Tag Archives: aircraft carrier

US Navy bids farewell to the T-2 Buckeye trainer

On Sep. 25, the venerable T-2 took its final flight at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, ending a 56-year career.

Developed to be used from early flight training right on to carrier indoctrination, the first single engine North American T2J-1 (later designated T-2A) was delivered to the Navy in July 1959.

After 217 T-2As were produced, it was decided that a twin engine version of this trainer would have been more appropriate for the purpose and 97 T-2Bs equipped with two Pratt and Whitney J60 engines were delivered beginning in 1965. The final major version of the Buckeye, the T-2C powered by two General Electric J85s was introduced in 1968 and, overall 231 examples were produced since then. The Buckeye was also sold to Venezuela (that acquired 12 T-2Ds) and to Greece (which bought 40 T-2Es).

The T-2 served the Navy as a two-seat intermediate carrier-capable jet trainer from 1959 until 2008, when it was replaced by the T-45 Goshawk. Three T-2s were retained by Air Test & Evaluation Squadron 20 as chase aircraft for aircraft and weapons testing and they will now be replaced by C-38 Courier business jets.

In the following video you can see a T-2 performing an OFC (Out of Control Flight) training sortie, aimed to provide the student with the fundamental knowledge necessary to recognize, analyse and recover from the loss of aerodynamic control of the aircraft.

This footage leaves no doubts: the T-2 was a terrific spin trainer.

The Legenday F4U Corsair as you have never seen it before

You may like warbirds or not, but this video is awesome.

The Vought F4U Corsair is probably one of the most famous American fighter planes ever.

More than 12,500 examples of this aircraft were manufactured by Vought beginning in 1940, with final delivery of 1953, in what is known as the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter in U.S. history.

The Corsair, designed to operate from the flight deck of U.S. aircraft carriers, saw service during the WWII, during which it initially mainly operated from land bases in the hands of U.S. Marine pilots because of issues with carrier landings: once these were solved, the F4U became the most capable carrier-based fighter-bomber of the conflict.

The Corsair flew also during the Korean War.

As mentioned before, it is one of the most famous warbirds ever: even my son knows this plane very well as its fame was boosted amoung younger generations by its participation in the Disney movie “Planes” that features a Corsair named “Skipper” among the leading characters.

The following video shows a civilian registered F4U-1 (NX83782), the oldest airworthy Corsair in the world, during the 2012 Planes of Fame Air Show fly by.


HD Video: The life of a U.S. Navy C-2A Greyhound squadron at sea

The VRC-30 Det. One “Hustlers” 2014-2015 cruise video.

The ‘Hustlers’ of VRC-30 DET ONE completed the longest scheduled deployment since Vietnam between 2014 and 2015.

The following video demonstrates combat logistics at its finest: from cargo and passengers to the occasional distinguished visitor; COD (Carrier On Board Delivery) people move it all with the Grumman C-2A Greyhound a twin-engine, high-wing cargo aircraft, designed perform the COD mission to carry equipment, supplies and mail to and from U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, “ensuring victory at sea through logistics.”

VRC-30 is a United States Navy Fleet Logistics Support squadron based at Naval Air Station North Island with detachments all around the world.


Project Whale Tale: the story of how the U-2 became an embarked reconnaissance aircraft.

Designated as a utility type to disguise its primary mission, the Lockheed U-2 was born as high altitude reconnaissance aircraft.

Flying for about 8 hours, at 500 mph, at altitudes in excess of 70,000 feet, U-2 spyplanes launched from airbases in Turkey and Pakistan in the mid to late 1950s and early 1960s landed on the other side of the Soviet Union, at Bodo airfield in Norway, at the end of their reconnaissance missions, with fuel tanks virtually empty.

To extend the range of the aircraft and reach more remote targets, the CIA approached the Navy proposing to develop the ability to launch and land U-2s from carriers.

Project Whale Tale began on an August morning in 1963, when test pilot Bob Schumacher took off with his U-2 from the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier that sailed out of San Diego Harbor. After his successful launch, Schumacher performed several landing approaches, proving that the U-2’s performance made arrested landing and wave off (if needed) possible.

But while he was attempting his first landing, one wingtip struck the deck. Schumacher barely managed to take to the air again preventing the plane from crashing overboard.

In spite of the close call, the program continued and three U-2As were modified and got a stronger landing gear, an arresting hook, and wing spoilers that decreased lift during landing. While these modifications were taking place, Schumacher and several CIA pilots developed their carrier landing skills flying T-2 Buckeye trainers from USS Lexington aircraft carrier.

Schumacher landed the first U-2G (as the modified U-2 was designated) on the USS Ranger on Mar. 2, 1964, off the California coast, experiencing only one small problem when the engaged arrestor hook, forced the plane’s nose toward the deck and broke off the pitot tube. After quick repairs, he successfully took off again and in the following days, Schumacher and the CIA pilots received carrier qualifications from the Navy.

Even if the operational ability to take off from and land on a carrier was used only once, in May 1964, when a U-2G operating off the USS Ranger was used to monitor the French nuclear test range, at Mururoa Atoll, in the South Pacific Ocean, well out of range of any land-based U-2 aircraft, the program continued to advance in the following years.

In 1967 Lockheed introduced a new variant, designated U-2R, that was larger (by about 40 percent) and featured about twice the range and four times the payload of a standard U-2G. This plane was equipped with an integral arrestor hook, and with wings folding mechanism that reduced the aircraft’s footprint and made carrier operations easier.

Lockheed test pilot Bill Park and four CIA pilots conducted tests with the new type of U-2 in November 1969 , from the deck of USS America sailing off the Virginia coast: as part of the tests, a U-2R was successfully moved using one of the America’s elevators.

Still, none of these carrier-capable spyplane ever entered active service, being replaced by cheaper spy satellites.

In the impressive footage below you can see several U-2s perform carrier take offs, touch and gos and landings and even if today carrier-based U-2s are only a footnote to Cold War history, the last variant of this legendary aircraft,  designated U-2S, is still in service and it remains one of the best intelligence platform among those operated by the U.S. Air Force.

Epic photograph of an F/A-18E Super Hornet launching from USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier

Awesome image of an F/A-18E Super Hornet during blue water operations.

This stunning photograph was taken during an Air Power demonstration on board USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

It shows an F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Sunliners of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 launching from the catapult as the Carl Vinson and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17,  return to homeport after a Middle East and Western Pacific Deployment.

USS Carl Vinson has supported Operation Inherent Resolve taking part in air strikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria.

Image credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Philip Wagner