British fighter pilot will soon attend the famous Top Gun school for the first time ever May 13, 2013Posted by Jacek Siminski in : Aircraft Carriers, Military Aviation , 1 comment so far
British Royal Navy Lieutenant Stephen Collins will be the first ever British pilot to attend the famous Top Gun school.
Image Credit: Royal Navy
He was selected after an internship which included a tour on the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) aircraft carrier.
He must have proven his guts, because soon after the U.S. Navy offered him the opportunity to be involved in the Top Gun, which is officialy known as United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Course.
It is even more astounding, taking into account Collins’ age: he’s only 26.
Stephen Collins is by no means entering the Top Gun School by accident. His father was a pilot during the Falklands War, later on he moved to Red Arrows aerobatic team. We might suppose that Stephen has talent in his genes.
For the last five years he has flown in the US Navy, being a partaker of an exchange programme the purpose of which is to allow the British aviators get used to aircraft carriers operating conditions.
Even Collins himself emphasised that element:
The U.S. and the Royal Navy have worked together very closely on the Joint Strike Fighter program. The ultimate aim is for us to get some experience flying a jet with very similar capabilities to that one. It’s a good trade, the U.S. gets a pilot out of it and the Royal Navy gets the experience.
Here’s a BBC interview with mr. Collins, where he elaborates on how his training looked in practice and how he ended up in Top Gun Fighter School.
As he says, the California weather is definitely better than in the UK:
Jacek Siminski for The Aviationist
Some of the best F/A-18E Super Hornet images ever: Air Power Demo over USS John C. Stennis April 26, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : Aircraft Carriers, Military Aviation , 5comments
The following images show scenes that have little (if not nothing) to do with “usual” flight ops.
Two F/A-18E Super Hornets from the Tophatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 overfly with extended landing gear and hook (hence, in landing configuration) the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during an air power demonstration taking place over the flattop as the it returns from an eight-month deployment to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
Air power demo include aircraft belonging to both the embarked squadrons and take place in the vicinity of the aircraft carrier for all the personnel to see.
Here are two more pictures, most probably taken from the cargo door of a C-2 Greyhound, showing the “Rhinos” (nickname for the Super Hornet used on U.S. supercarriers) over or near USS Stennis.
Image credit: U.S. Navy
This is how naval aviators prepare for actual arrested landings aboard aircraft carriers April 22, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : Aircraft Carriers, Military Aviation , 1 comment so far
Marine Aircraft Group 31 pilots conduct field carrier landing practice (FCLP) aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, SC, on Apr. 16, 2013.
Before pilots can actually land aboard aircraft carriers, they have to practice in the simulator and at the field during FCLP.
Performed on a simulated aircraft carrier ashore, FCLPs provide pilots with realistic training (except the runway is 10,000 ft by 200 feet wide, versus an actual carrier deck that is only 700 by 100 feet).
FCLPs are a series of approaches followed by touch-and-goes, which are observed by a landing signal officer who grades and critiques each landing. A normal FCLP consists of about eight to 12 touch-and-goes and lasts about 45 minutes.
Related articlesAircraft Carriers, Military Aviation , 4comments
Mar. 14 saw the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, an alliance of several ship building companies (namely BAE Systems, THALES, Babcock and DE&S) released a time lapse video of the installation of HMS Queen Elizabeth‘s first of two islands.
Image credit: Royal Navy / UK MoD
The hull of the carrier, which is nearly as large as a Nimitz class carrier, and will host F-35B STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) 5th generation planes, has almost been completed and the inclusion of one of the islands which had been constructed in Portsmouth and brought to Scotland by barge makes the hulk something resembling an aircraft carrier at last.
The two carriers (Queen Elizabeth & Prince of Wales) are being built in a modular fashion in several yards all over the UK and then shipped to Rosyth in Scotland to be assembled into the finished article.
This isn’t a new process but one that is used in the construction of cruise ships and other large ocean going vessels.
Here’s the computer generated video of the construction process
The real thing
Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com
Stunning graphics show UK’s future (twin-island) supercarriers January 9, 2013Posted by David Cenciotti in : Aircraft Carriers , 12comments
Not as large as U.S. flattops but 280 meters in length hence longer than the London’s Palace of Westminster: this is the size of HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales, UK’s Royal Navy future flagships.
The team behind the future aircraft carriers have produced a series of rendering whose aim is to demonstrate the scale of the carriers. To give a better idea of the size of the 65,000-tons leviathan, the artists put the HMS Queen Elizabeth, on the Thames next to the Palace of Westminster, and the HMS Prince of Wale,s at Victory Jetty in Portsmouth.
Last summer, UK’s helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, currently Britain’s biggest warship, was docked on the Thames at Greenwich with several helicopters on board as part of the anti-terrorist effort put in place for the London Olympics.
The two aircraft carriers, that will host the F-35B (the Short Take Off Vertical Landing version of the Joint Strike Fighter that will replace the Harrier “jump jet” untimely retired as a consequence of 2010′s spending review), are expected to enter service later this decade.
Noteworthy, unlike any previous design, the new aircraft carrier will feature a twin-island on the flight deck.
Image credit: Royal Navy / UK MoD