Yes It Is Hard to Land on a Moving Aircraft Carrier (And These Photos Prove It)

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April 28, 2020 Topic: History Region: Americas Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: CarrierAircraft CarrierLandingCarrier LandingNavies

Yes It Is Hard to Land on a Moving Aircraft Carrier (And These Photos Prove It)

Learning this vital skill was no easy task.

To naval aviators, any landing they could walk away from was a good landing. The escort aircraft carrier USS Charger trained men in good landings, but bad landings were also part of the education. As a training carrier in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, the Charger’s wooden deck served as the first landing strip for would-be aviators. Not all the landings were pretty: Tailhooks missed arresting wires, landing gear collapsed, propellers chopped the deck, and pilots overshot their landings, splashing their planes into the bay. Mishaps sometimes resulted in dead or injured pilots and deck crews.

Despite the dangerous mishaps, the Charger qualified both American and British aviators who went on to fly escort duty for Atlantic convoys. The aviators fortunate enough to walk away from their Charger landings helped win the war against Germany.

Using winches and a sling, Navy deck hands upright a TBF Avenger torpedo bomber that crashed on landing. The bent propeller attests to a harsh landing.
Using winches and a sling, Navy deck hands upright a TBF Avenger torpedo bomber that crashed on landing. The bent propeller attests to a harsh landing.
A student aviator emerges from the cockpit of his floating TBF Avenger torpedo bomber. The plane would soon succumb to the ocean. While Avengers held a crew of three, on training missions the aviators flew alone.
A student aviator emerges from the cockpit of his floating TBF Avenger torpedo bomber. The plane would soon succumb to the ocean. While Avengers held a crew of three, on training missions the aviators flew alone.

 

Mechanics work on an F4F Wildcat fighter after a barrier crash. The barrier consisted of an elevated pair of connected cables strung across the flight deck to catch planes that missed the arresting wires. Note the bent left wing and the damaged propeller.
Mechanics work on an F4F Wildcat fighter after a barrier crash. The barrier consisted of an elevated pair of connected cables strung across the flight deck to catch planes that missed the arresting wires. Note the bent left wing and the damaged propeller.

 

Deck crewmen race to an SBD Dauntless dive bomber after a barrier crash. The extended tailhook failed to catch the arresting wire, but the propeller stopped the forward momentum, almost flipping the plane. Aviators claimed that SBD stood for “Slow But Deadly.”
Deck crewmen race to an SBD Dauntless dive bomber after a barrier crash. The extended tailhook failed to catch the arresting wire, but the propeller stopped the forward momentum, almost flipping the plane. Aviators claimed that SBD stood for “Slow But Deadly.”

 

 
A student aviator gingerly climbs out of his dangling F4F Wildcat. A rope around his waist prevents him from falling into the icy brine of the North Atlantic.
A student aviator gingerly climbs out of his dangling F4F Wildcat. A rope around his waist prevents him from falling into the icy brine of the North Atlantic.

 

Originally Published November 16, 2018.

 

This article originally appeared on the Warfare History Network.

Image: Reuters