping the gear off.

[Edited 2012-01-25 05:27:25]

User currently offlineKingairTA From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 458 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 6621 times:

There were no structural changes to the C130 when it did carrier trials. The only change was the removal of the low speed pitch stops on the prop housing so the props would go into reverse without delay.

25 LMP737 : Even if an aircraft is shore based, i.e.a training outfit or RAG as is is called in the Navy, it will still use the same tire/wheel assembly as a sea
26 sprout5199 : Can you explain this? Dan in Jupiter
27 rfields5421 : When I go out and setup a landing on my local airport, I line up with the runway, use an approach which approximates the VASI glide slope and land. I
28 sprout5199 : Ok that I understand. I believe all US Navy ships with a flight deck have some thing like this be it the OLS or the SGSI. I remember having one on th
29 rfields5421 : The glide slope lighting systems for a carrier are quite fancy and are offset for the aircraft type and ship speed. The use of computers has really h
30 Post contains links and images L-188 : That was probably due to the small tires on the Bird Dog. If that thing where flying with 24's or some of the larger sizes I see on bush planes that
31 Post contains links connies4ever : Some of the oddest pix I've ever seen, I mean, you just don;t expect to see a Herc parked on the deck of the Forrestal. http://www.theaviationzone.co
32 rfields5421 : The parking was a big part of the reason the concept was turned down. If a C-130 had maintenance issues or damage and had to remain on the carrier -
33 sprout5199 : I sure if it went into operation, they would have pushed it over the side if needed. On a side note, I remember hearing about a Harrier that landed o
34 Post contains links spudh : There was a detailed post on that incident on here somewhere. IIRC the pilot got lost and was unbelievebly lucky to find a ship he could get down on.
35 Max Q : The problem with abbreviations is they often only mean something to the people who use them. What the hell is an FFG ?!
36 Post contains links rfields5421 : A frigate is about the smallest traditional surface warship which today performs Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) screening and would do convoy screening
37 L-188 : Actually it is a jet engine. In that ships case the LM-2500 which is the gas generator version of the CF-6
38 Post contains images LMP737 : Thats when they chuck it off the fan tail.
39 sprout5199 : My bad. A FFG stands for Fast Frigate Guided, or in lubbers speak, Guided Missile Frigate. To confuse things even more the Perry's are now FFs as the
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