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Aircraft Carrier

Aircraft Carrier Ops

January 13, 2010

Posted on January 13, 2010

With every successful Navy is the integration of aircraft carriers and air superiority capabilities. The evolution of the aircraft carriers is equally as impressive with the switch from propeller to jet engines and the need for more specialized aircraft aboard. pictured below is the USS Essex CV-9 as it was configured in WWII and the Korean War.

USS Essex CV9

After the Wars end, the carrier was refitted to include an angled deck for increased flight capabilities and functionality. In addition, the front of the ship was fixed with a hurricane bow to increase stability and storm worthiness of the ship. Below is an image of the same ship pictured above after it was modernized.

Essex CVS9

With all the changes being made to the carriers themselves, there was also allot of change on the flight deck as well. Aviators refer to the rear of the ship as the “Business end” and the front of the ship as the “Pointy end”. This terminology refers to how during take off you are along for the ride and upon landing your plane on the carrier, it’s all business. To aid in the take off and landing off all aircraft, there is the Rainbow Coalition.

Each member of the coalition wears a different color shirt to signify their different tasks on the carrier deck. Their duties are as follows: GREEN

  • Catapult and arresting gear crews
  • Air wing maintenance personnel
  • Cargo-handling personnel
  • Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Troubleshooters
  • Helicopter landing signal enlisted personnel (LSE)


  • Aircraft handler O’s
  • Cat and Arresting Gear Officers
  • Plane directors


  • Ordnancemen
  • Crash and Salvage Crews
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)


  • Squadron QA
  • Final Checkers
  • Landing Signal Officer (LSO)
  • Air Transfer Officers (ATO)
  • Liquid Oxygen (LOX)
  • Safety Observers
  • Medical personnel


  • Plane Handlers
  • Aircraft elevator Operators
  • Tractor Drivers
  • Messengers
  • Phone Talker


  • Squadron Plane
  • Captains

When all the teams and pilots work together, the aircrew becomes a well oiled machine loading, arming and sending the planes off the deck. However, when things don’t go so well, the ship has safety measures to make sure that planes and people remain safe. Pictured below on the right a S-3 makes use of the safety barricade on landing.

F-18 Safe Landing

S-3 into Barricade

The aircraft carrier is a critical part of all military operations. There is much to learn about how they operate and preform. Much to talk about in later our later posts.

100,000 Tons of Diplomacy

Information submitted by Scotty Scott

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