Nimitz by night

The following pictures taken from the Vulture’s Row, the narrow balcony on the ship’s island, don’t give the exact idea of the darkness that surrounds an aircraft carrier at night. The flight deck is illuminated by a soft sodium-vapor light and by the runway lights. The aircraft are surrounded by many coloured shirts performing the usual tasks needed to launch and recovery aircraft in safety. The afterburners create a bluish-white glow that disappears immediately after launching from the catapult. Combined with thousands of stars clearly visible above us, the sight is absolutely stunning.

My father in law is an amateur poet. After my visit to the USS Nimitz, he wrote the following poem. When he read it to me for the first time I immediately recalled the atmosphere of the flight deck at night:

La Portaerei
Un buio avvolgente
Un mare increspato
Un lieve rumore di onde
Ad un tratto un boato
Una luce improvvisa
Un aereo prende il volo
Un rumore assordante
Una scia di fuoco nel cielo
Il chiarore si allontana
Il buio ed il silenzio tornano a possedere il mare

F. De Santis (ottobre 2009)

The Aircraft Carrier
A winding darkness
The rippled ocean
The gentle sound of waves
Abruptly a rumble
A sudden light
An aircraft takes off
A deafening sound
A trail of fire in the sky
The glimmer of light fading away
Darkness and silence continue possessing the ocean

F. De Santis (Oct. 2009)

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.