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60s/70s Airwing Fly-on

Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:51 am

Lately I've been perusing photos from USN ops during the Operation Rolling Thunder years, I've noticed something strange that perhaps someone here can shed some light on.

There are alot of photos of Pacific Fleet carriers departing San Francisco (based at Alameda I'm assuming), what I find odd is the airwing is already onboard as the ships are photographed transiting under the Bay Bridge.

Now someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but nowadays the carriers departs their home port without the airwing onboard and the aircraft fly-on once the ship is out to sea, correct?

What was the standard practice in the 60s/70s?

If the aircraft did not fly-on, how did they get them on the ship prior to deployment?

Just curious, thanks to anyone in the know.
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RE: 60s/70s Airwing Fly-on

Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:49 pm

Quoting Highliner2 (Thread starter):
If the aircraft did not fly-on, how did they get them on the ship prior to deployment?

My guess~ they flew the jets to the base and then do it the way we do it now if they can't be flown off--- really BIG cranes on the pier. NAS North Island has more then one of them- and very easy access from the airfield to the pier.
The other option would be to go out prior to the 'deployment' and fly them on, then came back into port- maybe after some final training?
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RE: 60s/70s Airwing Fly-on

Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:35 pm

Could be a couple of different reasons. The planes could have been left on the ship following work ups. Or, more likely, the ship goes to sea for a few days to onload the air wing then comes back pier side for a few days to load all the squadron personnel. This is what we would do when we deployed. That way if you have a plane that goes down in the chocks or has some other gripes, you have a few days to repair. Then you can fly stragglers to the ship when it leaves on deployment.
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