Flight Deck - Landing On Flight Decks

Landing On Flight Decks

See also: Arresting gear

Landing arrangements were originally primitive, with aircraft simply being "caught" by a team of deck-hands who would run out from the wings of the flight deck and grab a part of the aircraft to slow it down. This dangerous procedure was only possible with early aircraft of low weight and landing speed. Arrangements of nets served to catch the aircraft should the latter fail, although this was likely to cause structural damage.

Landing larger and faster aircraft on a flight deck was made possible through the use of arresting cables installed on the flight deck and a tailhook installed on the aircraft. Early carriers had a very large number of arrestor cables or "wires". Current U.S. Navy carriers have three or four steel cables stretched across the deck at 20 ft (6.1 m) intervals which bring a plane, traveling at 150 mph (240 km/h), to a complete stop in about 320 ft (98 m). The cables are set to stop each aircraft at the same place on the deck, regardless of the size or weight of the plane. During World War II, large net barriers would be erected across the flight deck so aircraft could be parked on the forward part of the deck and recovered on the after part. This allowed increased complements but resulted in lengthened turn-around times as aircraft were shuffled around the carrier to allow take-off or landing operations.

A barricade is an emergency system used if a normal arrestment cannot be made. Barricade webbing engages the wings of the landing aircraft, and momentum is transferred to the arresting engine.

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