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vzlet
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:34 am

Flight Path Vs. Pitching Deck

Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:04 am


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Photo © Chad Thomas - Jetwash Images


This latest (and quite nice!) shot of Chad's goes some ways towards settling the question as to whether the unevenness depicted in the trail formed by the approaching aircraft's lights in many of his previous pictures of this type were the result of flightpath variations or were caused by the ship's motion. I don't think it's coincidental that when the sea is as smooth as it is here that the plane's path appears to be remarkably steady and even.
"That's so stupid! If they're so secret, why are they out where everyone can see them?" - my kid
 
KevinSmith
Posts: 626
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 9:08 am

RE: Flight Path Vs. Pitching Deck

Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:48 am

As the saying goes

"Little from column A, little from column B"

But that is solely opinion.

-K
Learning to fly, but I ain't got wings.
 
ftrguy
Posts: 347
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 8:17 am

RE: Flight Path Vs. Pitching Deck

Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:19 pm

Well, the sea state is quite calm which would mean that the ship is making the wind over the deck and the approach would be quite smooth.

I can actually tell you alot about this approach and the deviations. The lights you see from this approach are only from the last 5-6 seconds of the approach. An F-18C's anti-collision light blinks about once a second. At the beginning of the lights you can see the pilot made a slight right turn to probably account for line-up with the ship. Where the lights meet the horizon there is a settle in the glideslope, probably where the aircraft went through the ships burble. Once in the settle, the pilot didn't give it quite enough power to catch it and went a little slow to a full slow once over the the back end of the ship. Since he was probably a little high at the start of the picture, right on in the center, and he flew through down the glideslope at the ramp. He probably caught a 2 wire.

(HX-IM) SIC (LO)SLOAR in LSO terms. In English, A little high start to in the middle. Settle in close. A little low, full slow at the ramp.

Any LSO's out there feel free to comment...
 
Rotorimage
Posts: 40
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2006 7:31 am

RE: Flight Path Vs. Pitching Deck

Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:51 am

If I'm not mistaken, the entire meatball assembly is gyro-stabilized, so its glide slope stays at a fixed angle in space regardless of varying deck incidence due to sea state - which "should" yield an equally stable approach if flown properly.

I've flown some shore-based meatballs before (Naval Air Stations often have them installed for Field Carrier Landing Practice) and they are definitely a different animal from your standard VASI/PAPI/etc. They're much harder to see so you only "call the ball" at quarter-mile or so....and at as Ftrguy mentioned, at a quarter mile out you're only 5-6 seconds from touchdown. I also believe that the glideslope the device projects can be altered dependent on the type of aircraft flying the approach....but I may be mistaken.

[Edited 2007-02-26 21:53:56]
 
ftrguy
Posts: 347
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 8:17 am

RE: Flight Path Vs. Pitching Deck

Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 am

Quoting RotorImage (Reply 3):
If I'm not mistaken, the entire meatball assembly is gyro-stabilized, so its glide slope stays at a fixed angle in space regardless of varying deck incidence due to sea state - which "should" yield an equally stable approach if flown properly.

I've flown some shore-based meatballs before (Naval Air Stations often have them installed for Field Carrier Landing Practice) and they are definitely a different animal from your standard VASI/PAPI/etc. They're much harder to see so you only "call the ball" at quarter-mile or so....and at as Ftrguy mentioned, at a quarter mile out you're only 5-6 seconds from touchdown. I also believe that the glideslope the device projects can be altered dependent on the type of aircraft flying the approach....but I may be mistaken.

You are very correct on nearly everything. You can usually almost always pick up the ball inside a mile and sometimes more. The ball call is made a 3/4 of a mile which should give you no more than 15 seconds of groove length (final).
 
2H4
Posts: 7960
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 11:11 pm

RE: Flight Path Vs. Pitching Deck

Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:19 am



Here's another interesting one:


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Photo © Chad Thomas - Jetwash Images



If you open the large version, and look very closely at the horizon on the right side of the photo, you can see the beacon from the SAR helo. Although the helo is flying at a constant altitude, the beacon leaves a curved path due to the boat rising and falling on the swells.


2H4


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