Compressor stalls

When, last year, I visited the USS Nimitz and had the opportunity to take the following picture (Part 1 and Part 2)

I didn’t think that compressor stalls during “cat shots” (catapult lauches) were frequent events. However, a quick look at US Navy website let me realize that compressor stalls or compressor surges are common (most probably?) because the hot vapour generated by the catapult is ingested by the aircraft intake thus creating a breakdown in compression resulting in a the compressor’s inability to absorb the momentary disturbance and to continue pushing the air against the already-compressed air behind it. As a consequence, there’s a momentary reversal of air flow and a violent expulsion of previously compressed air out through the engine intake producing some loud bangs from the engine and “back fires”.

The following pictures are all US Navy images taken from the official website:

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.